Friday, January 30, 2015

Kehinde Wiley Puts a Classical Spin on His Contemporary Subjects

By Deborah Solomon
“Arms of Nicolas Ruterius, Bishop of Arras,” a 2014 painting by Kehinde Wiley. (Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris via The New York Times)
NEW YORK---Kehinde Wiley began thinking about the stereotypes that shadow black men long before events in Ferguson, Mo., pushed the phrase “unarmed black man” back into the headlines and inaugurated a new wave of the civil rights movement. Now 37, Mr. Wiley is one of the most celebrated painters of his generation. He is known for vibrant, photo-based portraits of young black men (and occasionally women) who are the opposite of scared — they gaze out at us coolly, their images mashed up with rococo-style frills and empowering poses culled from art history. His first museum retrospective opens at the Brooklyn Museum on Feb. 20, before traveling to museums in Fort Worth, Seattle and Richmond, Va. “My work is not about paint,” he told me. “It’s about paint at the service of something else." [link]