Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic at the Brooklyn Museum

Bound sculpture by Kehinde WIley

If you’ve followed my blog for a while then you know that I love the Brooklyn Museum Target First Saturdays and this event was no different, in fact, it was a big two for one in my case. The Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic exhibition was going strong and it was the first day of the Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks show. The Target First Saturdays events are an extremely popular happening every month, well attended, and a place to be seen by bloggers, fashionistas and the like  (all the cool kids). It gives people who avoid museums regularly an easier way to digest all the art with a backdrop of music, food, movies, and crafts.

Kehinde Wiley is an artist who works in multiple mediums. He paints, sculpts and constructs stained glass windows. His subjects are people of color all around the world, usually young people and putting them against Technicolor backgrounds. He uses early American paintings as the basis for reinventing them into modern works with modern scenes. This exhibition is my favorite so far this year! It was so crowded and had to take angled pictures because so many kept walking in front of the camera, so I hope that doesn’t keep you from enjoying the paintings.The exhibition will be at the Brooklyn Museum until May 24th.

Equestrian Portrait of King Phillip II (Michael Jackson) #KehindeWiley
Equestrian Portrait of King Phillip II (Michael Jackson) #KehindeWiley

Look at the size of this canvas!! Notice the woman standing next to it, its massive! It is one of the bigger pieces but definitely not the biggest in this collection.

Morpheus #KehindeWiley
Morpheus #KehindeWiley 100in. X 300in.

The paintings are layered with oil paints, enamel and gold leaf. The way it is painted the painting is almost three-dimensional.

Willem Van Heythuysen #KehindeWiley
Willem Van Heythuysen Oil and Enamel on Canvas #KehindeWiley
Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps, oil on canvas #KehindeWiley
Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps, oil on canvas #KehindeWiley

Army fatigues and going to war on a majestic stead, awesome new interpretation of a two-hundred-year-old painting leading the troops on to their deaths.

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The artist, Kehinde Wiley explains his exhibit at the museum in his own words.

I was blown away by this show, I have to admit that I was let down by the Basquiat exhibit. I’m not sure I can appreciate how abstract it was. I must be limited in my creativity to understand his message. The exhibition is mostly previously unknown works taken from his notebooks that were found after his death. He was an untrained artist who mainly focused on racism and inequalities between the privileged and the poor and how the poor were taken advantaged of in modern life. He was influenced by the beginnings of hip-hop and graffiti. He was a common fixture on the music scene in New York because some of his works were composed while listening to favorite songs. The exhibition is at the museum until August 23rd.

Famous Negro Athletes , Basquiat Unknown Notebooks
Famous Negro Athletes, Basquiat Unknown Notebooks

I had to be pulled out of the museum as usual, even though my feet were killing me and my eyes blurry. Do you enjoy the museums in your town and what kind of art calls out to you? I’d love to hear about it.


Until our next rendezvous…


Rendezvous en New York

8 thoughts on “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic at the Brooklyn Museum

  1. Beautiful artwork Trudy. If I ever get to New York the museums will be the first thing I hit! Believe it or not there is a fishing museum in Destin – 10 minutes from me – I want to visit. H has lived here all his life and knows all there is to know, but I haven’t. I am dragging him there this summer! ~Elle

    1. Thank you! Yes the museums are great and there are so many. Also many have free days every week /month. Do you fish?

  2. Such a funny way of reinterpreting the “classics”! I love Art nouveau and Jugendstil, we have a big Klimt exhibition here in Paris that I have wished to attend to but… perhaps in June, because now is time for a well deserved holiday! Enjoy museums.

    1. Kehinde Wiley didn’t find positive representation of people of color in modern art, so he made them and made them beautifully! I’m glad this made you want to see more art, it also did that for me as well. I hope I get to see that post from you!

      1. Yes, perhaps a post about paintings! In the meantime, are you interested in Islamic Art? I have recently published a post about my visit to the (big) Mosque of Paris, an exceptional monument dating back to the end of World War II.

  3. No matter what you think of the art, the art itself is amazing and magical…the work that goes into is wondrous. found you on Inspire Me Mondays

What do you think? I would like to know.

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