Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Kehinde Wiley: The Economy of Grace

The celebrated visual artist Kehinde Wiley recently brought his audacious, career-expanding "A New Republic" exhibit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I attended his artist talk and filed this report for Richmond Magazine:
"I don't enjoy fist-raising political work," artist Kehinde Wiley told the sellout crowd at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' Leslie Cheek Theater on Friday night. "My work, my passion, comes from a small gray area where we are all indicted."  
While establishment-challenging presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally in downtown Richmond, a more colorful, and subtle, revolution was happening at the state museum a few miles west — the opening of Wiley's stirring "A New Republic" exhibition, a stunning and large-scale assemblage of the prolific African-American artist's work that sends a shot across the bow of everything the VMFA and other museums are about. Wiley's lecture — his only planned public appearance in connection with the exhibition — was eloquent and biting at the same time.
"I'm playing with the museum culture as a color in my palette," he told the (largely white) crowd. "Art is such a guilded rose, this ivory tower that we participate in presupposes that exclusion adds value to the appreciation of the work." He'd like to reverse that.
Click here to read the rest of "The Economy of Grace"...

(Photo by Travis Fullerton / VMFA)

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