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The Best Memes of Banksy’s Self-Destructing Art Stunt

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Courtesy of @sianlloydweather

Last Friday, almost immediately after an unidentified European collector placed the winning bid of a whopping 1 million pounds for Banksy’s Girl With Balloon, the work self-destructed, beginning its descent through the paper shredder that the artist had hidden in its frame. After recovering from the shock, the buyer “gradually began to realize that [she] would end up with [her] own piece of art history,” and decided to go forward with her purchase of the work, which has since been re-certified and renamed Love Is in the Bin. Outside of Sotheby’s, though, it’s taken on a much more vibrant life of its own, with the Internet so fully embracing the artist-slash-provocateur’s nihilistic, mischievous gesture that there’s now a “Banksy’s Shredded Art” page on the website Know Your Meme. Corporations like Ikea and Perrier, of course, shamelessly picked up on the hype, perfectly illustrating the consumerist culture that Banksy’s work often criticizes, but seeing as the stunt took place in the midst of a rather bleak news cycle, including Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, it wasn’t long before it began to resonate politically. At the same time that images of, for example, the U.S. Constitution going through a shredder began to circulate, however, so did much more playful parodies, like a cameo of Tyra Banks. See the best takes on the stunt to emerge, so far, here.

1

A rather more to-the-point illustration of Banksy’s move to shred Girl With Balloon.

2

The DYI T-shirt version of Banksy’s self-destructing stunt.

3

A belligerent Brett Kavanaugh getting the same treatment as Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony.

4

McDonald’s is practically the apotheosis of Banksy’s targets—and, thanks to the Austrian ad agency DDB Vienna, the winner of the best corporate take on his move.

5

The Mona Lisa—the most renowned “piece of art history”—getting the Banksy treatment.

6

An art-world follow-up to the terrifying manicure that circulated this past February, depicting Kylie Jenner’s first photo of her daughter, Stormi Webster.

7

What does Zac Efron have to do with all of this? Who knows, but here he is in a very Photoshopped shredded Banksy crop top.

8

Accompanying the tweet of this image was the caption, “As the gavel went down on the Senate confirmation vote, an alarm started going off, and the Constitution began to shred itself.”

9

Did you know that “Tyra Banks” is an anagram of “Banksy art”? While you contemplate the idea that the supermodel in fact holds the key to the artist’s mysterious identity, allow yourself the pleasure of looking back on her most infamous moment on America’s Next Top Model: “Be quiet, Tiffany.”

10

Banksy al dente.

11

When life gives you potatoes, make like Banksy.

12

How much of the world felt this past week tuning in to a Make America Great Again–hat–wearing Kanye West’s unreal face-off with Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

13

In another country where politics can often resemble a reality TV show—as of this past September, Vladimir Putin literally became the star of what is essentially Keeping Up With the Kremlin—the Constitution of the Russian Federation also went through the shredder, IRL in St. Petersburg.

14

And in other news of political turmoil, an image of Brazil’s flag meeting its demise began to circulate following what one political correspondent described as the “mourning Bolsonaro’s resounding first round triumph,” aka the first electoral go-ahead of the country’s openly sexist and homophobic presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

15

On a much lighter note, off in New Jersey, one dog owner did her best to turn her pet Leo’s trimmings into a “million-dollar haircut.”

16

In case you’re still in the market for a Halloween costume—and your partner is willing to go out in public dressed as a paper shredder.

17

As if the dystopian feel of Edvard Munch’s The Scream weren’t already palpable.

18

A friendly reminder that even before it self-destructed, the sale of the spray-paint work marked an all-time auction high for a work solely by Banksy