London Nine bidders fought for ten minutes on Thursday evening for Banksy’s shredded balloon girl “Love is in the Bin”. The audience held their breath as chief auctioneer Oliver Barker auctioned the nation’s favorite work for £ 16 million (€ 18.89 million). A record price for Banksy. With a premium, the still anonymous bidder even has to pay £ 18.58 million. The previous record price of 16.8 million pounds, achieved by Christies in March of this year, for the picture “Game Changer” is only just exceeded.
Sotheby’s employees were nervous on the phones on Thursday. Somehow they seemed to be expecting something to happen again. Maybe another coup that led to the complete destruction of the icon? “Auctions are live theater, and as with any live production, we have to prepare for all eventualities,” chief auctioneer Barker had assured before the auction. But in the end nothing happened and the consignor can now look forward to a generous return.
On that surreal evening three years ago, she happened to become the owner of “Love is in the Bin”. “It was an incredible journey, to be part of the story of how one of the most famous works of art in the world was created,” said the collector, looking back. But now it is time to let go of the painting.
Speculation creates value. This applies not only to the stock market, but sadly also to trading in art. The best evidence is provided by Banksy, of all people, who was accused of wanting to demonstrate the art market. How elegantly he had succeeded in doing this in October 2018 in London, when his “Girl with Balloon” almost completely self-destructed at the time of the knockdown.
Was he trying to show how quickly something can become worthless that has just been sold for a million pounds?
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Mona Lisa with smiley
Sothebys had experiences with the outlaw of the art world as early as 2004. During a preview of Damien Hirst’s “Pharmacy” auction, Banksy had secretly sprayed a gangsta rat on the wall. In the same year he sprayed a smiley-emoticon-faced Mona Lisa on a wall in the Louvre. According to the Guardian, however, “Banksy’s greatest work” is “Love is in the Bin”. The Financial Times calls it his most brazen “prank” to date.
The crazy history of the picture has long since turned into a cultural phenomenon. Over 30,000 messages triggered its self-destruction. It produced numerous memes, inspired political cartoonists and the marketing departments of companies like McDonald’s, Perrier and or Ikea, which even published a guide to shredding on Instagram.
When Banksy himself confirmed the news on his Instagram account, his following is said to have swelled by a million people overnight. 1000 people visited the exhibition of the work at Sotheby’s in a single day.
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