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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.