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Banksy’s “Banksquiat (Black)” (2019)
“Banksquiat (Black)” (2019)via TateWard

Rare Banksy art critiques commodification of Basquiat by commodifying him

The resurfaced print, which condemns the cooption of Jean-Michel Basquiat by using the late artist’s famous crown iconography, is going up for auction

A rare Banksy print from 2019 which critiques the commodification of Jean-Michel Basquiat has gone up for auction.

Titled “Banksquiat”, the black and white print features Basquiat’s signature crown iconography – which was introduced in his graffiti days, when he worked alongside friend and fellow artist Al Diaz under their monniker SAMO© – morphed into a ferris wheel with children and a parent waiting to get on the ride.

It’s not the first time Banksy has paid homage to Basquiat. In 2018, two murals by Banksy, which combined the anonymous artist’s artistic style with Basquiat’s Neo-Expressionism, appeared near London’s Barbian, which was hosting, Boom For Real, a major solo show of the artist’s oeuvre.

The exhibition and Banksy’s murals came amidst of a huge surge of interest in Basquiat, who died of a heroin overdose in his New York City apartment, on 12 August 1989 at the age of 27.

A year previous, in 2017, Basquiat’s painting “Untitled” (1983) broke the record as the most expensive work sold by an American artist at auction.

Basquiat’s likeness has also been used to sell makeup, socks, placemats, and, well, just about any item you can think of. While Banksy’s work has been particularly sharp recently – critiquing everything from people to don’t wear masks on the tube to donating prints to raise money for a hospital – with the elusive artist using Basquiat’s legacy to sell his own prints, which is expected to reach £55,000, it seems he might have missed the mark on this one.

The east London auction house TateWard sale also includes by Banksy, KAWS, Tracey Emin, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. The auction ends August 27 at 2pm BST.