Panama Jack

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
c. 1984
Found wood, nails, and paint
37 x 16 x 15 inches
Collection of
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco museum purchase American Art Trust Fund and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Griffin clothed his figures in specialized garments, especially hats, that speak of the wearers' literal and figurative identities. Panama Jack is a veritable Rosetta Stone for Griffin's sensibility. The figure's neck is broken; he bleeds from collar and wrist. His "hat," the proud, sporty Panama, betrayed a self-worth and ambition that provoked his being lynched.