Though Kehinde Wiley is best known for his portraits of African American men in contemporary clothes, posed in stances drawn from paintings of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, here he shifts from painting to sculpture. In both the lift and turn of the young man’s head and the open V of his zippered collar, this bronze references an eighteenth-century marble bust by Jean-Antoine Houdon (see illustration). In substituting male for female, black for white, and present for past, Wiley upends the earlier sculpture even as he quotes it. His interpretation encourages us to acknowledge the limitations and assumptions of representation and provokes a reconsideration of both stereotype and portraiture.
Bronze with polished stone base
34 x 26 x 19 in. (86.4 x 66 x 48.3 cm)
153 lb. (69.4kg) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Frank L. Babbott Fund and A. Augustus Healy Fund
© artist or artist's estate
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Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977). Houdon Paul-Louis, 2011. Bronze with polished stone base, 34 x 26 x 19 in. (86.4 x 66 x 48.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund and A. Augustus Healy Fund, 2012.51. © artist or artist's estate
front, 2012.51_front_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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