Attorney Street (Handball Court with Autobiographical Poem by Piñero)

Martin Wong American
Miguel Piñero American

Not on view

Attorney Street commemorates the multiethnic Lower East Side neighborhood where Wong lived. Here he depicts a handball court that had recently been tagged with graffiti. At the top is a poem by Puerto Rican author Miguel Piñero, who boasts about his adventures in crime, addiction, poverty, and violence. The poem’s sudden bursts of speech form a staccato rhythm that culminates with the outrageous declaration, "Slapped Jesus in the face and ran Satan out of town." Wong used the manual alphabet to finger spell the title and his name on the top part of the frame. Each line of the phrase in the cartouche on the lower frame is transliterated, using the manual alphabet, in the foreground. Ultimately, the painting conveys the noise, hyperactive energy, and multilingual jumble of New York.

Attorney Street (Handball Court with Autobiographical Poem by Piñero), Martin Wong (American, Portland, Oregon 1946–1999 San Francisco, California), Oil on canvas

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