Banksy just unveiled two new works of art on his verified Instagram account. The murals, which appeared at London’s Barbican center, were inspired by the museum’s upcoming Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition. They poke fun at the venerable art institution for showcasing the work of a former graffiti artist. The first image was captioned “Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican–a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls.” It shows a Basquiat-inspired ferris wheel with people lining up to buy tickets. Since Banksy has been the star of many of his own museum exhibitions, it’s seemingly a bit of a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the art world as a circus.
The second image is more political. It shows Basquiat getting patted down by police, with the caption: “Portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan Police–an (unofficial) collaboration with the new Basquiat show.” It seems to be a comment on racial profiling by police, asking people to consider how Basquiat, one of the most famous African-American artists, would be treated if he were alive, working, and scrawling graffiti on urban walls today.