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Banksy Takes Aim At London's Barbican Centre With Two New Murals

Banksy Takes Aim At London's Barbican Centre With Two New Murals

Graffiti artist Banksy has struck again in central London, this time throwing up graffiti pieces outside the Barbican art gallery.

The Barbican Centre is one of London's premiere arts venues, with a particular focus on contemporary art, music and performance.


Banksy, however, seemed unimpressed with their latest exhibition, which features work from the famed New York graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

"Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican," wrote the elusive artist, "a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls."

He followed it up with another piece giving a satirical poke to the perceived racism of the Metropolitan Police and their dislike of graffiti writers called "Portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan Police - an (unofficial) collaboration with the new Basquiat show," and depicted one of the Haitian-American artists' iconic characters, from 1982's Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, being frisked by two police officers.

Banksy posted photographs of the graffiti on his personal Instagram account, confirming them as legitimate Banksy pieces.

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Basquiat began his career as a graffiti artist in New York in the mid-1970s before finding fame as a visual artist during the 80s and dying of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988. His work was highly political, challenging power and authority while raising questions of race relations, social hierarchies and wealth.

The Barbican's retrospective is entitled Basquiat: Boom For Real and is described by the performing arts centre as 'first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of the American artist'.

Now, it has sprung up two other pieces in response to it, leaving the gallery and the local government in a quandary about how to respond.

Banksy pieces have previously sold for millions and are often left up as public art pieces, but the challenging subject matter of the most recent two works might dissuade authorities from leaving them.

"We plan to discuss the pieces with City Corporation colleagues and Barbican residents over the next few weeks," said a spokesperson for the City of London Corporation, the relevant local authority for the area surrounding the Barbican.

The City of London Corporation also own the building that houses the Barbican performing arts centre and thus technically now own the Banksy artworks.

Featured Image Credit: Banksy/Instagram

Topics: Art, London, Banksy

James Dawson

James Dawson is a Journalist at LADbible. He has contributed articles to LADbible’s ‘Knowing Me, Knowing EU’ series on the EU referendum, the 'Electoral Dysfunction' series on the 2017 general election, the ‘U OK M8?’ series tackling mental health amongst young men, and for its ‘Climate Change’ initiative in partnership with National Geographic.