Kihende Wiley (1977- ), The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, 2008. Oil on Canvas, 131 x 112 inches.
The subjects of Kehinde Wiley’s works are African Americans who wear stereotypical urban attire and are presented in a recognizable poses of existing art. The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ from Wiley's Down installation portrays a young black male represented in the same pose and perspective as Christ in Mantegna’s The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ. Wiley’s use of pastiche renders a new perspective for the viewer to observe. His work has the same title as Mantegna work; however, his subject is an African American male rather than Christ. Wiley’s use of African Americans challenges the expectations of what and who is important and redefines the beauty and significance of black people.
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, circa 1490, tempura on canvas, 26.8 x 31.9 inches. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.
Kehinde Wiley was born in Los Angeles. His father is Yoruba from Nigeria and his mother is African American. As a child his mother enrolled him and his siblings in art programs to be productive and keep safe from the harsh South Central Los Angeles neighborhood they resided in. Wiley began to lean more toward visual arts and when he was twelve years old he participated in an arts exchange program and went to the U.S.S.R.
After completing Yale’s MFA program Wiley moved to Harlem where he began establishing himself as an inspiration to others in the arts. He made sumptuous portraits of young black men in urban clothes. He makes an attempt in his work to represent black people so that children can see images of people who look like them on museum walls. His works references the Italian painter Titian as much as it does pop culture, while addressing stereotypes of race and class as well and power and history (O'Rourke's ).
More Works from Down Series
Christian Martyr Tarcisius, 2008, Oil on canvas, 83.9" x 180"
A Dead Soldier, 2007, Oil on canvas, 60" x 144"
Gettysburg Memorial, 2009, Oil on canvas, 50" x 134.5"
Sleep, 2008, Oil on canvas, 132" x 300"
"Kehinde Wiley." Art 309 Migration and Visual Art. http://hgposer.blogspot.com/, 19 Mar 2010. Web. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <http://hgposer.blogspot.com/2010/03/kehinde-wiley.html>.
Mantegna, Andrea. The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ. N.d. http://history.hanover.edu/Web. 4 Mar 2013.
Mark , Mardell. "Kehinde Wiley: Paintings of a moment that never occurred." BBC News 12 9 2012, n. pag. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19454025>.
O'Rourke's, Meghan. "Kehinde Wiley." Wall Street Journal. (2012): n. page. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303513404577352152061211214.html>.
Wiley, Kehinde. The Lamentation Over the Dead Christ. N.d. http://www.terminartors.comWeb. 3 Mar 2013.
Wiley, Kehinde. "Works: Down Installation." Kehinde Wiley. Kehinde Wiley, n. d. Web. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <http://www.kehindewiley.com/down/down_install.html>.