Event Title

Kehinde Wiley: Creative Genius or One-Note Sellout?

Location

CSU 201

Start Date

18-4-2016 10:00 AM

End Date

18-4-2016 11:00 AM

Student's Major

Art

Student's College

Arts and Humanities

Mentor's Name

Alisa Eimen

Mentor's Department

Art

Mentor's College

Arts and Humanities

Description

As a relatively new player in the art arena, Kehinde Wiley has already generated a notable amount of interest and feedback. Best known for his large-scale paintings which re-interpret Old Masters’ portraiture by using randomly selected low-status people of color as the subject matter, Wiley’s work explores themes of power, race, and identity. Two of his most recent series continue in the same vein while also bringing globalization and gender into the discussion.

Although Wiley has already produced a vast body of well-known work, the short amount of time in which he has done so has resulted in a need for more extensive evaluation. By examining his early paintings, one can clearly see that Wiley’s work began with a thoughtful, fresh approach of using the traditional artistic canon to address important issues. However, later series such as “The World Stage” and “An Economy of Grace” seem to do little more than recycle the same artistic formula, with a few mild alterations added in order to identify them as new. Furthermore, paintings done for the clientele in the music industry seem to go against Wiley’s oft-spoken interest in giving power to the underrepresented. While Wiley’s art is certainly not without merit, it is evident that a critical eye must be continue to be used when evaluating his body of work.

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Apr 18th, 10:00 AM Apr 18th, 11:00 AM

Kehinde Wiley: Creative Genius or One-Note Sellout?

CSU 201

As a relatively new player in the art arena, Kehinde Wiley has already generated a notable amount of interest and feedback. Best known for his large-scale paintings which re-interpret Old Masters’ portraiture by using randomly selected low-status people of color as the subject matter, Wiley’s work explores themes of power, race, and identity. Two of his most recent series continue in the same vein while also bringing globalization and gender into the discussion.

Although Wiley has already produced a vast body of well-known work, the short amount of time in which he has done so has resulted in a need for more extensive evaluation. By examining his early paintings, one can clearly see that Wiley’s work began with a thoughtful, fresh approach of using the traditional artistic canon to address important issues. However, later series such as “The World Stage” and “An Economy of Grace” seem to do little more than recycle the same artistic formula, with a few mild alterations added in order to identify them as new. Furthermore, paintings done for the clientele in the music industry seem to go against Wiley’s oft-spoken interest in giving power to the underrepresented. While Wiley’s art is certainly not without merit, it is evident that a critical eye must be continue to be used when evaluating his body of work.

Recommended Citation

Luehmann, Emily. "Kehinde Wiley: Creative Genius or One-Note Sellout?." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 18, 2016.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2016/oral-session-01/2