Kehinde Wiley was born in 1977 in Los Angeles, USA. He lives and works in New York, USA; Beijing, China and Dakar, Senegal.
'The World Stage’, Wiley's vast and celebrated body of work, has focused on Brazil, China, Israel, Nigeria, Senegal and Sri Lanka to date, with exhibitions held in museums and galleries in Europe and the USA. Wiley engages the visual rhetoric of the powerful, majestic and sublime in his representation of contemporary African-American and African-Diasporic men and women who adopt heroic poses directly referencing European and American portraiture.
‘Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools’ opened at The Box, Plymouth in September 2020 to coincide with the launch of the new museum. In July 2020 Wiley had his first major survey exhibition in France at Centre d’art La Malmaison, Cannes, spanning over a decade of the artist’s career. In February 2020 Wiley’s first solo institutional exhibition in the UK ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, opened at William Morris Gallery, London, featuring six new large-scale female portraits. A monumental public sculpture ‘Rumors of War’, the artist’s largest work to date, was unveiled in Times Square, New York in September 2019. It was permanently installed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia in December 2019. In 2018 Smithsonian Institution unveiled Kehinde Wiley’s official portrait of Barack Obama for the Presidential Portrait Commission at National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
From 2015-2017 Wiley had a major ongoing touring exhibition titled ‘Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic’ which visited Brooklyn Museum, New York; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Seattle Art Museum, Washington; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia; Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; and Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma.
Wiley received his MFA from Yale University in 2001. Shortly after, he became an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. In 2015 he was awarded the US State Department Medal of Arts. In 2018 he received the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal at Harvard University, Massachusetts. In June 2019 he was honoured by The Gordon Parks Foundation, New York. Wiley is the Founder and President of Black Rock Senegal, a non-profit artist in residence program located in Dakar, Senegal.
Solo exhibitions include: ‘Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools’, The Levinsky Gallery, The Box, Plymouth, England (2020–2021); ‘Kehinde Wiley: Painter of the Epic’, Centre d’art La Malmaison, Cannes, France (2020); ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, William Morris Gallery, London, England (2020); ‘Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley’, Musée national du château de Malmaison, Rueil-Malmaison, France, travelling to Brooklyn Museum, New York (Two-person, 2019-2020); ‘Tahiti’, Galerie Templon, Paris, France (2019); ‘Equestrian Portrait of Prince Tommaso of Savoy-Carignan’, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California (2019); ‘Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis’, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri (2018-2019); ‘Kehinde Wiley: Lit’, Bozar Centre For Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2018); ‘In Search of the Miraculous’, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2017-2018); ‘Lamentation’, Petit Palais, Paris, France (2016), ‘Arts For All: Kehinde Wiley’, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Florida (2014); ‘Kehinde Wiley: Memling’, Taft Museum, Ohio (2014); ‘The World Stage: Jamaica’, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2013); 'The World Stage: Israel', Boise Art Museum, Boise (2013), travelling from The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (2013) and The Jewish Museum, New York, (2012); 'Kehinde Wiley: Memling', Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona (2013); ‘Selected Works’, SCAD Museum of Art, Georgia, USA (2011); ‘The World Stage: Africa, Lagos-Dakar’, The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York (2008); ‘Focus: Kehinde Wiley’, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2008); ‘Kehinde Wiley’, Portland Art Museum, Oregon (2007); ‘The World Stage: China’, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Milwaukee (2007) and ‘Columbus’, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio (2006).
Wiley's work features in the permanent collections of numerous prominent institutions including The Jewish Museum, New York; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; Studio Museum, Harlem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City; Saint Louis Art Museum, St Louis, Missouri; Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and The Zabludowicz Collection, London, England.