“Nighthawks”, the street artist Banksy’s pastiche of Edward Hopper’s iconic 1942 painting of the same name, is an oil paint work first exhibited at the artist’s early exhibition ‘Turf War’ (2003), and subsequently at the higher-profile show in London’s Westbourne Grove some two years later. In Banksy’s version a British hooligan, of the type to drunkenly cause trouble whilst holidaying in some sunny resort, has just hurled a plastic poolside chair at the curved glass of the diner. Clad in Union Jack swimming trunks, the loutish figure eloquently sums up the self-image of Brits abroad. But in this “Nighthawks” pastiche it is the past that is the foreign country, in this case Hopper’s lonely and dissatisfied world of depression-era New York. In the original work, which has remained one of the most memorable images of the mid-twentieth century, the artist perfectly articulates his fascination with American modernity. Depicting a gloriously Bohemian diner in Greenwich Village, Hopper’s midnight narrative is an allegory for the isolation and alienation of modernity, all cast in a blinding artificial light that seems to place each customer under an interrogative gaze. A perfectly crystallize glaze of glass separates these two separate worlds: the cold comfort of the inviting interior from the wild darkness of the New York night. Banksy’s intervention thus breaks the somber, humble silence of the piece with the incongruous presence of a drunken oaf. Yet whereas Hopper’s wartime America responded to austerity in one way, Banksy reminds us that dissatisfaction and alienation manifest themselves in other, often more aggressive ways.