After last week’s welter of breathless reportage surrounding Banksy’s surprise pantsing of the art market at Sotheby’s London, I had made it a pre-New Year’s resolution never to mention the painting-shredding stunt again. Until, that is, I got a call from my trusty inside source Deep Pockets, who summoned me to meet him at a bar directly from Heathrow, where I was returning from an artist’s talk I’d given the night before in Cologne. (My source never divulges over the phone.) The scoop? He told me the definitive Banksy story, in its entirety.

First of all, if the entire prank—with a crude device concealed within the artwork’s ridiculously oversize frame half-slicing-and-dicing the painting onstage as astounded auction specialists looked on—sounds like a giant PR stunt, know that the consigned artwork was inscribed “Thanks, Jo” (with a heart), and Banksy’s PR representative happens to be named Jo Brooks. Read more