The iconic Banksy painting that self-destructed at auction last week has been authenticated by Pest Control, the elusive street artist’s authentication body.
The painting-turned-performance artwork has also been renamed from “Girl with Balloon” to “Love is in the Bin, Sotheby’s said in a statement Thursday.
The piece made history on two fronts after the gavel came down at Sotheby’s in London Friday. Its sale price matched a previous record for the artist but more notably, seconds after the gavel came down, an alarm sounded and part of the canvas slipped through a shredder embedded in the artwork’s frame — making the work the first piece of live performance art ever to be sold at auction, according to Sotheby’s.
“In the process of ‘destroying’ the artwork, a new one was created,” Sotheby’s said.
The auction house identified the buyer — who will keep the piece — as a female European collector and long-standing client of Sotheby’s.
“When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history,” she said, according to Sotheby’s.
Sotheby’s denies having had any prior knowledge of the stunt.
Former gallerist Steve Lazarides said he doubted the artist would have tipped off its staff.
“I worked with him for 12 years, the idea of him colluding with an institution to pull off a stunt is the complete antithesis to his philosophy,” he said.