Banksy’s “Love is in the Bin” piece will be sold today at the Sotheby’s auction house in London, U.K. and is estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
The piece made waves in October 2018 when it was created live in front of bidders in a packed auction room at Sotheby’s, immediately after Banksy’s “Girl with Balloon” painting was sold.
At the 2018 auction, the British artist’s iconic painting was placed in a heavy, Victorian-style frame, the kind typically used by Banksy to “poke fun at the establishment,” according to Sotheby’s. But this one featured a hidden shredder.
Seconds after the auction hammer fell and the painting was officially sold, it slipped halfway down the frame, which saw its bottom half shredded.
Sothey’s said the incident marked the first time a piece of live performance art was sold at an auction.
The BBC reported at the time that Banksy had uploaded a video of the shredding of the painting to his Instagram account before soon deleting the post.
The artist shared a video titled “Shred the Love, the director’s cut,” which showed the frame being built and also implied the artist may have originally intended to destroy the entire painting.
A note in the video read: “In rehearsals it worked every time,” before the video showed the piece being shredded entirely.
While some speculated that Banksy’s stunt was done in collaboration with Sotheby’s, the artist’s former gallerist Steve Lazarides said at the time: “I worked for him for 12 years, the idea of him colluding with an institution to pull off a stunt is the complete antithesis to his philosophy.”
Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s senior director and head of contemporary art, Europe London, said: “It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” in a statement at the time.
The piece was granted a certificate by Pest Control (Banksy’s authentication body) and was titled “Love is in the Bin.”
The female European collector who purchased the “Girl with Balloon” painting seconds before it was shredded decided to proceed with the sale at the same price it went for that night at the 2018 auction.
She said at the time that she was initially “shocked” to see the work shredded “but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”
“Love is in the Bin” has since been on display at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart art museum in Germany on a long-term loan.
How Much Is Banksy’s ‘Love is in the Bin’ Worth?
According to Sotheby’s, the latest Banksy artwork for sale has an estimated selling price between $5,467,432 and $8,201,148 (£4 million and £6 million).
The original “Girl with Balloon” painting back in 2018 was sold for $1.4 million (£1,042,000) before it was shredded.
Most Expensive Banksy Paintings
Here are five of the artist’s other most expensive paintings sold at an auction:
Selling price: Around $23 million (£16,758,000)
Banksy’s painting honoring Britain’s healthcare workers during the pandemic was sold in March this year at the Christie’s auction house in London. All proceeds from the sale were reported to have gone to the country’s National Health Service and health charities.
The piece (featuring a young boy holding a doll figure of a nurse over a toy basket containing Batman and Spiderman dolls) “set a new #WorldAuctionRecord for the artist,” Christie’s tweeted at the time, becoming Banksy’s most expensive work sold at an auction to date.
Selling price: Around $13.5 million (£9.9 million)
Spanning 13 feet, “Devolved Parliament” is among the largest known pieces by Banksy, according to Sotheby’s in London, where the piece was sold in 2019.
The painting was described by the auction house as a “derisive portrayal of The House of Commons reduced to an assembly of parliamentary primates.” It was sold just weeks before Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union.
‘Show me the Monet’
Selling price: Around $10.3 million ( £7,551,600)
The artist’s reimagining of Claude Monet’s “Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies” piece was sold at Sotheby’s in London last October following an eight-minute long bidding battle over the painting.
Featuring shopping carts and a traffic cone floating beneath the piece’s famous Japanese water bridge, the artwork “presents a dialogue on the impact of the corporate world on our environment and the sacrifices made at the expense of so-called ‘human progress’,” Sotheby’s said at the time.
‘Forgive Us Our Trespassing’
Selling price: Around $8.2 million (64,112,000 HKD)
Towering at around 23 feet, “Forgive Us Our Trespassing” is the largest known work by Bansky, according to Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, where it was sold in 2020.
The painting features a boy wearing a cap on his knees with hands held together in a praying gesture. A can of paint and paintbrush is also seen next to the boy, with a halo above him.
The work was described to be a portrayal of Banksy’s conflicted feelings as a graffiti artist, acknowledging those who see his work as vandalism and conveying that “he ultimately means well,” Sotheby’s said at the time.
Selling price: Around $3 million (£2,235,000)
Banksy’s “Mediterranean Sea,” a triptych featuring three paintings, was sold at Sotheby’s in London in 2020.
The artwork, which features life jackets washed up along a shore and rocks peaking above crashing ocean waves, was thought to be a reaction to the European refugees crisis over the past decade.
All proceeds from the sale were reported to have been donated to a children’s hospital in Bethlehem.