When it comes to art, I usually stick with the classics like Goya, Degas, and Picasso. Rarely do I entertain modern art – partly because I just don’t understand it – but was surprised by how much Kehinde Wiley’s latest exhibition moved me.
Jess took me to the Brooklyn Museum a few weekends ago and before the big Anna Holmes (Jezebel) and Gevinson (Rookie) talk, we ambled about and found ourselves amongst Kehinde’s towering paintings. I was moved. I still can’t quite put my finger on what moved me so, but perhaps it was the stark reality and acceptance that I was seeing “people like me” or people I recognize from my past in such juxtaposing backgrounds of the classic paintings I am used to enjoying.
My favorite collection of his was in “An Economy of Grace” and within it the particular painting, “Princess Victorie of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.” You see, he models his paintings from existing classics (like the 1839 version by Sir Edwin Landseer) and inserts modern, black protagonists in them. It’s great. And sad at the same time for I never knew that “we/me” could exist in such a way.
His works are on display at the Brooklyn Museum til May and they’re worth checking out.