Kehinde Wiley

Selected works

Born in 1977 in Los Angeles, Kehinde Wiley lives and works in New York. Examining issues of racial and sexual identity, his works create collisions where art history and street culture come face to face. The artist makes eroticised heroes of the invisible, those traditionally banished from representations of power. His work reinterprets the vocabulary of power and prestige, part politically-charged critique, part an avowed fascination with the luxury and bombast of Western symbols of male domination.

Venice Biennale - An Archaeology of Silence

Curated by Christophe Leribault, the exhibition Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence is hosted at Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the occasion of the 59th Biennale di Venezia. 

For this new body of work, Wiley has expanded these core thematic elements to meditate on the deaths of young Black men slain all over the world. Technology allows viewers to witness these graphic depictions of violence against the Black body that were once silenced. Wiley states, “That is the archaeology I am unearthing: The spectre of police violence and state control over the bodies of young Black and Brown people all over the world.” In light of the current global conflicts, language concerning power struggles and inalienable human rights are more critical than ever.

Kehinde Wiley - An Archaeology of Silence

Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Italy

From April 23 to July 24, 2022



For his first collaboration with a major UK gallery, The National Gallery, Wiley will depart from portraiture to explore artistic conventions and modes of representation in the European landscape tradition through the media of film and painting. Wiley’s first film installation, Narrenschiff (2017), was a contemporary response to the Ship of Fools theme, popular in European culture from the late 15th century. It featured a group of young Black men at sea, struggling to reach the land – a metaphor for both historical and contemporary histories of migration and social dislocation. Building on these themes at the National Gallery, Wiley will explore European Romanticism and its focus on epic scenes of oceans and mountains, and humankind’s relationship with nature. The film included in this project will feature Black Londoners that Wiley met and cast for the film on the streets around the National Gallery.

Winter 2021

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London


The Obama Portraits Tour - Traveling exhibition

Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of Mrs. Michelle Obama unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in February 2018 will travel to five cities across the U.S as part of The Obama Portraits Tour organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to the artworks themselves, the tour will feature audiovisual elements, educational workshops, curatorial presentations, and a richly illustrated book The Obama Portraits (2020) co-published by the National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press and select merchandise will also be available. This special presentation will exchange the conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and its potential to engage communities.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago: from June 18 to August 15, 2021

Brooklyn Museum, New-York: from August 27 to October 24, 2021

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles: from November 5, 2021 to January 2, 2022

High Museum of Art, Atlanta: from January 14 to March 13, 2022

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: from March 27 to May 30, 2022


New acquisition – Saint Adelaide, 2014

It is the first stained glass artwork designed by Kehinde Wiley to enter a public art collection in the world. The title and pose of Saint Adelaide derives from an original 19th century stained glass window depicting the 10th century saint and consort of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I in the Royal Chapel of St Ferdinand, Paris. In Wiley’s stained glass artwork, the figure of the female saint is substituted for Brooklyn model Mark Shavers - a young black man wearing pale jeans, a stripy jumper and gold trainers, with a fur around his neck.
It is one of three stained glass artworks (Saint Adelaide, Saint Remi and Saint Amelie) inspired by historic stained glass in this chapel designed by French painter Jean Auguste-Dominque-Ingres and made at Sèvres.

The Stained Glass Museum

South Triforium, Ely, Cambridgeshire (UK)

Kehinde Wiley, Go – permanente installation

The new Moynihan train hall (New York, USA) features three ambitious site-specific permanent installations by artists Kehinde Wiley, Stan Douglas and Elmgreen & Dragset. On view on the 33rd Street mid-block entryway ceiling, Wiley’s site-specific installation Go (2020), covers the ceiling of the train hall’s with a backlit, hand-painted, stained-glass triptych that recalls the grandeur of decorative Renaissance and Baroque painting.

The Moynihan Train Hall, Penn Station, New York

From January 1, 2021

Memling Now : Hans Memling in contemporary art– group show

To pay tribute to Belgium artist, Hans Memling,  Brudgge Musea organized the first exhibition that highlights his influences. Being one of the most significant painters of the Burgundian Bruges genre, his work inspired a lot of contemporary artists such as African-American painter Kehinde Wiley.

From October 1 to February 1, 2021

Sint-Janhospital,  Mariastraat 38, Brugge 8000, Belgium


SHIP OF FOOLS – Solo show

The exhibition Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools is curated by The Box in partnership with The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth and Royal Museums Greenwich. Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools), 2017 by Kehinde Wiley is a three-screen digital film projection that produces an immersive experience for the viewer. The film provides a portrait of a group of young black men at sea, struggling to reach the land - a metaphor for both historical and contemporary histories of migration and social dislocation.

From September 29, 2020  to January 24, 2021

The Box, Tavistock Place, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AX


Peintre de l’épopée – solo show

From July 10th to November 1st 2020, the Centre d’Art de La Malmaison on the Croisette welcomes one of today’s most sought after international stars, the American artist Kehinde Wiley. The Centre d’Art la Malmaison unveils over 20 epic works, representative of the vast vocabulary that has guided the artist’s work for more than a decade.

Drawing his inspiration from the Old Masters, from Titian and Gainsborough to Van Dyck and Ingres, Wiley presents a uniquely political and aesthetic perspective, making visible history’s invisible figures, allowing the viewer to engage with the notions of perception as it pertains to power and place.llKehinde Wiley has traversed the world since 2006 as part of his The World Stage series, whereby organizing local studios and utilizing street casting of denizens from the favelas of Rio to the cramped streets of New Dehli. He uses chance encounters with young Black and brown men and women to create Baroque portraits, brimming with the vestiges and fanfare of the Old Masters. Kehinde Wiley is a descendent of that long line of portraitists. He offers reinterpretations of traditional easel painting vernacular, instilling power and prestige onto the young men and women who are rarely viewed as such.llDelving into the issues of racial and sexual identity, Kehinde Wiley’s works create unexpected conversations where art history and Black culture emerge fluidly. The artist brings to the forefront those who have historically been banished from the halls of power and the access found therein. His politically charged work is an investigation of race, representation, privilege, and excess. They are an indictment on history and who determines its definition.llThrough this majestic retrospective, the first in France, one can fathom how a vast body of work can both question and participate in the Western art historical canon of portraiture. Kehinde Wiley invites us, we Europeans, to rediscover a painting whose artistic intensity we have, perhaps, forgotten at a time when the continent is experiencing an identity crises that is continuously evolving. Welcoming such a monographic exhibition to Cannes, Kehinde Wiley materializes the international aspirations the city has regarding the importance of contemporary art.

From July 10 to Novembre 01, 2020

Centre d'art La Malmaison, 47 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes


Kehinde Wiley: The Yellow Wallpaper, Solo show

Kehinde Wiley’s upcoming show Kehinde Wiley: The Yellow Wallpaper at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, north east London, is the first solo exhibition of new work shown by Wiley at a public institution in the UK. It will be also the first Wiley’s exhibition to feature exclusively female portraits: Wiley’s striking subjects are women the artist encountered on the streets of Dalston, east London.

William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, UK

From February 22 to May 25, 2020


Kehinde Wiley’s appointment as Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

On the occasion of the opening celebration for Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley at the Brooklyn Museum, NY, Kehinde Wiley will be the protagonist of an intimate ceremony where he will be presented with the insignia of Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Brooklyn Museum, New York, US

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Photo © Tony Powell


TELL ME YOUR STORY – group show

For the first time in Europe: 100 years of African American art based on storytelling. The exhibition explores the visual richness of black culture in Kunsthal KAdE through the works of 50 African American artists, such as popular Kehinde Wiley.
Tell Me Your Story focuses on five chronological periods: the Harlem Renaissance, Post Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights, Black Renaissance and the Bloom Generation. The artists in each of these distinct periods shared one common characteristic: the need to express themselves and safeguard the vital African tradition of storytelling.

From February 8 to August 30, 2020

Kunsthal KAdE, Eemplein 77, 3812 EA, Amersfoort, Dutchland


Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley– Solo show

Kehinde Wiley’s triumphant Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps (2005), a hallmark of the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, comes face to face with the nineteenth-century painting on which it is based: Jacques-Louis David’s Bonaparte Crossing the Alps (1800–1). Seen together, the works by David and Wiley reveal how race, masculinity, power, and representation layer onto portraiture and shape the writing of history. 

Brooklyn Museum, New York, United States

January 24–May 10, 2020


Rumors of War – Public art

Kehinde Wiley’s sculpture Rumors of War was permanently installed on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia’s capital city . The statue dominates the square in front of the Virgina Museum of Fine Arts, not far from one of the country’s most prominent displays of Confederate monuments.

From 10 December, 2019


Icons: Worship and Adoration / 30 Americans / Afrocosmologies: American Reflections – Group show

Kehinde Wiley is currently taking part in three group exhibitions in different parts of the world. In the United States with American Reflections at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut ; 30 Americans at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia; and in Germany with Icons - Worship and Adoration at the Kunsthalle in Bremen.

Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, Germany
October 19, 2019 - March 1, 2020

Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, USA
From October 27, 2019 – January 12, 2020

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, USA
From October 19, 2019 – January 20, 2020

Kehinde Wiley rencontre Jacques Louis David - Solo show

Malmaison Castle and the Brooklyn Museum announce a co curated exhibition of the First Consul crossing the Alps at the Great Saint Bernard Pass, Napoleon's famous representation of Napoleon painted by Jacques-Louis David in 1800, and his contemporary reinterpretation by the American artist Kehinde Wiley.

From 09/10/2019 to 06/01/2020


Rumors of War – Kehinde Wiley's installation

Late September, Kehinde Wiley has unveiled a bronze sculpture of an African American man riding a horse in the center of Times Square at Broadway Plaza . Titled Rumors of War, the statue references controversial Confederate War monuments that still stand in Richmond, Virginia, over a century after they were erected.

September 27 – December 1, 2019


Comeback. Art Historical Renaissance in Contemporary Art - Group show

Art history is making a comeback in the visual arts. Artists not only copy and appropriate paintings from bygone eras, but also respond more freely and playfully to the "mnemic energies" (Aby Warburg) stored in ancient works. More and more frequently, they try to summon up the collective heritage through performative strategies as well as through photographic and cinematic media.

From 20/07/2019 to 10/11/2019


IncarNations, African art as philosphy - Group show

IncarNations is an exhibition designed by South African artist Kendell Geers in dialogue with Congolese collector Sindika Dokolo. An exciting initiative that reflects the diversity of African aesthetic heritage, stripped of any Eurocentric prism and including the influence of diasporas, slave routes, colonialism or independence movements. From the impressive collection of Sindika Dokolo, the productions of African artists resonate with those of the diaspora while contemporary works of art will be presented alongside classical works, finally opening the way to the unveiling of African art, understood as a living philosophical practice.

From 28/06/2019 to 06/10/2019


"Street Dreams: how hip hop took over fashion" - Group show

In collaboration with the HipHopHuis and guest curator Lee Stuart, the Kunsthal Rotterdam presents an exhibition about hip-hop and its influence on fashion and lifestyle. Streetwear is dictating the speed and aesthetics of the fashion industry and changing how that industry is developing itself.

The exhibition ‘Street Dreams. How Hiphop took over Fashion’ shows the looks, the codes and the creative energy of hip-hop.

From 15/06/2019 to 15/09/2019


Kehinde Wiley at Zeitz MOCCA

American artist Kehinde Wiley is part of the inaugural collection at the newly opened  Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) in Cape Town, the biggest museum in Africa.

Zeitz MOCAA, South Africa
From 22/09/2017


A New Republic - solo show

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents an overview of the artist’s career. The exhibition highlights the range of Wiley’s production, starting with examples of early paintings executed around the time of his 2001 residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem

The exhibition will also include a selection from his ongoing World Stage project, which he initiated in 2006 by establishing a satellite studio in Beijing, China. In addition, the exhibition will include portrait busts, stained glass, as well as female portraiture from Wiley’s recent series An Economy of Grace.

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic is organized by the Brooklyn Museum. Oklahoma City will be the final stop on the tour that has included Texas, Washington, Virginia, Arizona, and Ohio.


From 6/17/2017 to 9/10/2017

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