New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Shredded Banksy artwork sells for $25.4 million at auction
LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally selfshredded just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched almost $25.4 million on Thursday — a record for the artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.
“Love is in the Bin” was offered by Sotheby’s in London, with a presale estimate
of $5.5 million to $8.2 million.
After a 10-minute bidding war involving nine bidders in the saleroom, online and by phone, it sold for three times the high estimate. The sale price includes a sales tax known as a buyer’s premium.
The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas in an ornate frame bearing a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon.
When it last sold at Sotheby’s in October 2018, the piece was known as “Girl With Balloon.” Just as an anonymous European buyer made the winning bid — for $1.4 million — a hidden shredder embedded in the frame by Banksy whirred to life, leaving half the canvas hanging from the frame in strips.
Sotheby’s received some criticism at the
time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work’s price soared.
The work quickly became one of Banksy’s most famous, and Sotheby’s sent it on tour to cities including New York and Hong Kong before Thursday’s auction.
Alex Branczik. Sotheby’s chairman of modern and contemporary art, called the shredding “one of the most ingenious moments of performance art this century.”
Banksy, who has never confirmed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world’s best-known artists.