Half-shredded Banksy fetches $25.4 mln on return
Onlookers gasped when the then-titled “Girl with Balloon” was sucked into a shredder as the hammer fell following a bid of $1.4 million at an October 2018 auction at Sotheby’s in London.
“Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did. Some people think the auction house was in on it, they weren’t,” the street artist, whose identity is a closely guarded secret, said on Instagram in 2018.
Now called “Love is in the Bin”, the work sold for $25.4 million, more than three times the top end of its $7 million price estimate and an auction record for the artist.
“I can’t tell you how terrified I am to bring down this hammer,” joked Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker after 10 minutes of bidding.
Sotheby’s said the work fitted into an illustrious history of anti-art including Marcel Duchamp’s anonymous submission of Fountain, a porcelain urinal remounted on a pedestal in 1917, to Ai Weiwei, who photographed himself intentionally dropping an alleged Han Dynasty urn.
“When Girl with Balloon ‘self-destructed’ in our saleroom, Banksy sparked a global sensation that has since become a cultural phenomenon,” said Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s chairman of modern and contemporary art.
“Today this piece is considered heir to a venerated legacy of anti-establishment art,” he added.