Banksy artwork shredded at auction
Love is in the trash, Banksy’s iconic image of a girl with a heart-shaped balloon – but with a twist.
Half of the painting is shredded, the strips hang down under the picture frame.
The work was originally titled “Girl With Balloon,” but some typical Banksy misdeeds changed all that one day in October 2018.
It had just been sold as the last lot of a Sotheby’s auction in London.
But a hidden shredder concealed in the frame has come to life.
The crowded auction room watched in confusion – and perhaps a bit of horror – as the painting slowly sliced into pieces.
Emma Baker, contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s, was responsible for sales that fateful night.
She remembers the moment that stunned the art world.
“The hammer fell and all of a sudden we heard this beep. It was not a Sotheby’s alarm. So we were all like ‘what’s going on? And everyone was sort of out of their seats, phones in the air, hands over mouths, ”she says.
“I looked, and I was standing on the banks of phones at the time, I looked and the photo seemed to have fallen halfway out of the frame. And it wasn’t until a little later that we realized he had really shredded.
The painting sold for just over £ 1million ($ 1.4million), well above its indicative estimate of £ 200,000-300,000, before being shredded.
It was a record for the artist.
But demand for Banksy has skyrocketed since then.
His work now regularly sells for millions of dollars, with a painting honoring the work of the UK Health Service, selling for a record $ 20 million earlier this year.
The collector who won the auction in 2018 chose to keep the work, despite its altered condition.
It seems to have been a smart financial move, as Sotheby’s believes Love is in the Bin will sell for a lot more at its auction next month.
“This work comes up for auction with an estimate of £ 4-6million, which is the highest estimate ever placed on a Banksy at auction,” says Baker.
“But if you look at it in the grand scheme of Banksy’s high prices over the past three years, it still looks appealing, it looks conservative when you compare it to these pieces, because it’s probably his most famous work of art. . “
Sotheby’s insists it wasn’t in the 2018 shredder prank.
And Banksy has a form for that kind of guerrilla performance art.
He secretly stenciled a rat on a wall at Sotheby’s during a Damien Hirst exhibition in 2004, and he hung unauthorized artwork everywhere from the British Museum in London to the Louvre in Paris.
Sotheby’s expects no trick when Love is in the Bin goes up for auction next month.
But surely another Banksy hit will happen someday?
“Never say never, it’s Banksy, you can’t predict anything and that’s exactly what he does,” says Baker.
“He played us last time. I’m sure he could probably do it again. Who knows?”
The half-ragged piece of art Love is in the Bin will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s on October 14 in London.