Ernie Barnes’ ‘Sugar Shack’: Why Museum-Goers Line Up to See

By Makeda Easter
“The Sugar Shack” by Ernie Barnes, 3-by-4-foot canvas.
At the California African American Museum’s retrospective dedicated to late artist and former NFL player Ernie Barnes, “The Sugar Shack” is an undeniable star. Visitors often form a line around the painting, said the show’s curator, Bridget R. Cooks, associate professor in the departments of African American studies and art history at UC Irvine. They all wait for their moment with Barnes’ work, a piece that entered pop-culture consciousness after appearing on the 1970s sitcom “Good Times” and as the cover art to Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album, “I Want You.” [More]