Banksy’s Infamous Shredded Painting Is Out of the Bin and Back at Auction—for Nearly Four Times Its Previous Price

Sotheby's will sell the painting in October with a current low estimate set at $5.5 million.

Banksy's Love In The Bin on view at Museum Frieder Burda before moving to Stuttgart. Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images.
Banksy's Love In The Bin on view at Museum Frieder Burda before moving to Stuttgart. Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images.

It’s been just about three years since the anonymous artist Banksy captured headlines around the world when one of his most famous images, a girl with a balloon, self-destructed in Sotheby’s London auction room moments after selling for $1.4 million.

During the now-legendary sale, the image began slipping through a shredder secretly built into the bottom of the frame seconds after the hammer came down. Amid viral videos and intense debate about the act itself and whether Sotheby’s had been “in on it,” the painting was re-christened by Banksy as a 2018 work called Love is in the Bin, and also re-authenticated with a new certificate from his entity, Pest Control.

At the time, Sotheby’s revealed that the buyer, a longtime female client, had agreed to keep it, and would put it on public view. Well guess what? It’s baaaaack.

Sotheby’s revealed today that the work is making a repeat appearance on the auction block. It’s now slated for sale on October 14 in New Bond Street. And it appears that the shredding—which the house has cast as “the first work in history ever created during a live auction”—was a very expensive gesture.

Banksy, Love Is In The Bin Image courtesy Sotheby's

Banksy, Love Is In The Bin Image courtesy Sotheby’s

The painting now carries an estimate of £4 million to £6 million, which, at current exchange rates, works out to $5.5 million to $8.3 million. So if the work reaches even the minimum asking price at auction, that will still count as nearly quadruple its previous price. Not a bad return on a three-year investment.

Banksy wrote in a 2018 Instagram post at the time of the sale: “Some people think it didn’t really shred. It did. Some people think the auction house was in on it, they weren’t.”

The work “was born of the most spectacular artistic happening of the 21st century,” Sotheby’s senior director and chair of modern and contemporary art Alex Branczik said in a statement. When the work self-destructed in the saleroom, “Banksy sparked a global sensation that has since become a cultural phenomenon. During that memorable night, Banksy did not so much destroy an artwork by shredding it, but instead created one.”

Branczik added that the work is “considered heir to a venerated legacy of anti-establishment art that began with DADA and Marcel Duchamp more than a century ago.”

Love is in the Bin will go on public exhibition starting tomorrow (Saturday September 4) at noon for a special weekend preview in London, before going on a global tour to Hong Kong, Taipei, New York and back to New Bond Street once more.


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