Los Angeles-born artist Kehinde Wiley creates formal paintings of people of color, all street-cast, set against and within patterned backgrounds, which ultimately escape from the back into the foreground. His painting style resembles that of old masters like Titian and Ingres, but the state of his subjects (described as “heroic” by the Columbus Museum of Art), who are painted in their street clothes, retools the hierarchy of importance for a modern world. 2015 saw a retrospective of his work at the Brooklyn Museum.
Below are Kehinde Wiley’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.
See the full list...
Giovanni’s Room is one of my all-time favorites by James Baldwin, a master of deconstructing the American character and social temperature during an era in which novels that explored race and queer love were few and far between, at best.
The Honor Code
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Why did Chinese foot binding end? Or the western pistol duel, for that matter? The Honor Code takes a stab at this history, revealing the importance of honor as an agent for major social and political change — a salient point to make in this morally fraught time of rapid transformation.
The Book of Night Women
More recently celebrated for his masterpiece A Brief History of Seven Killings, James has created in this lesser known book a deeply personal view of Jamaican slavery. Set from a decidedly female perspective, The Book of Night Women takes you into domestic spaces, seduces you into understanding the very real conflicts and emotions behind charged and savage sexual encounters between slaves and masters, and dissects the negotiations of power within those relationships.
$267.20 Modern Nature
$206.98 The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
$160.88 The Warmth of Other Suns
$167.80 Lives of Girls and Women
$265.83 Understanding Trump
$221.65 Invisible Cities
$138.96 Goodnight Moon
Margaret Wise Brown & Illustrated by Clement Hurd
$220.83 The Complete Calvin & Hobbes
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