Kehinde Wiley's "works" replace European art subjects with ghetto thugs. European Americans United Board of Directors responds, letter below.
Gaile Robinson is the Star-Telegram art and design critic, 817-390-7113
Black faces are rarely seen on the walls of art museums. Contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley is singlehandedly changing that. His paintings that marry historical portraits of popes, emperors and saints and replace the decrepit old white guys with handsome young African-American men in the same poses are changing the demographics of art-museum representation.
Three of his large, arresting portraits of street toughs dressed in sagging jeans and hoodies posed on horses like conquering heroes are hanging on the walls of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It's one of the most dynamic "Focus" shows in the Modern's history.
Wiley's subjects look down from the walls with imperious expression. On the street, they would look dangerous, but on canvas, the proud bearing and haughtiness mimics that of the original sitters. No one is reaching out to this disenfranchised group to include them in the art canon the way Wiley does.
For his Texas debut, Wiley chose three of his monumental equestrian works. Their titles reference three obscure original works titled Colonel Platoff on his Charger, Prince Tommaso Francesco of Savoy and The Chancellor Seguier on Horseback.
At a museum party Friday night (after this story went to press), they were to be greeted with a fanfare provided by the Trimble Tech marching band, a performance of music by current hip-hop artists. This is typical of a Wiley first night; he includes the musical preferences of his sitters played by musicians their age. "I like to have fun with my shows," Wiley said in a National Public Radio interview, "to get rid of the high seriousness with the art."
Hello Ms. Robinson;
There is a good reason why Black faces are rarely seen on the walls of art museums. It is because Blacks have contributed scant little to the art world, other than rap, graffiti, ill fitting clothing, and “imperious” facial expressions. Consequently, this manifestation of Black vanity seemingly has to be remedied by hijacking wonderful European derived works of true art. By diminishing white Western art this alleged “artist” has merely accomplished what Blacks bring about regularly in the political and social realm of American life: dragging everything around them down to the lowest common denominator for the sake of unattainable equality.
Blacks have never separately adopted values (that we take for granted in the West and in America) that results in truly great art. It is, at the very least, a logical assumption that Black Americans are not capable of internalizing these values without a substantial push on the right course by white people. So clearly it is at least a realistic certainty that European derived people are the race that Blacks can least afford to marginalize. Aside from that your intrepid artist, Wiley, seems to have inadequacy issues about his own race.
Us decrepit old (and young) white guys you disdain so openly (and safely) can clearly recognize supremacist and hate-filled rhetoric such as yours quite easily, since we are starting to see more and more of it in tabloids like the one that, for now, employs you.
Board of Directors, European Americans United