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Sotheby’s goes street with Banksy exhibition

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LONDON (AP) — There’s a dead rat at the heart of a new exhibition mounted by august auction house Sotheby’s.

Stuffed and sporting a backpack and a spray can, the rodent is the creation, and alter ego, of Banksy, the anonymous street artist turned art-world superstar.

It’s a sign of his status that Sotheby’s is behind one of the largest-ever Banksy exhibitions, a display of kissing policemen, placard-wearing chimpanzees and doctored pop-culture images spanning much of the artist’s career. Some of the works originally sold for as little as 50 pounds ($84). Now, prices range from 4,000 to more than 500,000 pounds.

Banksy’s former agent, Steve Lazarides, assembled the show. He said Friday “it’s completely paradoxical” to see the works in a fancy gallery, “but I think that’s part of the fun.”