Just days before the opening of the first large-scale UK exhibition of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work at the Barbican, Banksy stopped by in the night to put up two new murals. The first, which he refers to as a “portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan Police,” depicts a figure isolated from Basquiat’s famous 1982 painting, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, being frisked by two police officers as a dog watches nearby. The second shows a line of customers queuing for a ride aboard a Ferris wheel of Basquiat’s iconic crowns drawn in oil pastel.
Basquiat rose to fame in the late 1970s on the streets of New York as half of the graffiti duo SAMO©. Banksy’s new pieces seem to simultaneously reference the prevalence of racial profiling in targeted stop-and-frisk procedures (Basquiat sometimes referenced police brutality in his own work), while also coyly challenging the Barbican’s strict graffiti removal policy. Basquiat: Boom for Real opens on September 21, 2017.
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