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New World Portraiture

Kehinde Wiley

by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid

CARRY OUT THE FOUR MODERNISATIONS OF THE FATHERLAND, 2007, oil on canvas, 8 x 6 ft. Courtesy the artist and Deitch Projects.

Depicting young African-American men swathed in the accoutrements of nobility and power—excerpted from great European paintings—Kehinde Wiley shows us a vision of history juxtaposed with contemporary art’s unstable relationship to realism. Wiley’s grandiose portraits create a crisis of categories by providing a new context for traditional portraiture, as he works with the vernacular of hip-hop, sampling, collage and…

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