LONDON — People lining up at a ticket booth under a Ferris wheel. Police officers questioning a skeleton figure as his dog looks on. Two new Banksys have popped up at the Barbican Center here, authenticated on Sunday by the British graffiti artist on his Instagram account.
The pieces, which refer to the work of the American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, appear to herald the start of a major exhibition of Basquiat’s work, opening on Thursday at the Barbican Center.
“Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican — a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls,” Banksy wrote alongside the black-and-white image of the Ferris wheel, which displays crowns — a popular Basquiat motif — instead of passenger cars. Under the image of the boy and the police, a reference to Basquiat’s 1982 “Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump,” Banksy wrote: “Portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan police — an (unofficial) collaboration with the new Basquiat show.”
The artworks are perhaps a homage. Basquiat, who died of a suspected drug overdose at 27, in 1988, began his career as a graffiti artist before going on to become a celebrated art-world figure, acclaimed for his primitive, boldly colored figures, textual fragments and raw imagery that often referred to African history, slavery and colonialism.
The Barbican exhibition, “Boom for Real,” is the…