Brooklyn Republic recently closed the exhibition Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, a mid-career retrospective, going back 14 years, from Kehinde's early styles to the more well-known mix of young black men in casual attire, recreating traditional portrait scenes, with a backdrop of vivid patterns, as seen in the National Portrait Gallery, among other settings. More recently, he has expanded his street-casting to include African American women, as captured in the PBS Arts documentary, Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace. More videos and critical commentary below the break. [more inside]
In 1977, John Goto made this series of photographic portraits of young British African-Caribbeans at Lewisham Youth Centre, South London, where he taught evening classes in photography. It was not until 2013, however, that circumstances allowed him to first exhibit and publish the work.
Incorruptible Teeth, or, the French Smile Revolution
In 1787, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, painter to France’s royal and aristocratic elite, displayed a canvas at the Paris Salon. It was a self-portrait depicting the artist in an affectionate embrace with her daughter. Vigée-Lebrun is smiling—a sweet, broad smile revealing white teeth. There is little about this pose that seems in any way exceptional, yet exception was furiously taken. “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning,” wrote an anonymous commentator, “and which finds no precedent amongst the Ancients, is that in smiling she shows her teeth. This affectation is particularly out of place in a mother.”How the smile came to Paris (briefly), aka Grin City. [more inside]
When the House of Commons required a portrait of outgoing PM Tony Blair, to whom did they turn? Phil Hale. [more inside]
The National Potrait Gallery held a competition for new entries into the gallery. The winner is a fabulous painting by David Lenz. There is a great deal of focus in the exhibit of imagery that is truthful, but not necessarily flattering. The winner is both truthful and flattering. Lenz's subject is is his son, who has Down syndrome. The title, "Sam and the Perfect World" is quite poignant. There is a long NPR program covering the entire topic of portaiture in general and this portrait specifically.
Simon Hoegsberg's latest project involved stopping passersby and asking what they were thinking at exactly that moment. These are their thoughts and portraits.