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Catalog Data

Created by:
David Hammons, American, born 1943  Search this
Subject of:
Michael Jerome Stewart, American, 1958 - 1983  Search this
Published by:
Eye Magazine, British, founded 1990  Search this
stenciled paint with ink on paper and ink and tape on cardboard
H x W (paper): 11 × 8 1/2 in. (27.9 × 21.6 cm)
H x W x D (Frame): 21 × 19 × 1 1/4 in. (53.3 × 48.3 × 3.2 cm)
Place depicted:
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
The Man Nobody Killed pays homage to the life and protests around the death of Michael Stewart, an artist and model who was arrested by the New York City Transit Police for writing graffiti on a subway station wall. Stewart was brutally beaten outside the subway station, and again outside the police station. Witnesses saw officers beat him with billy clubs, kick him, and choke him with a nightstick. His injuries were so severe that he was transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he arrived hog-tied and without a pulse. Hospital staff revived him, but he remained in a coma and died of his injuries 13 days later. His death became the subject of protests and work by fellow artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. No officers were charged in his death.
A framed stenciled paint and collaged work on printed commercially available cardboard featuring a portrait image of a young man, the artist Michael Stewart, who died after being beaten by New York City Transit Police following an arrest for writing graffiti on a wall in a subway station. Stewart is shows from the shoulders up in stenciled black paint. Across his face is stenciled text that reads "THE MAN NOBODY KILLED” in red paint. There is a white rectangle of paper adhered to the cardboard on top of the stenciled portrait. Located on his neck just below his jaw, the white rectangle has black text that reads “MICHAEL / STEWART / 1958- / 1984.”
The artwork is stenciled atop a piece of white repurposed commercial cardboard with printing, stamps, and tape on it. In the upper left corner is black printed text "C/G." In the upper right corner is black printed text "BW. 4635 / FILLED." Next to this text is a small stamp in black ink "JUN 14 1983." Below this stamp are two large zeros in brown ink. At center right, appearing under most of Stewart’s face is a cream colored wine label printed in maroon and black text reading: Trefethen / NAPA VALLEY 1981 / PINOT NOIR / Grown, Produced & Bottled By /Trefethen Vineyards / Napa, California, U.S.A. / Alcohol 13.2% by Volume.” In the bottom right hand corner is text that reads "12 x 750 ML.” A piece of brown packing tape is adhered at bottom center and a scribble of red crayon at bottom left. A line of rectangular perforations appears along the left-hand margin and the upper left-hand corner is slightly crumpled.
African American  Search this
Activism  Search this
Art  Search this
Police brutality  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Urban life  Search this
Violence  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© David Hammons
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Visual Arts
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture