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Banksy creates homage to Basquiat at London’s Barbican

  • 2 min read

The street artist’s new murals coincide with the opening of ‘Boom for Real’.

A pair of murals by the secretive street artist Banksy has appeared in central London overnight near the Barbican, marking the opening of a major retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

On his official Instagram account, Banksy described the new street pieces as an "(unofficial) collaboration".

He also wrote alongside an image of ferris wheel featuring a Basquiat crown motif: "Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican - a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls."

Another piece that depicts Basquiat, painted in his loose expressive style, being searched by Met Police bears the caption: “Portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan police – an (unofficial) collaboration with the new Basquiat show.”

The exhibition Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work by the artist who tragically died of a heroin overdose in 1988 at the age of 27.

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960­-1988) was one of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the late 1970s in the post-punk underground art scene in downtown New York. His neo-expressionist style has gone on to influence an entire generation of artists.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said “We are truly thrilled to be staging the first show on Basquiat in the UK in over 20 years. The creative brilliance and emotive power of Basquiat continues to have a huge impact and influence. This is a rare opportunity for visitors to see a body of some of his most famous and also little known works in one place, and to see those works in the context of the New York scene of the 1980s.”

Banksy has also been in the news recently when his painting ‘Civilian Drone Strike’ was auctioned at Art The Arms Fair, a five-day exhibition that protested against the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair.

The work was sold for £205,000, which was donated to charities Reprieve and Campaign Against Arms Trade.

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