Painting From ‘Good Times’ Auctioned For $15.2 Million

If you only had $15.1 million to spend on Ernie Barnes’ iconic “Sugar Shack” painting, you’re out of luck. The Black Romantic masterwork featured in the fourth season opening and closing credits for Good Times (and as the album cover for Marvin Gaye‘s 1976 I Want You) just pulled in 76 times what it was expected to at auction. Poker player and hedge fund manager Bill Perkins (not to be confused with jazz saxophonist Bill Perkins) scored the painting for $15.2 million, calling the acquisition a “childhood dream come true.”

Which is fitting, because the painting, which features Barnes’ signature elongated limbs and free-spirited dancehall composition, was inspired by a childhood memory. Barnes explained in an interview in 2008 (about a year before his death) that “Sugar Shack” sought to convey “the first time my innocence met with the sins of dance. The painting transmits rhythm so the experience is re-created in the person viewing it. To show that African-Americans utilize rhythm as a way of resolving physical tension.”

Maybe this blockbuster sale will reinvigorate interest in a Good Times reboot. Blackish and Coming 2 America screenwriter Kenya Barris was hired by Sony to write a feature version in 2015, but nothing ever came of it.

For fans of Barnes, the epic sale is a powerful commentary on the ascendant recognition of his talent. For everyone else, it comes with the tragic revelation that J.J. did not paint his own painting. Not Dy-No-mite, y’all.

(via USA Today)

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