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Barbican considers how to care for its new Banksy neighbours

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The Barbican has responded to two new murals by Banksy that have appeared in a tunnel nearby, saying it is discussing ‘how to care’ for them 

Banksy confirmed on his Instagram page that he was responsible for the new artworks, which are on the corner of Beech Street and Golden Lane. He described them as an ‘unofficial’ collaboration with the art centre’s forthcoming Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibition, featuring work by the late New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

In one post, Banksy described the Barbican as ‘a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls’ – possibly a jibe at the future exhibition because Basquiat rose to fame as part of the graffiti duo SAMO©. 

The first mural shows people queuing up at a ticket booth below a ferris wheel, with its passenger cars replaced by crown symbols, common in Basquiat’s works. The second, a play on Basquiat’s Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, shows police officers searching a male figure. 

A Barbican spokesperson said: ‘The Banksy pieces appeared close to the Barbican Centre yesterday and we are discussing how to care for the pieces with the City of London Corporation.

’The exhibition Boom for Real looks at the life and legacy of Basquiat, including, as this work shows, his continuing influence on artists working today.’ 

A City of London Corporation spokesperson acknowledged that the murals sit within the planned Culture Mile, adding: ‘We plan to discuss the pieces with City Corporation colleagues and Barbican residents over the next few weeks.’ 

Born in 1960, Basquiat was a pioneer in the 1970s Lower East Side of Manhattan art scene. He is known for his neo-expressionist paintings, often characterised by their social commentary. He was also a poet, musician and DJ and collaborated with leading figures including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Blondie. He died in 1988, aged 27, of a heroin overdose. 

Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibition opens this Thursday (21 September) and runs until Sunday 28 January. 



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