Kehinde Wiley

Time has released its annual “Time 100” list, which brings together a group of the most influential artists, leaders, and pioneers each year. The 2018 list includes several notable members for the world of art and architecture.

Among those who appear on the list is Kehinde Wiley, the artist who painted the official portrait of Barack Obama, which was unveiled earlier this year at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Kehinde Wiley (born February 28, 1977) is an American portrait painter based in New York City, who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of black people. The Columbus Museum of Art, which hosted an exhibition of his work in 2007, describes his work as follows: “Wiley has gained recent acclaim for his heroic portraits which address the image and status of young African-American men in contemporary culture.

Kehinde Wiley, Portrait Artist, New York

LL Cool J – Time 100 Review

Here’s how LL Cool J, an American hip hop recording artist, rapper, musician and actor, reflects on the visual artist Kehinde Wiley:

Kehinde Wiley is a classically, formally trained artist who is transforming the way African Americans are seen—going against the grain of what the world is accustomed to. Some consider him irreverent; I see an iconoclast. Some of his subjects come from hip-hop culture, but he’s not a hip-hop painter. To put it simply, he does dope sh-t.

Kehinde has an MFA from Yale, but instead of using his art to assimilate into mainstream society, he goes minorstream, creating major works that outpace that of the majority of his contemporaries. When you see a Kehinde Wiley painting, you recognize it. He has created a visual brand that remains artistically fresh. And his many paintings in the Smithsonian—including one of me and one of former President Obama—speak to his creative genius.

Portrait of Barack Obama

In October 2017, it was announced that Wiley had been chosen by Barack Obama to paint an official portrait of the former president to appear in Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery “America’s Presidents” exhibition. The painting depicts Obama sitting in a chair seemingly floating among foliage.

Reacting to the unveiling of his portrait Obama said: “How about that? That’s pretty sharp”. The Washington Post described the painting as “not what you’d expect and that’s why it’s great”.

Together with Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama, the paintings were first exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery on February 12, 2018. Both portraits mark the first time two African-American artists were commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery. > Source: Wikipedia

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