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a statement of power and the individual’s sense of empowerment. The works presented in Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic raise questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using the conventions of traditional European portraiture. The exhibition includes an overview of the artist’s prolific fourteen-year career and features sixty paintings and sculptures.

Through the process of “street casting,” Wiley invites individuals, often strangers he encounters on the street, to sit for portraits. In this collaborative process, the model chooses a reproduction of a painting from a book and reenacts the pose of the painting’s figure. By inviting the subjects to select a work of art, Wiley gives them a measure of control over the way they’re portrayed, allowing them to have a voice in the telling of their individual, unique story.

Kehinde Wiley, Houdon Paul-Louis, 2011. Bronze with polished stone base. Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund and A. Augustus Healy Fund. Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum.