Issue 163 | Editor's Letter
![Alt Text]() By now, most of the culture world is familiar with the stunt pulled by renowned street-artist Banksy at a Sotheby’s auction earlier this month. To recap, a painting of “Girl with Balloon” shredded itself the moment it was sold for 1.4 million dollars, courtesy a machine disguised as a frame and activated by remote control. The room went wild, and so did the internet. Several days later, Banksy announced that his stunt did not go according to plan, as the machinery only devoured half the artwork before it jammed.The value of this piece has reportedly soared, to no surprise. The themes here are easily navigable: a mockery of the art world’s value system, an “inside job” on the auction floor, a “self-harming” artwork vis-a-vis the pressures and demands of the market. And, of course, meme themes. But what to make of this half-destroyed artwork? If its completion, by Banksy’s definition, is total ruin, unframed, on the floor, is this “Girl with Balloon” work then unfinished? Does this Banksy now join the likes of Cezanne’s incomplete portrait of Gustave Geffroy or Da Vinci’s “The Adoration of the Magi”? Well, probably not. Because like much of the world in which we live in, virality and meme-making are esophageal systems; it only goes down one way pleasantly.Try to reverse the humor by reconstructing the painting and selling for half the price? Probably not. People move on. Completion is subjective. And so we’ve The Transience Issue, here for a limited time only. For magazines, in both subject and medium, are truly time’s passing encapsulate. People move on! So there are magicians (pages 62 and 76), one of whom possesses a pulse, the other of whom just possesses.There’s rock star Lenny Kravitz, whose entire new album was culled from what is perhaps the paragon of transience: dreams (page 194).There’s scream-queen Sarah Paulson, who considers the ephemerality, the beautiful passing through, of ketchup (page 204). There’s artist Marianna Simnett’s exploration of, among many other things, society’s transience hold-over: Botox (page 166). There’s a fashion exploration of the mysterious diets (what’s more transient than a meal?) of history’s dictators (page 242). There’s grappling with terminal illness, the law of the land and the lunch table, and the bittersweet transience of fatherhood in the Columns section (page 250). Enjoy this issue with all your heart, with all your might—and then? Let it go. Sincerely, Matthew Bedard