Real life is not so simple. Segregation remains latent in the high society and street artists considered as mere vandals are mercilessly pursued by the police. We cannot blame him for this fear of the cops : two years later one of his friends will be killed in a muscled police intervention.
Whether white or black the policeman is an enemy of his freedom. Jean-Michel makes some caricature portrait paintings of these brutes who maintain the public order. By defiance and by support of his friends who remain in the street, he adds on the back wall some inscriptions appearing as hastily written. In a later phase of his career these often incomprehensible messages will become preponderant.
A 182 x 121 cm panel adorned with the remarkable IRONY OFNEGROPLCEMN tag was sold for £ 8.2M including premium by Phillips de Pury on June 28, 2012.
On May 17 in New York, Christie's sells a panel of same size painted with acrylic and oilstick which is one of the rare examples in the art of Jean-Michel where the character is a white man. It is estimated $ 22M, lot 55 B.
This policeman is a massive man with broad shoulders whose function is recognizable in his uniform and kepi. The mouth is open in a cry and the gaze is bloody. On the wall the stylized drawing of a gaunt eagle is a mocking symbol of the federal authority. Below the eagle the tag LA HARA appears four times as a challenge inspired from 'La jara' meaning the cops in Puerto-Rican slang.
SOLD for $ 35M including premium