After donating £205,000 from the sale of a protest piece to anti-arms campaigners – The artwork Civilian Drone Strike was on display at the Art the Arms Fair art exhibition in east London – The elusive street artist has created two new pieces near the Basquiat retrospective at the Barbican Centre which will open this week in London. On Instagram Banksy described the murals as an “(unofficial) collaboration”. Banksy wrote “Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican – a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls.”
Over the years, Banksy certainly knows how to create a sense of suspense and you never know when and where the next intervention will appear. After a wild one-month residence on the streets of New York, the opening of a depressive amusement park in England (covered here), murals supporting migrants in Calais, or this year’s opening of the hotel in West Bank (covered here) with a view of the wall of separation, then a reaction to the Brexit with a fresco in Dover of a construction worker breaking a star of the European flag with chisels, the British street-artist has just invited himself to the London celebration of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Two frescoes appeared on Sunday, September 17 and were published by the artist on his Instagram account near the Barbican Center which is preparing to host a retrospective of the American painter of Haitian and Puerto Rican origin.
The first piece shows a large wheel featuring three-pointed crowns, a distinctive signature from the graffiti Basquiat placed on the walls of New York, and which he also used on his canvases. Banksy indicates “Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican – a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls.”
The other work is a tribute to The Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, a famous painting of the artist from 1982 showing a figure with raised hands and a dog. Banksy added two policemen to search the man with this comment: “Portrait of Basquiat hosted by the Metropolitan Police [London police] – an unofficial contribution to the new Basquiat expo”.
Only a few hours later someone brought an addition to the piece.
The New Yorker, who did graffiti on the walls of his city by signing SAMO (“same old shit”) recently became the most expensive American artist of the story: in May, one of his paintings sold $ 110.5 million to Sotheby’s. Ironically, Banksy laughs at the great mass organized by the institution for the underground artist who died of an overdose in 1988 at the age of 27 … the exhibition, will open on Thursday 21 September.