Kehinde Wiley is among the artists who made the 2018 Time 100 list. | Video by Time Magazine

 

TIME MAGAZINE RELEASED its Time 100 list for 2018 and it features three visual artists—Judy Chicago, JR, and Kehinde Wiley, who appears in the wake of painting his news making portrait of President Barack Obama, which was unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on Feb. 12.

The annual roundup of the year’s most influential people in the world includes pioneers, artists, leaders, icons, and titans. Virgil Abloh, Chadwick Boseman, Ryan Coogler, Trevor Noah, Issa Rae, Rihanna, Jesmyn Ward, Lena Waithe, and Oprah Winfrey, are among the additional creatives spread across the list.

Each influencer(s) is written about by a prominent person. President Obama penned a tribute to the Stoneman Douglas students who have transformed themselves into ardent gun control advocates in short span of weeks following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at their Parkland, Fla., high school.

LL Cool J was selected to honor Wiley. The Brooklyn-based painter made a portrait of the rapper-turned-television actor that, like the Obama portrait, is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

He writes in part, “Kehinde Wiley is a classically, formally trained artist who is transforming the way African Americans are seen—going against the grain of what the world is accustomed to. Some consider him irreverent; I see an iconoclast. Some of his subjects come from hip-hop culture, but he’s not a hip-hop painter. To put it simply, he does dope sh-t.”

“Kehinde Wiley is a classically, formally trained artist who is transforming the way African Americans are seen—going against the grain of what the world is accustomed to. Some consider him irreverent; I see an iconoclast.” — LL Cool J

(Interestingly, LL Cool also says Wiley has “many paintings in the Smithsonian.” While the artist’s paintings are in the collections of numerous major museums, he only has portraits of Obama, LL, and Biggie Smalls at the Smithsonian, all three of which are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, where “Recognize: Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture,” was presented in 2008.)

The accompanying video tribute to the artist recalls Obama’s remarks at the portrait unveiling. “What I was always struck by whenever I saw his portraits was the degree to which they challenge our conventional views of power and privilege,” he said.

Wiley stated: “The commissioned portrait has been about a society saying who are the people we collectively want to honor and particularl,y with the presidential portrait, this is the highest aspect of that tradition and it’s been …an extraordinary honor to be able to participate in that.” CT

 

READ MORE Kerry James Marshall was among last year’s Time 100

 

BOOKSHELF
“Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” documents the artist’s 10-year survey organized by the Brooklyn Museum. He has also published a series of volumes titled The World Stage to coincide with his exhibitions featuring portraits of local men of color in urban capitals across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean,

 

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