Artist Banksy Pranks Auction-Goers When His Work Self-Destructs After It's Purchased for $1.4 Million

Playing Banksy Artwork Shredded After Selling at Auction May Have Increased in Value

Prankster artist Banksy pulled another trick out of his bag when one of his famous works self-destructed right after it sold for $1.4 million at a London auction Friday.

The artist, who remains anonymous, surprised auction-goers, when his “Girl With Balloon” canvas ran through a shredder inside its frame and came out of the bottom in strips at Sotheby’s in London.

An alarm sounded as the whole scene unfolded, reports said.

A Sotheby's spokesperson said they were shocked at the incident.

The portrait, which shows a young girl reaching for a heart-shaped balloon, was encased in a gold frame.

"It appears we just got Banksy-ed," said Alex Branczik, head of contemporary European art at the auction house.

Banksy took to his own Instagram with a picture of the onlookers' shocked faces during the moment and captioned it, “Going, going, gone…”

Branczik said the auction house is “in discussion” about the next steps with the buyer of the portrait.

"We have not experienced this situation in the past where a painting spontaneously shredded, upon achieving a record for the artist," Branczik said. "We are busily figuring out what this means in an auction context."

Banksy originally became known from a series of notable pieces of graffiti throughout England but has never revealed his full identity.

This isn’t the first time he’s pulled a prank, however. In 2005, he hung an image of a spear-holding ancient human pushing a shopping cart in the British Museum. It stayed there for several days before anyone noticed.

The next year he placed a life-sized figure of a Guantanamo Bay detainee inside of Disneyland.

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