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May 19, 2019

Iconic Banksy painting renamed after becoming first piece of performance art to be sold at auction

October 13, 2018
Banksy’s ‘Girl with Balloon’ self-destructed in front of stunned auction-goers on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 moments after being sold for 1.04 million pounds ($1.4 million). (Sotheby’s / AP)

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.

"Girl with Balloon" sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby's in London Friday.
“Girl with Balloon” sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s in London Friday. (Pierre Koukjian / AP)

“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.

The new work will be on view to the public at Sotheby’s in London on Saturday and Sunday Oct. 13 and 14 from noon until 5 p.m.

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