Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rent By Bleeding Light

Barbie & Kehinde, 2015

     Art is much like dawn:  Darkness rent by bleeding light.  An illumination, whether literal or figurative, something revelatory to the eye, or the mind's eye.  And, as I've addressed here before, and has been argued since the first human scratched an image of a deer on the wall of a cave, art is subjective, everyone's a critic, and nothing riles up emotions like dissension on either or both of the previous two observations.  It's crazy really, it's like railing against the weather, you have no power over it. 
So and thus has a tempest in a teapot boiled over with a hatchet job published by the Village Voice recently about the Kehinde Wiley Brooklyn Museum retrospective.  Read the piece, it's nonsense.  While I'm not a fan of Wiley's factory-style produced works, (he employs a lot of assistants who do all of the background painting, with dubious results), none of what the VV piece claims is actually evidenced in his work.  Such as, the pervy nature of Wiley's renderings of young black men.  The operative word here is MEN, not children, and the portraits aren't even all that suggestive to slip into the realm of pervy.  Which leads one to believe that the author of the article is a homophobe.  So seldom does one come across a true dyed in the wool homophobe in the art world anymore that its'a  shock to the system when a publication as respected as the Village Voice gives precious space and ink to one.
Now, a much more even handed review of the  retrospective is up on the New York Times website.  Although, I don't know how much praise it is to be compared to a mash-up of Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell and Jeff Koons.  Jeff Koons!  The most reviled living artist I can think of.  Ah, Kehinde, you are breathing rarified air indeed.

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