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Basquiat Murals, September 2017


Basquiat Murals
Barbican Center, September 2017


Two new Banksy murals appeared in London, ahead of the upcoming exhibition at Barbican Centre dedicated to Jean-Michel Basquiat. It was confirmed by the artist himself both on his Instagram account and his website, as Banksy does usually.

Basquiat Welcomed by the Metropolitan Police

Date: September 2017
Location: Barbican Center, London, England

Ferris Wheel

Date: September 2017
Location: Barbican Center, London, England
This was how Banksy introduced his two new stencils painted on walls at the Barbican Center in London.

“Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican. A place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls.”

The first mural, that we entitled Basquiat Welcomed by the Metropolitan Police, portrays two police officers strip-searching a figure, most probably Basquiat himself, represented as a graffiti artist, with his dog.
This mural is largely inspired from Basquiat’s famous 1982 painting Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, as the dog looks on.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, 1982
Art Institute of Chicago
Is this the scenario that Basquiat would have encountered as a black artist had he stayed alive?
The Ferris Wheel mural is a strong statement on the exhibition and even possibly a mocking of it, as it depicts a Ferris wheel made up of the motif of a crown, very often used by Basquiat, while people queue up for a ticket at a booth underneath. Basquiat used the crown to symbolize his personal heroes and icons, be it musicians, athletes or writers, but he also portrayed himself wearing the same crown as well.

Basquiat at the Barbican Center, London

The exhibition proved to be the most successful in 35 years of art shows at the Barbican with 216,389 visitors. Many of them also looked at the Banksy works, and it also got extra publicity because of the Banksy mural.
The Barbican Centre Board agreed to a long-term strategy to protect the street level murals on the side of the Barbican Exhibition Centre. They have been protected with Perspex
During the exhibition, it swiftly arranged security, for fear that City cleaning teams might erase the mural. The US artist Danny Minnick subsequently added his own work.

Boy and Dog in Johnnnypump

Source: The Chicago Tribune, 25 July 2020.
When it came out during the pandemic that Chicago billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin had purchased the massive, much admired Jean-Michel Basquiat canvas “Boy and Dog in Johnnnypump” for more than $100 million, it made news.
True to his word at the time the sale was reported, Griffin has made “Johnnypump” available to the public, loaning it to the Michigan Avenue museum, where it is expected to remain for the foreseeable future.
Now that eye-widening sale has turned into news Chicagoans can use. Exuberant, elemental and about 14 feet wide by 8 feet high, the painting is now hanging on a wall in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute, where it will be on view when the museum reopens Thursday after its more than four-month COVID-19 closure.
“It’s exemplary of his focus on New York City street life,” Folkerts said. “Basquiat said he’s really interested to sort of paint the saints and the heroes of the street. .. He really wants to put these male figures in a kind of regal history.”
Curator Hendrik Folkerts talks about “Boy and Dog in Johnnypump,” the 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Art Institute of Chicago, on Friday, July 24, 2020. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
The painting depicts one of Basquiat’s almost skeletal Black male figures, with a companion dog painted in similar style, in the spray of an open fire hydrant, or “johnnypump,” in New York street slang. “He wants to paint these figures, both dog and boy, from the inside out,” Folkerts said, while the reds, yellows and oranges around them suggest a “blazing hot summer landscape.”
The painting is the Art Institute’s only Basquiat, filling a significant gap in its modern and contemporary art collection. Zia Ahmed, a spokesman for Citadel, Griffin’s investment firm, reiterated via email what he said when news of the sale broke, that “the vast majority of Ken’s art collection is on display at museums for the public to enjoy. He intends to share this piece as well.”