Monday, March 16, 2015

Art Review: ‘Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic’ at the Brooklyn Museum

By Roberta Smith
"Saint John the Baptist" (2013) by Kehinde Wiley
NEW YORK---You can love or hate Kehinde Wiley’s bright, brash, history-laden, kitsch-tinged portraits of confident, even imperious young black men and women. But it is hard to ignore them, especially right now, with scores of them bristling forth from “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic,” the artist’s mind-teasing, eye-catching survey at the Brooklyn Museum. Since 2001, Mr. Wiley has been inserting black individuals into the generally lily-white history of Western portraiture, casting them in poses — including on rearing steeds — derived from Renaissance and old master paintings of saints, kings, emperors, prophets, military leaders, dandies and burghers. In a way that few other living artists match, Mr. Wiley’s art is overtly, legibly full of the present. [link]