Irony of a Negro Policeman by Jean-Michel Basquiat

I came across this painting while reading about Post-Soul Aesthetics, Black art after the Civil Rights movement. It’s interesting how the white paint borders, but sometimes overlaps the black paint in this painting. It begs the question: is the black figure forming itself, or is the black figure being formed by the white paint around him? I love how Basquiat uses something as obvious as color to represent racism in America. This painting is kind of hard to look at. The person in the painting is not only ugly, but crudely drawn and off-balance. I guess shocking people with such a harsh image is a great way to get Basquiat’s audience to pay attention to not only the image, but also to the racism and cruelty in society.

Please complete the required fields.

Join Conversation