Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic (OKC)

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Kehinde Wiley (American, b. 1977). Mrs. Waldorf Astoria, 2012. Photo courtesy OKCMOA.

June 17 thru Sept 10 – OKC MOA –

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents an overview of the artist’s career. The exhibition highlights the range of Wiley’s production, starting with examples of early paintings executed around the time of his 2001 residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. These figurative canvases of African-American men, inspired by Wiley’s observation of street life in Harlem, mark the beginning of his focused exploration of the male figure.

In subsequent bodies of work, the artist took figuration a step further to examine the European tradition of portraiture. Appropriating the format of specific paintings by renowned masters such as Titian, Van Dyke, Ingres, and Manet, Wiley began the practice of replacing historical subjects with contemporary young African-American men sporting fashionable urban gear: puffy down jackets, sneakers, hoodies, jerseys, and baseball caps. Juxtaposed with ornate decorative backgrounds, the stylized likeness and grounds became part of Wiley’s signature style.

The exhibition will also include a selection from his ongoing World Stage project, which he initiated in 2006 by establishing a satellite studio in Beijing, China. In addition, the exhibition will include portrait busts, stained glass, as well as female portraiture from Wiley’s recent series An Economy of Grace.

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