The World Stage Brazil, 2010
Pages: 64 pages / 40 color images
English and Portuguese
Size: 8.75 x 11.5 inches
Text: Brian Keith Jackson, Kimberly Cleveland, Ph.D.
Publisher: Roberts & Tilton
The World Stage Brazil, 2010
This volume includes a selection of 22 new portrait paintings from Kehinde Wiley's multinational World Stage series, which has included Africa, China and India in the past and now moves on to Brazil.
Immersing himself in the local culture of Rio de Janeiro, Wiley incorporates the people, history and aesthetic of the city in each of his monumental male portraits. His models, chosen from the favela slums, reflect historically significant public sculptures found within the city. Oversize tropical flowers in full bloom, appropriated from Brazilian textiles, inundate the work with saturated, brightly hued colors suggestive of Brazilian exoticism. Likening African-descended, young Brazilian males to canonical figures from Western art history as well as Brazilian public monuments, Wiley renders masculinity both august and noble.
Text by Brian Keith Jackson, Kimberly Cleveland, Ph.D. This publication accompanies the exhibition Kehinde Wiley: The World Stage: Brazil at Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California (April 4 – May 30, 2009).
Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist, Kehinde Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley, engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men found throughout the world.
By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, history, wealth and prestige to the subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, the subjects and stylistic references for his paintings are juxtaposed inversions of each other, forcing ambiguity and provocative perplexity to pervade his imagery.
Wiley’s larger than life figures disturb and interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality as it pertains to the view of black and brown young men.
Initially, Wiley’s portraits were based on photographs taken of young men found on the streets of Harlem. As his practice grew, his eye led him toward an international view, including models found in urban landscapes throughout the world – such as Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro, among others – accumulating to a vast body of work called, “The World Stage.”
The models, dressed in their everyday clothing most of which are based on the notion of far-reaching Western ideals of style, are asked to...Read more
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