African American Art, African American History, Black Art, African American Artist, President Obama, Presidential Painting, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Kehinde Wiley on Painting the Powerless. And a President. | The New York Times LONDON — Early next year, a portrait of Barack Obama will go up on the walls of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, produced by an artist who was chosen by Mr. Obama himself in the closing months of his presidency.



The artist, Kehinde Wiley, is known for picturing young black people in stylized portraits that are deliberate throwbacks to earlier traditions of painting. His “Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps” (2005) shows a young man in hiking boots and camouflage riding a rearing stallion the way the French emperor does in an early-1800s painting by Jacques-Louis David. In the 2010 “Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II (Michael Jackson),” the pop superstar Jackson, in a cape and elaborate armor, mimics the monarch in the Rubens work it references.

So will Mr. Obama be depicted on horseback, wearing breeches and a plumed hat? Mr. Wiley said he had been sworn to secrecy by the National Portrait Gallery. “I wish I could say more,” he added in an interview at the Stephen Friedman Gallery here, where he has a new solo show. He indicated that he was hard at work on the portrait, saying there had been “so many different iterations” of it.

African American Art, African American History, Black Art, African American Artist, President Obama, Presidential Painting, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNAlgorna_Study_II | Kehinde Wiley

African American Art, African American History, Black Art, African American Artist, President Obama, Presidential Painting, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNQuinn, Actor | Kehinde Wiley

African American Art, African American History, Black Art, African American Artist, President Obama, Presidential Painting, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNTriple Portrait of Charles II | Kehinde Wiley


NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).