Kehinde Wiley Here and Around Town


Kehinde Wiley (American, b. 1977). Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, 2005. Oil on canvas. Collection of Suzi and Andrew B. Cohen, L2005.6. Photo taken in the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Lobby of the Brooklyn Museum courtesy rubykhan via Flickr.

If the large equestrian portrait in the Brooklyn Museum lobby didn’t catch your eye, you need to look again. It’s a portrait by Kehinde Wiley imitating the posture of Napoleon Bonaparte in Jacques-Louis David’s painting “Bonaparte Crossing the Alps at Grand-Saint-Bernard.” Wiley substitutes powerful figures drawn from seventeen century Western art with anonymous young Black man dressed in contemporary clothing.


In the last few years, Wiley has lived and worked in different countries around the world appropriating local influences. This is evident in his current show entitled The World Stage: Africa, Lagos – Dakar now on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem (July 17th – October 26th, 2008). It definitely a must see for this summer.

Don’t miss out on seeing more work by Wiley in our upcoming Fall exhibition entitled 21: Selections of Contemporary Art from the Brooklyn Museum.