I wish I could be Kehinde Wiley. He travels the world, walks the streets, asks young men to pose for him, photographs them and then creates exquisite paintings of them. In this exhibit at the Jewish Museum, he has over a dozen beautiful portraits of black and brown young men (Ethiopian Jews and Arab Israelis) living in Israel. The paintings are sensual and seductive, objectifying the male figure while simultaneously softening their
masculinity with colorful and refined backgrounds. I like how the background color is subtly infused in the reflections on the subject’s skin. Although all of the men have an attitude – he calls it a “gaze”, only Leviathan Zodiac really shows a gesture reminiscent
of his Passing/Posing, which is at the Brooklyn Museum. In the last room of the exhibit there is an 8-minute video/narrative by the artist, available on the museum’s website. Also displayed are Jewish papercut and textiles which were his inspiration for the backgrounds of his paintings. Recommended. Through July 29, 2012. Free on Saturdays.
Also recommended at the Jewish Museum, Composed: Identity, Politics, Sex. Through June 30, 2012.
(All images are linked directly from source websites and not copied).