Kelly Cahn, Director, Private Sales has selected Kehinde Wiley’s Portrait of Kerry James Marshall, La Lectura, 2017 for #StaffPicksSaturday. "I’ve always been incredibly drawn to Kehinde Wiley’s work because of the way it challenges traditional conventions of glorification. In the present moment especially, I think it’s incredibly important to question who history painting is heroizing and ask if those images are still appropriate today.
In Kehinde Wiley’s work, we see Black men and women presented on a scale and in compositions reminiscent of heroic history painting. Portrait of Kerry James Marshall, La Lectura, a 2017 work from the Trickster series, takes Francisco Goya’s La Lectura as its point of departure. La Lectura is one of Goya’s black paintings, a group of fourteen works painted late in the artist’s life that reflect a fear of insanity and haunting outlook on humanity. Goya’s work depicts a group of six men, thought to be politicians, crowded around a newspaper, possibly reading about themselves. Wiley replaces the six politicians with contemporary artist Kerry James Marshall shown in three poses, examining a catalogue. Marshall’s work, like Wiley’s, focuses on subjects traditionally excluded from the art historical canon. In recreating the tableaux of past works, Wiley heralds a new moment in painting, one that celebrates diversity, inclusion, and progress."
@kehindewiley, Portrait of Kerry James Marshall, La Lectura, 2017, oil on canvas, framed: 94 5/16 x 133 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches