on kehinde wiley
process of reflection, the world that we see on his canvass transforms the way we think about old and
new, race, masculinity, and above all, the generous soul of an artist’s ability to provide a way of saying
simply: another world is possible.
“But now it’s burnt down, where are they going to live?…’
Watching the thatched cottage turn to ashes, Mao eventually said to himself: “Um, Really clean if the
earth has fallen to complete void and nothingness!” This was a line of poetry from the classic Dream of
the Red Chamber. But Mao was doing more than reciting poetry. This was an echo of the attraction to
destruction that he had alarmingly expressed as a young man. He continued: “This is called: ‘No
destruction, no construction.”
Nobleman, saint, prophet – Wiley’s subject matter places African Americans in a context that is almost
Surreal in the fact that essentially, no one has done the juxtaposition before. There are writers who
look for the primitive Black – Jean Genet, for example, or photographers who look for the socially
exotic, Robert Mapplethorpe – but the ideal of telling a story with recast characters – maybe Jean
Cocteau’s “Orpheus” might work for this one… Well, it’s something that painting really hasn’t engaged
too much. With one flourish, Wiley switches roles, and lets a whole different reading of portraiture
Think of the New World technique of instantiating Old Saints – any Santeria enthusiast can tell you, like
Yale University’s Robert Farris Thompson, that there’s a hidden city in each of the icons.
hahaha yes yes there is mm hm
Warhol’s Factory of the early 1960’s, we’re presented with an artist who has inherited what digital
media artist Brian Eno likes to say is “scenius” – instead of the old model of the artist cooped up in
their studio (the genius gambit) alone, we’re presented with an artist who functions as a kind of
from august wilson:
“Oh, I don’t see color.” We
want you to see us. We are black and beautiful. We are not patrons of the linguistic environment that
had us as “unqualified, and violators of public regulations.” We are not a menace to society. We are not
ashamed. We have an honorable history in the world of men. We come from a long line of honorable
people with complex codes of ethnics and social discourse, people who devised myths and systems of
cosmology and systems of economics. We are not ashamed, and do not need you to be ashamed for us.
santeria aesthetics (although the kitsch is over-wrought) and hip-hop aesthetics
Rockwell’s paintings they look better in reproduction than
He is beginning to paint skin in ways you can’t
stop looking at.
In this series he is painting African men.
Um yeah! I was just in Brooklyn, and had about half a dozen conversations about gentrification and also the potential for things to happen, in the same breath. Like I heard an optimism in the scene, that something was happening again, people doing things in smaller communities, but forming a tightness in those communities that these residents hadn't felt in some time. But also I heard a lot of these same sentiments, too. Only one person seriously considering leaving though (and these are artists working in their 30s or above, so somewhat established, although by no means making an easy living).
Daily Californian on Kehinde Wiley
In this series, it's marginalized Israeli men.
Every portrait is encrypted
with biblical and folkloric metaphor; most frequent are
representations of Leviathan and regional animals like deer,
leopards and lions. A quote from the Old Testament encircles the
head of one model like a halo. While this is all magisterial and
superficially pleasing, the connection between allusion and model
Women are conspicuously absent in
On art and Investment
The specter of “art as investment” provokes the excitement that comes from
being able to pick out a clear villain: what could be a better example of the evils
of capitalism for art than the businessmen subordinating aesthetic virtue to the
icy logic of profit?
A recent Barclays survey finds that the very
rich still collect what it charmingly calls “treasure” for old-fashioned reasons:
status and amusement.
It’s just that the whole spectacle of
conspicuous aesthetic consumption is so frivolous, you can’t blame them if
sometimes they also like to be told that they are not just splurging, but
art history’s losers vastly outnumber its
winners, and the latter are almost impossible to predict.
art as business, provoke, controversy...
“It is conceptually witty, it is provocative, it deals with all kinds of things in a lighthearted way,” says Simon Groom,
but wow this: “Artists like Ai Weiwei have a desire to not just create art but to
do things in Chinese contemporary society,” he says. Xu Zhen would seem to have a similar impulse. But, he adds, “I
can only express my ideas through my artworks.” When asked directly if he wants to make a political statement with
his art, he answers, “No, I cannot. I would disappear.”
There are charges that Chinese collectors are using mainland
auction houses to boost prices and engage in widespread speculation, just as if they were trading in stocks or real
estate. Western collectors are also being accused of speculation, by artists who say they buy works cheap and then
sell them for ten times the original prices—and sometimes more.
Movies, television, and news
organizations are strictly censored, but on the whole, the visual arts are not.
“My sense is that wherever you have tremendous wealth creation, the collecting cycle goes through three phases,” he
says. “First, people collect their cultural patrimony, and then they collect their own contemporary art. I think the
final stage is when they gain a more globalized contemporary-art approach.”
Until now, few details have emerged about the manner and possible reasons for his death. Even
friends who knew him say they are still sifting for clues. He was depressed and drinking heavily, they
say, but was the source of his pain a recent heartbreak or something that stretched further back? He
was working furiously on several ambitious projects right up to the end, and some say he felt
enormous pressure to keep pace with his ideas and the art world's expectations of him. To a few, he
confided he was even struggling to keep faith in art itself, an existential crisis all its own for a man
who had always prized the pursuit of art above all else.
performance art was all about action: Vito Acconci rolling, naked, beneath a ramp in a gallery; Chris
Burden asking a friend to shoot his arm with a rifle. Kelley stood beside a houseplant and delivered
a frenetic 45-minute monologue about a man who was convinced that the plant was controlling his
thoughts. At the end, Kelley's character exacts revenge by ripping one of the plant's leaves. Several
members audibly gasped. "You couldn't see him perform without feeling invigorated and confused,"
says Oursler. "You realized you were caught up in a tide-pool of Freudian and Jungian misnomers
with a punk overtone to it all—he was chaos and utter brilliance."
THE EVOLUTION OF THE ARTIST STUDIO
The artist's work was carried out in
the bottega—the workroom—as opposed to the studiolo, a word that has the sense of a study, a room
for contemplation, which would be a separate space. Both were often housed in the same building.
Artists entered as apprentices, doing menial tasks until they proved themselves talented enough to
learn the art of their masters.
17th c northern Eur. The studio became a reflexive space,
19th c. mostly from Fr. en plein
air—literally "in open air."
to one of Koon's unpaid intern. Which really isn't bad: just think of it as the conetmporary parallel of an
apprenticeship in a Renaissance bottega.