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Monday, August 18, 2008

Massive and Majestic; The Paintings of Kehinde Wiley

New York is fabulous and Harlem is vibrant ! As you know, I was planning to go to New York to see the Kehinde Wiley exhibition-The World Stage:Africa Lagos-Dakar. –at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It is absolutely magnificent. All the paintings were created in 2008, so this is his most recent work. For those unfamiliar with Kehinde Wiley, he is the master of blending the new world with the old. He does these massive paintings of contemporary black and brown men in their urban clothing.

My favorite paintings of his are Hunger, Rubin Singleton and Three Wise Men. Kehinde Wiley’s work is very large and very detailed. In Hunger, you feel the pain of the young men in this painting. You feel this through their eyes. One thing about Kehinde Wiley, his paintings are full of strong looking, powerful males of color. They look majestic.
According to the Studio Museum “Wiley is known for his stylized paintings of young, urban African-American men in poses borrowed from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European figurative paintings, a practice he started in the early 2000s while an artist in residence at the Studio Museum. Over the last two years, Wiley has expanded his project by living and working abroad; he temporarily relocates to different countries and opens satellite studios to become familiar with local culture, history and art. His “The World Stage” series is the result of these travels.”

Born in Los Angles in 1977 and educated At Yale University, Kehinde Wiley is based in New York City. His work has the feeling of old master portrait painters such as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough , Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Titian. The style of Kehinde Wiley’s work is both contemporary and traditional and the black male if always his focus; black males that are commanding.

Kehinde Wiley will be at the Studio Museum, to speak ,sometime in October. You may contact the museum to get more details. I want to thank Amanda, from the Studio Museum, and other staff members for the warm reception they gave me and my Aunt Mona. And I thank my aunt for thinking that it was important that I see this museum and this artist. Thanks ,Tante Mona.

Do try to visit this museum and see Kehinde Wiley because seeing his artwork is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. The exhibition runs through October 26, 2008.

The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 west 125th Street
New York, New York

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