Shredded Banksy artwork sells for $25.4 million

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Some things are definitely not worth fixing.

The notorious Banksy painting that famously shredded itself after it had been sold at an auction three years ago was resold on Thursday for a whopping $25.4 million dollars, over 20 times more than it had in its original form.

“Love is in the Bin ” sold at Sotheby’s London, in the same location where it had self-destructed 

Thursday’s auction set a new personal record for the British street artist, known internationally for his politically provocative pieces, often completed in public spaces with spray paint. 

The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas, with the frills hanging from the bottom of a golden, ornate frame bearing a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon. The shredded girl’s face is now hidden behind the bottom of the frame, but the balloon above her has not been destroyed.

Following a 10 minute bidding war between nine bidders on Thursday, the half-destroyed painting sold for more than three times the $5.5 million to $8.2 million it was expected to fetch.

In this Sept. 3, 2021 file photo, an art handler at Sotheby's auction house hold Banksy's 'Love is in the Bin', before it returns to auction at Sotheby's, London, The work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally self-shredded just after it sold for $1.4 million could make several times that price at an auction on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.  “Love is in the Bin” is being offered by Sotheby’s in London, with a pre-sale estimate of 4 million pounds to $5.5 million to $8.2 million.
“Love is in the Bin” is being offered by Sotheby’s in London, with a pre-sale estimate of 4 million pounds to $5.5 million to $8.2 million.
AP
An auction for Banksy's "Love is the Bin" takes place in London on Oct. 14, 2021.
An auction for Banksy’s “Love is the Bin” takes place in London on Oct. 14, 2021.
Sotheby’s Auction House via AP

The painting, originally called “Girl with Balloon,” had just sold to an anonymous European bidder at the Sotheby’s in London for $1.4 million in October 2018 when a device inside of the painting’s frame suddenly turned on, shredding most of the painting and shocking the art world.

Sotheby’s was criticized for not discovering the shredder in the frame, however both the auction house and Banksy have said they had no knowledge of the artist’s scheme. 

“Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did,” artist said in an Instagram post after the stunt. “Some people think the auction house were in on it, they weren’t.”

The stunt and the painting became one of Banksy’s most famous and has made “Girl With Balloon,” originally stenciled on an east London Wall, known worldwide and widely replicated.

A staff member holds up an artwork by British graffiti artist Banksy entitled "Girl and Ballon" (two parts), during a pre-auction press viewing at Christie's auction house in London.
A staff member holds up an artwork by British graffiti artist Banksy entitled “Girl and Ballon” (two parts), during a pre-auction press viewing at Christie’s auction house in London.
Alastair Grant/AP

The purchaser agreed to still purchase the painting after the incident in 2018, which has clearly added incredible value to the piece.

“It has been a whirlwind to follow the journey of this now legendary piece and to have it back in our midst, offering it tonight in the very room it was created by the artist,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s chairman of modern and contemporary art, told The Associated Press.

“Banksy is no stranger to making headlines and this latest chapter in his story has captured imaginations across the world — we can only begin to guess what might come next.”

Banksy’ whose true identity is not known, began his storied career spraying-painting murals in Bristol, England. His poignantly satirical and often political pieces such as an image of  two male police officers kissing or armed riot police with yellow smiley faces have garnered controversy and praise, elevating the artists to one of the best-known in the world while still remaining mostly hidden from the public eye.

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