Banksy Pulls Shocking Prank After His Photo Sells

The artwork was shredded moment after going under the hammer for $1.7m

Banksy is well known for his anti-establishment street art which often points a satirical finger at the world as it is today.

The stunt comes as the artist posted a video on his Instagram page that showed a shredder being fitted into the frame of the painting.

The auction house said the artwork had been granted a certificate by Banksy's authentication body and has given a new title, "Love is in the Bin".

Sotheby's confirmed that the buyer, a long-standing female client of the prestigious auction house, has agreed to buy the work for the price agreed at auction.

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Sotheby's said this was "certainly" the first time a work of art started to shred itself after coming under the hammer.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed", Alex Branczik, senior director and head of contemporary art, said in a statement on Sotheby's website.

Banksy's works have often commented on the ridiculous nature of the contemporary art world, and the increasingly high values of his own works.

Sotheby's claimed to have been surprised by Friday's auction prank, but some art experts have questioned how it was possible to pull it off without their knowledge. The sale price equalled the artist's previous auction record of about $1.35 million.

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The auctioneer's gavel fell and his iconic image of a girl reaching out for a red, heart-shaped balloon suddenly slid down into a shredder hidden inside the picture frame, leaving at least part of the canvas in strips.

Once a small-time graffiti artist from the English city of Bristol, Banksy's work has become hugely valuable. In 2006 he had built a life-size image of a hooded Guantanamo Bay detainee inside a ride in Disneyland themed park in California.

"A man dressed in black sporting sunglasses and a hat was seen scuffling with security guards near the entrance to Sotheby's shortly after the incident", Art Newspaper also reported.

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