Kehinde Wiley is known for his contemporary urban takes on classic art. Particularly popular has been his World Series where he visited countries including Israel, China, Jamaica, and Haiti and painted subjects he met on the street. If you somehow haven’t seen his work yet, you must get going to the Brooklyn Museum where a collection of Wiley’s work is currently on display. The exhibit includes old favorites as well as some newer pieces ranging from paintings to stained glass to sculptures, and even some video.
Judith and Holofernes from the series, An Economy of Grace
Judith and Holofernes is a piece that takes on several classical works that depict a beheading as described in the book of Judith (one of the books that isn’t part of the traditional Bible). Wikipedia has the story for you. Read it, or just dance till you’re dead.
Johnson Publishing Company was founded in 1942 by John H. Johnson and started with the publication of the Negro Digest. Eventually, the company would publish their flagship publications, Ebony and Jet.
Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet, and Contemporary Art is currently an exhibit at the Studio Museum of Harlem that features art informed by the information in these pages. The title of the exhibit gets its name from a monthly feature in Ebony Magazine where updates on prominent African Americans were featured. The catalogue for the exhibit features essays by prominent artists. Artists featured in the exhibit include Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Lyle Ashton Harris, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Ayanah Moor, Lorna Simpson, Martine Syms, Hank Willis Thomas, and Mickalene Thomas.
Recent news that Johnson Publishing Company is selling it’s photo archives, makes the exhibit even more resonant.
Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet, and Contemporary Art is on display at the Studio Museum of Harlem through March 8, 2015.