Famous Banksy painting gets shredded at Sotheby’s in suspected prank

British street artist Banksy seemed to pull off the stunt of the century on Friday, when one of his paintings began to self-destruct seconds after being sold. The New York Times reports that Banksy’s “Girl With a Balloon” sold for $1.4 million as part of the last lot at Sotheby’s “Frieze Week” contemporary art sale in London. Moments after auctioneer Oliver Barker slammed the sale hammer, however, an alarm went off and a remote-control mechanism on the back of the frame started to shred the painting. “We’ve been Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe, said at a news conference afterward. The buyer who purchased the 2006 spray paint on canvas was a private collector who has not been identified.

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