Record-Breaking: Shredded Banksy Artwork Sells for Over $25 Million at Auction
02:46 GMT 15.10.2021 (Updated: 20:52 GMT 19.10.2022)
The self-destructing art piece, “Love is in the Bin,” created by famed artist Banksy sold Thursday at a Sotheby’s auction for $25.4 million — a record for the mysterious British artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.
The auction house announced through Twitter Thursday that Banksy’s world-renowned shredded painting broke a record for a piece that was sold for around $22 million in March.
After a 10-minute bidding war, nine people reportedly battled for the piece online and by phone, before an anonymous buyer won the auction.
The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas bearing an image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon. When it last sold at Sotheby’s in October 2018, the original piece titled “Girl With Balloon,” garnered $1.4 million at auction by an anonymous female European buyer.
However, the crowd went wild after a hidden device embedded in the frame activated, leaving the canvas hanging from the frame in strips as soon as the sale was complete.
Sotheby’s received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But after the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, the value for Banksy’s artwork soared — it was the first time that a work of art had actually been created during an auction, according to Sotheby's.
A week and a half after the stunt, the street artist, whose real identity remains shrouded in secrecy, continued to fuel the fire. Banksy posted a video to their website titled “Shred the Love,” posted on Instagram as a “director’s cut” to “Shredding the Girl With Balloon.” The video said they put a shredder inside the frame years ago with a caption that read, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
“Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did,” Banksy insisted. “Some people think the auction house were in on it. They weren’t.”
The piece was taken on a brief global tour before returning home to London and going back up for sale, according to Sotheby's.
This time, however, no artwork was created or destroyed during the proceedings.