Kehinde Wiley (American, b.1977) is a painter best known for his naturalistic portraits of African American men in heroic poses. Born in Los Angeles, CA, he earned his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from the Yale University School of Art. Wiley’s early work consists of Photo-Realistic paintings of men, whom he had met on the streets in Harlem, set against a floral background. In all of his work, Wiley combines a wide range of references from classical painting and pop culture. He developed an early interest in portraiture and frescos, particularly the work of Venetian painters such as Titian (Italian, 1485–1576) and Giambattista Tiepolo (Italian, 1696–1770, and draws inspiration from French Rococo painting, Islamic architecture, African textile design, contemporary fashion, and urban hip hop. His painting Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps (2005), for example, imitates the well-known portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte by Jacques-Louis David. Wiley substitutes the figure of Napoleon with an anonymous African American model and sets him against a Rococo style background. Over the course of his career, the size of Wiley’s canvases have expanded, and he began depicting his subjects, young black models or music icons, in heroic defeat as well as triumph. In 2007, Wiley began his ongoing series titled The World Stage with portraits of black men that imitated Maoist propaganda posters. He has continued to travel through Africa, Brazil, India, and Sri Lanka, and paint portraits that incorporate the cultural imagery associated with these places. Wiley’s work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. He lives and works in Beijing, Dakar, and New York.

Timeline

1977
Born in Los Angeles, USA
1999
BFA, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, USA
2001
MFA, Yale University, New Haven, USA
2002
Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Recipient
2008
Americans for the Arts, Young Artist Award for Artistic Excellence
2010
USA Network, Character Approved Award
2011
Canteen Magazine, Artist of the Year Award; New York City Art Teachers Association/United Federation of Teachers, Artist of the Year Award
2012
Pratt Legend Award
Lives and works in New York, USA

Exhibitions

2015
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, USA (solo)
Sean Kelly, New York, USA (solo)
2014
Kehinde Wiley: Memling, Taft Museum, Cincinnati, USA (solo)
Roberts and Tilton, Culver City, USA (solo)
The Beautiful Game, Los Angeles Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
Face to Face, Wall to Wall, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, USA
2013
The World Stage: Jamaica, Stephen Freidman Gallery, London, England (solo)
The World Stage: Israel, Boise Art Museum, Boise, USA (solo)
30 Americans, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, USA
contemporary magic, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, USA
On Painting, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Kehinde Wiley: Memling, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, USA
Kehinde Wiley | The World Stage: Israel, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, USA
2012
An Economy of Grace, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
The World Stage: Israel, Jewish Museum, New York, USA (solo)
The World Stage: France 1880-1960, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, France (solo)
Looped, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, USA
The Human Touch: Selections from the RBC Wealth Management Art Collection, RedLine Gallery, Denver, USA
The Soul of a City: Memphis Collects African American Art, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, USA
30 Americans, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, USA
All I Want is a Picture of You, Angles Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
BAILA con Duende, Watts Towers Arts Center and Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center Campus, Los Angeles, USA
The Bearden Project, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA
The Human Touch: Selections from the RBC Wealth Management Collection, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, USA
2011
The World Stage: Israel, Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, USA (solo)
Human Nature: Contemporary Art from the Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA
30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
RE-Envisioning the Baroque, I.D.E.A. at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, USA
Who, What, Wear: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA
For a Long Time…, Roberts & Tilton, Santa Monica, USA
Capital Portraits: Treasures from Washington Private Collections 1730-2010, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Becoming: Photographs from the Wedge Collection, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC
Being American, School of Visual Arts, New York, USA
Parallel Perceptions, NYC Opera, New York, USA
Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip-Hop in Art, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, USA
2010
The World Stage: India-Sri Lanka, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
From Then to Now: Masterworks Contemporary African American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, USA
The Gleaners: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Sarah and Jim Taylor, Victoria H. Myhren Gallery, Denver, USA
Searching for the Heart of Black Identity: Art and the Contemporary African American Experience, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, USA
The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place, 176 Zabludowicz Collection, London, England
Individual to Icon: Portraits of the Famous and Almost Famous from Folk Art to Facebook, Plains Art Museum, Fargo, USA
Summer Surprises, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, USA
Wild Thing, Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, USA
Pattern ID, Akron Art Museum, Akron, USA
Personal Identities: Contemporary Portraits, Sonoma State University Art Gallery, Sonoma, USA
The Global Africa Project Exhibition, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, USA
2009
The World Stage: Africa, Lagos, ArtSpace, San Antonio, USA (solo)
The World Stage: Brazil, Roberts and Tilton, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Black Light, Deitch Projects, New York, USA (solo)
Reconfiguring the Body in American Art, 1820-2009, National Academy Museum, New York, USA
Creating Identity: Portraits Today, 21C Museum, Louisville, USA
Other People: Portraits from Grunwald and Hammer Collections, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
2008
Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary, National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.
FOCUS: Kehinde Wiley, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, USA
The World Stage: Africa, Dakar-Lagos, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA
Down, Deitch Projects, New York, USA
30 Americans, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA
Macrocosm, Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, USA
21: Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, USA
Selected Drawings, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, USA
2007
Commemorating 30 Years (1976-2007): Part Three (1991 – 2007), Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA
Portland Art Museum, Portland, USA
The World Stage: China, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, USA
Crossing the Line: African American Artists in the Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis Jr. Collection, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Orlando, USA
New York States of Mind, Queens Museum of Art, New York, USA
The Blake Byrne Collection, Nasher Museum of Contemporary Art, Duke University, Durham, USA
2006
Columbus, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
Infinite Mobility, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, USA (solo)
Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
Down By Law, Wrong Gallery at the Sondra Gilman Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
Do Not Stack, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, USA
Black Alphabet: ConTEXTS of Contemporary African-American Art, Zacheta, National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland
Hangar—7 Edition 4, Salzburg Airport, Salzburg, Austria
Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Relics and Remnants, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, New York, USA
2005
Rumors of War, Deitch Projects, New York, USA (solo)
WHITE, Conner Contemporary, Washington D.C. (solo)
BOUND, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis, USA (solo)
Relics and Remnants, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, New York, USA
Neovernacular, Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Maximum Flavor, ACA Gallery at Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, USA
Neo-Baroque / Tema Celeste, Verona, Italy
Wiley/Sabeen Raja: New Paintings, Conner Contemporary Art, Washington D.C.
2004
Eye of the Needle, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, USA
Passing/Posing: The Paintings of Kehinde Wiley, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, USA (solo)
Glory, Glamour & Gold, The Proposition, New York, USA
She’s Come Undone, Greenberg Van Doren, New York, USA
The New York Mets and Our National Pastime, Queens Museum of Art, Queens, USA
Beauty, Kravets + Wehby, New York, USA
African American Artists in Los Angeles: A Survey Exhibition, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Los Angeles, USA
Easter Realness, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
2003
Re: Figure, Guhlberg Gallery at College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, USA
Peripheries Become the Center, Prague Biennale 1, Galleria Nazionale Veletrzni Palac Dukelskych Hrdinu 47, Prague, Czech Republic
New Wave, Kravets Wehby Gallery, New York, USA
Faux/Real, Deitch Projects, New York, USA
Pictures at an Exhibition, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, USA
Superreal, Marella, Milan, Italy
2002
Passing/Posing, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, USA
Painting as Paradox, Artist Space, New York, USA
Mass Appeal, Gallery 101, Ottawa, Canada
Ironic/ Iconic, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA
Black Romantic, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA
2001
It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, Rush Arts, New York, USA

Public Collections

Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Kansas City Art Museum, Kansas City, MO
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

Literature

2006
Berwick, Carly, The New York Sun, March 9, 2006
2006
Mason, Christopher, Whitewall Magazine, Premier Issue March 2006
2006
Colman, David, Elle Décor Magazine, March 2006
2005
Golden, Thelma, Interview Magazine, October 2005
2005
Lewis, Sarah, De(i)fying the Masters, Art in America, April 2005
2005
Kehinde Wiley, Top Ten, ArtForum, April 2005
2005
Detrick, Ben, Paint it Black, Complex Magazine, April/ May 2005
2005
Golfar, Fiona, A Season for All Women: Ilona Rich, British Vogue, April 2005
2005
Wood, Eve, Kehinde Wiley Brooklyn Museum review, Flash Art, Jan-Feb 2005
2004
Fineman, Mia, The History of Art, in Baggy Jean and Bomber Jackets, New York Times, Arts & Leisure, December 19, 2004
2004
Brew-Hammond, Nana Ekua, It’s Bigger than hip-hop, METRO, NY Edition, December 21, 2004
2004
Kehinde Wiley, Museums Magazine Special Edition, 2004
2004
McGee, Celia, Artist going for Baroque on Harlem, New York, Daily News, October 7, 2004
2004
Gonzales, Michael A., Kehinde Wiley: Urban Baroque, Essence Magazine, November 2004
2004
Mwangaguhunga, Ron, Two new shows on the color line, New York Magazine, Sept. 13, 2004
2004
Walker, Dionne, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Black Man: Kehinde Wiley, BET.com, September 2004
2004
Korot, Joyce B., The Neo-Baroque Era, Tema Celeste, Italy, New York, Issue No. 104
2004
Fashion Issue, Black Book Magazine, New York, Fall 2004
2004
Interview with Kehinde Wiley, Loyal Magazine, Stockholm, New York, Issue No. 8
2004
Fitch, Elizabeth, A Portrait of artist Kehinde Wiley, Amsterdam News, Vol.95, No.29/ July
2004
Kehinde Wiley: Prince of Hip Hop Portraiture, SEULE Magazine, Summer 2004
2004
Hawkins, Margaret. "Gallery Glance: Kehinde Wiley." Chicago Sun Times, May 21
2004
Warsh, Larry. "Kehinde Wiley/ Museums Collect." Museums New York, Spring 2004 Issue
2003
Murray, Derek. "Ironic/Iconic." Art in America, March Issue 2003
2003
Kerr, Merrily. "New Wave." Flash Art, March/ April 2003
2003
Cohen, Mark Daniel. "Real Art Ways." Hartford Current 2003
2003
Kim, Christine Y. “Kehinde Wiley Faux Real.” Issue Magazine, December
2003
Myers, Holly. “Scenes far, far out of Tiepolo.” Los Angeles Times, November 7
2003
Wood, Eve. “Acerbic Beauty.” Artnet.com, October
2003
Thompson, Bonsu. “Benefit II Society.” King Magazine, September-October
2003
Stillman, Nick. “Art Seen.” The Brooklyn Rail, August-September
2003
Sirmans, Franklin. “A Bling Bling Baroque.” One World Magazine, August-September.
2003
Weisen, Barbara. “Re: Figure.” College of DuPage, The Guhlberg Gallery, April 3-May 22.
2003
Jackson, Brian Keith. “B-Boy Stance.” Vibe, August
2003
Cortez, Jaime. “Corpus No.1, An HIV Prevention Publication.” APLA, Los Angeles
2003
Stein, Lisa. “Re: Figure Plays With Figurative Painting.” Chicago Tribune, May 5
2002
Plagens, Peter. "Kitsch as Kitsch Can." News Week, May 6, 2002
2002
Gessell, Paul. "At the Hip Hop." Ottawa Citizen, August 30, 2002
2002
Euteneier, Anita. "Hip Hop Appeal." Express, August 29, 2002
2002
Foster, Tonya. "(Re)Direct(ing) Light: Black is and Black Ain’t." Representations, ArtsWire Current, Summer 2002
2002
Samuel Menin & Michele Robecchi. "Focus Painting." Flash Art, October, 2002
2002
Cotter, Holland. "Ironic/Iconic." The New York Times, August 7, 2002
2002
Yablonsky, Linda. "Failing in Love." Time Out Magazine, May 9, 2002
2002
Kimmelman, Michael. " A Black World of Ins and Outs."
2002
The New York Times,April 26, 2002
2002
Saltz, Jerry. "A World Apart." Artnet.com. May 8, 2002
2002
Ross, Andrew. "Andrew Ross on Black Romantic." Art Forum, April 2002
2001
McKanic, Arlene."Death, Pain, Anger, Redemption: It’s Bigger than Hip Hop." Greenwich Village Gazette