Top of the Line (Steel)

  • Thornton Dial, Sr., Top of the Line (Steel), 1992, mixed media: enamel, unbraided canvas roping, and metal on plywood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift from the collection of Ron and June Shelp, 1993.47

Exhibition Label
Dial created Top of the Line (Steel) in response to the Los Angeles riots of 1992, after a jury acquitted four white policemen in the beating of unarmed black motorist Rodney King. The verdict ignited looting and rioting that lasted several days. Top of the Line re-creates the frenzy of the streets. Rope-outlined figures swirl in a dense field of color and line, grasping at pieces of automobiles and air-conditioners. Bold touches of red suggest violence; black-and-white figures symbolize racial tensions; red, white, and blue strokes, faint notes of patriotism, interweave the canvas in clusters.


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012
Title
Top of the Line (Steel)
Artist
Date
1992
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
65 x 81 x 7 7/8 in. (165.2 x 205.7 x 20.1 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift from the collection of Ron and June Shelp

Mediums
Mediums Description
mixed media: enamel, unbraided canvas roping, and metal on plywood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Abstract
  • Figure – fragment – face
  • Figure group
Object Number
1993.47
Palette
Research Notes
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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