Preview: Kehinde Wiley "World Stage: Israel" at the Jewish Museum

By - Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Kehinde Wiley, featured in Santigold’s new album cover, is a fine art painter whose portraits of young african-american men are captivating to say the least. After graduating from Yale with his MFA in 2001, Wiley gained major recognition for his neo-classical paintings that superimposed contemporary figures into traditional paintings relating the flamboyant nature of ghetto fabulous culture to the Baroque. These large scale portraits (sometimes as big as 9 feet tall) are elegant in their nature, with photo-realistic depictions of young black men clad in streetwear set in front of gorgeous, tapestry-like backgrounds. Wiley has an upcoming exhibition in New York City. The show opens on March 9th at the Jewish Museum, located at 5th Avenue in between 92nd and 93rd streets. Titled, “World Stage: Israel”, it will include 14 of his pieces juxtaposed with large Israeli textiles hand-picked by Wiley from the museum’s permanent collection. The paintings are set in wooden frames that Wiley hand carved short motifs into, some even taken from the ten commandments. When questioned by the LA Times about the project Kehinde stated “My driving question was how do we take a nation with this level of intensity with regards to how we look at it, and go beyond the media stereotypes about national identity… What does an Israeli even look like? There are Arab Israelis, there are Ethiopian Jews — the Falasha, Ashkenazi Jews from every part of Eastern and Western Europe. So there is this immense diversity.” World Stage: Israel will be up at the Jewish Museum from March 9th until July 29th. Wiley will also be featured in another solo exhibition later this year at Sean Kelly gallery (who now represents Wiley) and will feature work titled “Economy of Grace”. There is little out about the specifics of this show but it will certainly contain some similar, astonishing paintings. This opens on May 5th and will run till June 16th. Text: Smarth Source: DNA Info and LA Times

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