Photo: Ka-Man Tse for Times Square Arts Kehinde Wiley recently offered his first public work with the unveiling of "Rumors of War," a bronze sculpture first shown at Times Square in New York City. The piece was commissioned by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and will eventually be installed there. The work, with its contemporary African-American subject, stands in contrast to the Confederate statues that still populate the state that will serve as its permanent home. Wiley was our cover artist for Hi-Fructose Vol. 36.
Four months after it was announced that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald would be painting the presidential portraits for former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, the pieces have been unveiled. Wiley, who was the cover artist for Hi-Fructose Vol. 36, debuted a characteristically vibrant and absorbing portrait for the 44th President of the United States, seated against an overgrowth of flowers and foliage. Sherald’s striking painting of the former first lady implemented a dress with a design reminiscent of the work of Dutch abstract painter Piet Mondrian. Sherald was last mentioned on HiFructose.com here.
Our 36th volume of Hi-Fructose New Contemporary Art Magazine arrives in July! Featured in our next print issue is: a major feature on art pioneer Robert Williams, the colorful installations of Pip & Pop, a review of cover artist Kehinde Wiley's new monograph, Erin M. Riley's embroidered selfies, Chiho Aoshima's solo exhibition in Seattle, Cinta Vidal Agullo's mesmerizing paintings, new works from Portland artist Blaine Fontana, the paintings of Mike Davis, a thought provoking article on the art and travels of street artist Swoon, plus reviews on the Sick Rose; featuring medical illustrations from tester-year and much more! Also, We're thrilled to present this issue's special 16-page insert section featuring Winnie Truong's beautifully strange color pencil drawings, all in one issue!
Kehinde Wiley’s larger-than-life paintings (featured in HF Vol. 29) insert black and brown individuals into the typically all-white history of Western portraiture. His subjects, a majority of whom are urban males, are cast in poses that assertively beckon old master paintings of European kings and emperors. Some gallantly ride horses, while others don regalia. All figures peer commandingly at the viewer in Wiley’s 14-year survey “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum.
On January 21, Kehinde Wiley was honored with the United States Department of State Medal of the Arts for his contributions to the White House's cultural diplomacy outreach. Wiley's opulent paintings (featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29) are known for sparking conversations surrounding race, colonialism, and the art historical canon. He has traveled the world to paint people of various African diasporic communities (see our coverage of his last solo show, "The World Stage: Haiti," here).
The current art market in the Bay Area is precarious. Two of the City's three major art fairs disappeared last spring, galleries are getting evicted and artists are leaving due to unimpressive sales and rising rents. Curators from San Francisco and Oakland alike are racking their brains about how to appeal to the growing class of Twitterati. There is a disconnect between the Bay Area's influx of wealth and its art. Tucked away in suburban San Mateo, just south of SF, Art Silicon Valley was envisioned as a fair that would entice the tech elite. With Maserati as a sponsor and only high-end galleries allowed, this was the glitzy answer to DIY endeavors that have been popping up recently (like Art Beats, covered here).
Kehinde Wiley's (Hi-Fructose Vol. 29) opulent portraiture subtly stirs the status quo. As an American artist, Wiley honed his craft in accordance with a legacy of Euro-centric art history that left him simultaneously awed and alienated. One would be hard-pressed to find a grandiose portrait of a person of color in the works of the Renaissance masters in the Met or the Louvre. This is the motivating factor of Wiley's oeuvre: to elevate images of average people of African descent through his ornate depictions, exposing the singular beauty of his subjects through dramatic compositions that evoke the Baroque period.