Shredded Banksy artwork sells for $25.4M
LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally self-shredded just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched $25.4 million Thursday — a record for the artist, and more than 10 times its pre-shredded price.
“Love is in the Bin” was offered by Sotheby’s in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).
After a 10-minute bidding war involving nine bidders in the saleroom and more online and by phone, it sold for three times the high estimate.
The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas in an ornate frame bearing a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon.
When it last sold at Sotheby’s in October 2018, the piece was known as “Girl With Balloon.” Just as an anonymous European buyer made the winning bid — for $1.4 million — a hidden shredder embedded in the frame by Banksy whirred to life, leaving half the canvas hanging from the frame in strips.
Sotheby’s received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work’s price soared.
Banksy, who has never confirmed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world’s best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two male police officers kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words, “Laugh now, but one day I’ll be in charge.”
Several of his works have sold for multiple millions at auction. In March, a Banksy mural honoring Britain’s health workers, first painted on a hospital wall, sold for $23.2 million at a Christie’s auction, until Thursday a record for the artist.
“Girl With Balloon” was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy’s best-known images.
Prince William: Before travelling to space, save the planet
LONDON — Britain’s Prince William has criticized some of the world’s richest men for using their wealth to fund a new space race and space tourism rather than trying to fix the problems on Earth instead.
William voiced his disapproval in an interview with the BBC aired Thursday, a day after the former “Star Trek” actor William Shatner became the oldest man to fly to space, in a rocket funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” said William, who is second-in-line to the British throne.
On Wednesday, the 90-year-old Shatner, who is best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the 1960s television series “Star Trek,” briefly flew into space with Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin. Billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson are also pumping resources into their own space ambitions.
Asked whether he would like to become a space tourist, William said “I have absolutely no interest in going that high.”
“I’ve been up to 65,000 feet once in a plane, that was truly terrifying,” said William, who served in the Royal Air Force as a helicopter pilot. “That’s high enough.”
William, who is formally known as the Duke of Cambridge, was speaking about climate change ahead of his inaugural Earthshot environmental prize awards ceremony on Sunday and two weeks before a U.N. climate summit starts in the Scottish city of Glasgow at the end of the month.
During the star-studded ceremony at Alexandra Palace in London, which will see five sustainability projects win 1 million pounds ($1.35 million) each, William will be joined by his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. The awards take their inspiration from the Moonshot challenge that President John F. Kennedy set for the U.S. in 1961 to land humans on the moon by the end of the decade — a challenge that was met eight years later.
— Associated Press