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Kehinde Wiley

Born, 1977 in Los Angeles, CA, USA

Kehinde Wiley was one of the artists included in Black Romantic, subtitled The Figurative Impulse in Contemporary African-American Art was an exhibition hosted by The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002. Featuring some 30 artists, Black Romantic was described by Lowery Stokes Sims, the Studio Museum’s Director, as an exhibition in which “elements of desire, dreams, determination, and romance particular to the black experience present a viewpoint that is oppositional to modernist conceptualization of blackness flavoured by exogenous exoticism, stereotype, caricature, and even abstractionist manipulation.”

The exhibition was reviewed by James Trainor, for Frieze, Issue 69, September 2002. Trainor’s review was sensitive, considered and discussed the exhibition with great clarity. Amongst his concluding comments, “The Studio Museum in Harlem is in an uneviable position. On the one hand it represents a community and a culture, while on the other it is committed to presenting the foremost achievements of African-American artists to a wider world. The museum has been criticized by some in the black community, especialy in its own bavckyard, Harlem, for ignoring precisely this kind of art in favour of the highbrow avant-garde practices that will be accepted downtown. ‘Black Romantic’ seems to be an acknowledgement and a questioing of those criticisms, and deserves credit for raising the issue of which black artists are on the inside and which are on the outside, and why.”

Within the Black Romantic catalogue’s text is Faux Real: Interview with Kehinde Wiley, by Christine Y. Kim, illustrated with one of Wiley’s’ paintings. In the interview, Wiley states “With the work I’m doing now, I am interested in history as it relates to “bling bling” (He laughs.) In places like Harlem, people ornament their bodies, love Gucci, and Versace, baggy jeans, bubble jackets, hoodies… I’m interested in architectural ornament, certain types of French Rococo facade ornaments for instance that end up as faux décor in shopping malls or Michael Graves faux neo-clsssicism Pomo for that matter. On April 28, 2016, caa.reviews published a review written by Phoebe Wolfskill of:

Eugenie Tsai, ed. Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic Exh. cat. New York: Brooklyn Museum, 2015. 192 pp.; 122 color ills. Cloth $49.95 (9783791354309)

Exhibition schedule: Brooklyn Museum, New York, February 20–May 24, 2015


Related items

click to show details of Black Romantic - catalogue

»  Black Romantic - catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 2002

click to show details of Black Romantic - review

»  Black Romantic - review

Review relating to an exhibition, 2002

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Studio Museum in Harlem

New York, United States of America