I've been a longtime admirer of Kehinde Wiley's work, but his mid-career retrospective (if such a term can be applied to a 38 year old) up now at the Brooklyn Museum has made me a superfan. Wiley is best known for painting portraits of black men and women that visually quote famous works throughout art history. In doing so, he elevates the contemporary black community, rendering them visible to institutional eyes, and making a shrewd commentary about power, beauty, authorship, and in-/exclusivity.
Seeing so many of his works under one roof was revelatory. Viewing wall after wall of the lush, large-scale paintings, stained glass pieces, and sculptures in "A New Republic" felt like wandering through a hothouse, thanks to his use of undulating patterns and spiraling lines. There is something dreamlike about Wiley's oeuvre: color-drenched, shimmering, grand, and vibrant. But hopefully this is a dream into which we'll awaken, rather than wake up from.
Be sure to catch this show before it closes on May 24th.