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 Kehinde Wiley  (1977 - )

About: Kehinde Wiley


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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: African-American male figures-conceptual

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BIOGRAPHY for Kehinde Wiley
1977 (Los Angeles, California)
New York/California

Often Known For
African-American male figures-conceptual

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Photorealist painter Kehinde Wiley is inspired by Renaissance paintings and late European portraits.  He takes these influences and fuses them with casually dressed African-American men posing similar to prophets, saints and angels.  Artists he draws inspiration from include Raphael, Titian, Tiepolo, Gainsborough, Ingres and Sargent.

He begins by approaching African-American men in Harlem, asks permission to paint them, shows them his work, the subject can then choose a painting he would like to imitate.

His first solo museum show, featuring 18 large-scale paintings, was at the Brooklyn Museum.  In 2008, the Studio Museum in Harlem held a solo exhibition of his work, which was ten canvases from his series "The World Stage", 2006.  "He casts himself as an anthropologist and moves to various cities in order to parse the local customs."  Young black males are placed against richly patterned backgrounds and "borrow poses" from local statuary.  . . ."the men enjoy sumptuous features, wear beads and sportswear, and make eyes at their audience." (Bentley)

Lewis, Sarah, "De(i)fying the Masters" Art in America, April 2005
Kyle Bentley, "Previews: Kehinde Wiley", ARTFORUM, May 2008

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