Banksy’s ‘Girl with Balloon’ stunt has become a creative meme

Not the Mona Lisa!


Stacey Ritzen

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 11, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 4:21 am CDT

Over the weekend, onlookers at a Sotheby’s art auction were left stunned when a Banksy “Girl with Balloon” painting sold for $1.4 million, and then promptly self destructed thanks to a shredding device hidden within the frame. The art world was in shock at the never-before-seen stunt, and experts soon began speculating that the piece was perhaps worth even more in its destroyed state.

“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” Banksy quoted Picasso in the caption to an Instagram video, detailing how he planted the device in the frame, in case the painting should ever be put up for auction.

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” quipped Alex Branczik, the senior director and head of Contemporary Art in London.

One way or another, Banksy sure got people talking, as the stunt quickly went viral. Now, not at all surprisingly, the shredded “Girl with Balloon” has evolved into a meme, as the internet imagines what else would be worthy of a shredding—from Belgian frites to the famous Kramer from Seinfeld poster.

Even the Mona Lisa was not safe from being shredded.

The New South Wales police Twitter in Sydney used the meme as a reminder for citizens against speeding or using a cell phone while driving:

A few people even went so far as to create adorable miniature versions of “Girl With Balloon” getting the shredder treatment.

And someone else imagined it going through a pasta roller:

Being that the timing of the incident coincided with the highly contentious and borderline unconstitutional confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, others used the meme to make the same observation.

Even more depressingly, someone else used the meme to make a statement about climate change:

One way or another, it goes without saying that Banksy is probably loving all this attention.

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*First Published: Oct 11, 2018, 12:36 pm CDT