Through September 5 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, enter the revolutionary world of Kehinde Wiley. Through a technique he developed known as street casting, he takes to the city sidewalks and makes models of everyday people. Once he brings these models to his studios, they strike statuesque poses based on renaissance paintings.
Wiley revisions those paintings to shed a new light on our own modern state of affairs. He replaces the European aristocratic with contemporary black and brown subjects. “Painting is about the world we live in. Black people live in the world. My choice is to include them. This is my way of saying yes to us,” Wiley says in his artist statement.
“A New Republic” is the name given to the exhibit of more than 60 paintings and sculptures by the artist. Throughout the exhibit at the VMFA, he draws attention to the absence of African Americans from historical narratives. Curated by the Brooklyn Museum, this is the first retrospective of his eye-opening 15-year career.
Once you finish the exhibit, take a moment to explore the VMFA’s new interactive Art Lounge — museum catalogues, takeaway postcards, and touchscreen kiosks provide additional opportunity to reflect on Wiley.