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Kehinde Wiley puts Israel on his 'World Stage'

April 8, 2011 |  5:45 pm

Add Tel Aviv to the list. In the last few years, Kehinde Wiley has famously found models for his paintings in Dakar, Lagos, Beijing and Rio, just to name a few cities. Last year he turned to Israel, where he scouted out club kids and other suitably boyish men and asked them to pose, as is his borrowed fashion, in the style of Old Masters paintings.

Artwork_images_424078385_652271_kehinde-wiley The resulting paintings, "The World Stage: Israel," go on view at Roberts and Tilton in Culver City Saturday night. Gallerist Julie Roberts reports that all 15 works have already been reserved, sight unseen, at prices from $40,000 for a painting on paper to $160,000 for the most expensive oil on canvas.

One person expected to attend the opening (and perform at the after-party) is Kalkidan, who is pictured with with the lions of Judah at right. So why does he get the royal treatment?

"He is one of the most popular MCs in Israel, who happens to be a Falasha, an Ethiopian Jew," Wiley explained. "I wanted to follow the vein of hip-hop culture globally, and we were trying to find fixers — people on the ground who have local knowledge and access points."

Click here for the full interview.

-- Jori Finkel




Hip-hop's socially conscious side

Art Review: Noah Davis at Roberts and Tilton

Image: Kalkidan, 2011, from "The World Stage: Israel" by Kehinde Wiley. Oil and gold enamel on canvas. Courtesy Roberts & Tilton.


Comments () | Archives (2)

While KW is not my favorite painter, (I think he relies to much on tight careful surface rendering,) his work a breath of fresh are compared the the grey object imprint and sludge art reviewed above it.
I understand the business need to repeat a style for some kind of icon look, in his case a Black man on flower patter background (to soften the subjects hard street stance,) repeat. BUT, I'd like to see him do more challenging work, really testing his drawing skills beyond photo coping and collage with perhaps a figure in an environment. I look forward to his more mature work.

Someone has been busy with the delete/censor button.
While I appreciate the amount of work put into these 'portraits", and the attempt at color, they are far more about craftsmanship than art. They are traced photo and found patterns, using simple color tints and shades, The skin not modualted with color like a Gauguin would, who used at least three colors in each portrait, and never white in brown skin but reds, yellows and greens to give life,volume and weight.

The work is in the drawing which is not creative but copied, then color filled with no harmony,very garrish and non musical. More Prince than Miles. Simple rock and bad rap beat rather than complex and emotive polyrhythms and harmonic colors wound together with the melody of line. They are seperate,unrelated, and about the particular, not the essence of humanity in teh sitter. they are portraits, and has achieved that, but sold as creative art.

Adn that they are sold sight unseen proves theya re but commodities for investment. he has achieved the art academy dream of creating a signature for sale. He is a consistently high mediocre, and so the level never varies and can be bought and sold with no concern for quality ups and downs from explorations and experimentation, they do not develop or evolved, they are stuck. Garrish style over substance.

Great if that is what you want, he does put alot of effort into them, which is better by far than most contempt art. But lacks the art part, and people call Nuestro Pueblo folk art? Contempt art is but that of a small, myopic group of people, his are just of a different group than the normal white washed anemeics. but just as effette and impotent. All adolescent posture and no manhood, showing its street art roots.

art collegia delenda est
It can suck the life out of anything.


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