Wiley's highly naturalistic paintings of contemporary urban men and more recently women adopt heroic poses directly referencing classical portraiture. 'The World Stage', Wiley's vast and celebrated body of work, has previously focused on Brazil, China, Israel, Nigeria, Senegal and Sri Lanka, with exhibitions held in museums and galleries in Europe and the USA. Wiley engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic, and sublime in his representation of urban black and brown men and women found throughout the world.
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 Kehinde Wiley had a major ongoing touring exhibition titled ‘Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic' which visited: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, USA; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Seattle Art Museum, Washington; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma.
Kehinde Wiley received his MFA from Yale University in 2001. Shortly after, he became an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. 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 will be honoured by The Gordon Parks Foundation, New York.
Solo exhibitions include: ‘Equestrian Portrait of Prince Tommaso of Savoy-Carignan', Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara (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 (2017-2018); ‘Lamentation', Petit Palais, Paris, France (2016), ‘Arts For All: Kehinde Wiley', Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Florida, USA (2014); ‘Kehinde Wiley: Memling', Taft Museum, Ohio, USA (2014); ‘The World Stage: Jamaica', Stephen Friedman Gallery, London (2013); 'The World Stage: Israel', Boise Art Museum, Boise, USA (2013), travelling from The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, USA (2013) and The Jewish Museum, New York, USA (2012); 'Kehinde Wiley: Memling', Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona, USA (2013); ‘Selected Works', SCAD Museum of Art, Georgia, USA (2011); ‘The World Stage: Africa, Lagos-Dakar', The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York, USA (2008); ‘Focus: Kehinde Wiley', Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, USA (2008); ‘Kehinde Wiley', Portland Art Museum, Oregon, USA (2007); ‘The World Stage: China', John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Milwaukee, USA (2007) and ‘Columbus', Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, USA (2006).
Selected group exhibitions include: ‘Dreamweavers', United Talent Agency Artist Space, Los Angeles, California (2019); ‘Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem', Touring Exhibition to Six Venues across the US (2019); ‘30 Americans', Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska (2019); ‘Beyond Truth: Photography after the Shutter', Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio (2019); ‘On Their Own Terms', Windgate Center of Art + Design, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas (2019); ‘Beyond Borders',University Of Michigan Museum Of Art, Michigan (2018); ‘Michael Jackson: On The Wall', National Portrait Gallery, London, UK (2018), touring to Grand Palais, Paris (2018-2019) and Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, Germany and Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), Espoo, Finland (2019); ‘30 Americans', Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, USA (2016); ‘A Material Legacy: The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemseigger Collection of Contemporary Art', Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey, USA; ‘Open This End: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Blake Byrne', Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; travels Ohio State University Arts Space, Columbus, Ohio; Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York; Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA (2015-16); ‘Black SoCal: Art in Practice in an Evolving Landscape', Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2015) ‘Africa Now - Political Patterns', Seoul Museum, Seoul, Korea (2014-2015); ‘Hip-Hop, Du Bronx Aux Rues Arabes', L'Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France (2015); ‘Masculine / Masculine. The Nude Man in Art from 1800 to the Present Day', Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, Mexico (2014); ‘Face to Face, Wall to Wall', Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, USA (2014).
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.