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'Must-see' exhibition now open at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts!

Colonel Platoff on His Charger, Kehinde Wile, 2007–8. Oil on canvas, 122 x 122 in. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Gift of the Director’s Council and Museum purchase, 2008. © Kehinde Wiley

Shantavia Beale II, Kehinde Wiley, 2012. Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 in. Collection of Ana and Lenny Gravier, courtesy Sean Kelly, New York. © Kehinde Wiley. (Photo: Jason Wyche)

June 2016. You don't have to be an art enthusiast to know the name Kehinde Wiley. He's the world-renown, game-changing artist who redefined the way black men and women are portrayed in contemporary art. A master of the merger, he is known for creating massive portraits replacing European aristocrats with everyday black people. Set against the ornate, decorative backgrounds found in traditional European portraiture, the men and women of color are usually wearing sneakers, hoodies and accessories associated with today’s hip-hop culture. Wiley wanted to draw attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives. And his effort has literally - in an artistic sense - gone viral. He has received critical acclaim for his investigation of race, power, and the politics of representation. Last year, Wiley was among the seven artists, including Mark Bradford and Sam Gilliam, to be honored with the U.S. Department of State 'Medal of Arts' for using visual art to promote cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.

On June 11, 2016, the stunning retrospective of Wiley’s prolific career, comes to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic is a comprehensive survey of the artist’s range of work, through nearly 60 paintings and sculptures. It includes his early portrait paintings, inspired by his observation of street life in Harlem and set to the visual language of classical European portraiture, as well as his recent explorations in sculpture and stained glass.

Wiley was born in Los Angeles, received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 1999, and an MFA from Yale University in 2001. His works are in the collections of over forty museums, including LA's Museum of Contemporary Art and Hammer Museum, NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Seattle Art Museum. Wiley has had solo exhibitions at the Phoenix Art Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, and in NY at the Jewish Museum and the Studio Museum of Harlem. He was recently commissioned with “ART in Embassies” to create a monumental painting for the new U. S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic will be on view at VMFA through September 5, 2016.


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