skip to Main Content


Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore Banksy and his self-shredding artwork.

On October 5, 2018, British street artist Banksy made history in the sale room of Sotheby’s London. It was the biggest event of the season for the auction house – their Contemporary Evening Sale. Banksy’s Girl with Balloon (2006) was the last lot on offer, hanging right there in the room, having witnessed the highs and lows of the evening thus far.

Girl with Balloon (2006) had been put up for sale by an anonymous buyer who had bought the work directly from the artist. The black and white painting featured a young girl extending her arm towards a heart-shaped red balloon that is blowing away in the wind. It was based on a work that the artist had done on a building in East London in 2002, one of his most iconic images.

On the evening of the auction, the work managed to sell for GBP 1.04 million. However, seconds after the sale was confirmed, there was a distinct beeping sound in the room. The work began to slip out its frame, passing through a shredder in the process. The art world looked on in shock and horror as three-fourths of the work self-destructed.

Soon after, the notorious artist released a video on instagram which showed him installing the shredder in to the work.


Days after the incident, Banksy declared the shredded work reauthenticated. He called the new version of his picture Love is in the Bin (2018). The work became part of an iconic moment in auction history. It became the only work to have been created live at auction. Needless to say, Banksy’s market value jumped and the buyer agreed to proceed with the sale at the price previously agreed upon.

Both Sotheby’s and Banksy deny any collusion, stating that the former was unaware of the latter’s intentions. However, we cannot help but believe that the entire event was a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt. It seems impossible that the world-class art experts at Sotheby’s missed the metallic self-shredding equipment within the frame.

Further, the shredding mechanism was activated by a detonator that was carried into the sale room. We can’t imagine getting a detonator past Sotheby’s security being an easy task.

A Glitch in the Plan

Banksy recently revealed that the shredder within the work has malfunctioned, which had caused only three-fourths of the work to shred.

Well, in the end it all makes for a fantastic story.

Click here to check out the video uploaded by Banksy.
To read more on facts and opinions, visit Art Market & You.

Back To Top