In recent art world news, Sotheby’s announced that England-based street artist Banksy’s iconic Girl With Balloon (2006), which infamously shredded itself moments after being sold at auction in London earlier this month, has been officially sold to an unidentified art collector who has decided to go through with the purchase. Sotheby’s added that the partially shredded work is actually a new work, entitled Love Is In The Bin (2018), and such new work will be added to the buyer’s art collection. Banksy’s authentication body, Pest Control, has issued a certificate for the new work.
Banksy’s Girl With Balloon was shredded (by a shredder built into the frame) via remote control by a person in the salesroom immediately after being sold at auction for $1.4 million. This has sparked a debate as to whether the destruction was staged and whether the auction house was involved in the artist’s prank. Banksy’s longtime agent, Steven Lazarides, said the artist likely had not cooperated with Sotheby’s as “[h]e’s not going to collude with an institution.”
Sotheby’s head of contemporary art, Europe, Alex Branczik, said in a statement that “Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one.” Branczik called the destruction of the work a “surprise” and added that Love Is In The Bin is “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.”
The auction house had recently shown Love Is In The Bin at its London galleries. Sotheby’s concluded its media release with the following statement:
Banksy has a history with pranking art establishments, having previously pulled stunts in the Louvre, Tate Britain, the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum. Sotheby’s now joins that long and distinguished list.”