Thornton Dial, Sr.Top of the Line (Steel)
enamel, roping, and metal on plywood
65 x 80 7/8 x 7 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift from the collection of Ron and June Shelp
The artist created this work after the riots in Los Angeles in the summer of 1992. Thousands looted businesses and damaged property in response to the verdict acquitting white police officers, who had been videotaped brutally beating an unarmed black motorist. Dial, a former steelworker, uses refrigerator, air conditioner, and automobile parts to refer to goods coveted by looters.