ARTICLES

ART FEED: Kehinde Wiley

Posted by: Tony – Apr 22, 2011

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Hey! Did you know there is a Picasso exhibit in town?? Oh yeah, you probably do from all the local media coverage. By now we got it, Picasso is great. Art History 101. As your mom says he is off-the-chain and if you don't know educate yourself, go pick up one of the million books at Barnes and Noble on the guy. But if you will allow me, let me turn your attention to another and possibly more relevant artist at the same gallery that isn't getting any press at all in Richmond, VA.

Hanging in the contemporary section of our own VMFA is the work of Kehinde Wiley. I believe his painting Willem Van Heythuysen (main image) was one of the first acquisitions the museum made while developing its collection to attract a younger audience a few years ago. His subject matter is urban, African American males and his staging is classical, ornate and only used in portraits of the European elite from hundreds of years ago. He has turned the negative image of the young and dangerous black male into one of timeless respect. Funny how a visual element, a wallpaper really, can change your whole perception and make royalty. Thru his work they become lords and kings for eternity, destined to hang on the walls of art collectors long after we are dead. Portraits of Ice-T next to a Sir Francis Drake hanging in the same rooms of important people who have no idea what either of them did.

Art History 101 a few hundred years from now.

See more at www.kehindewiley.com

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