“Empire”: TV’s Contemporary-Art Gallery
Fine Art

“Empire”: TV’s Contemporary-Art Gallery

“Empire”: TV’s Contemporary-Art Gallery

In 2014, weeks before the pilot was shot for “Empire,” the soapy Fox musical drama, Lee Daniels, the show’s creator, reached out to the artist Kehinde Wiley to ask for permission to include his work in the new project. “He didn’t know if it was going to be the biggest car wreck or the biggest success,” Wiley said. “And I said, ‘Sure.’ ” In the Season One finale, the men of the Lyon family sat at a dining-room table underneath Wiley’s “ Prince Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria .” It’s a portrait of a bare-chested and tattooed Jamaican man, one hand on his hip and posturing proudly. Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) who had just found out he was not sick with Lou Gehrig’s disease, stood in a gray suit at the head of the table, stately like the figure in the ornate painting behind him, to tell his sons the news. The moment was a dramatic plot twist, and the painting stole the scene. “Just like the script, the music, the set design, and the clothes, the artwork on Empire is its […]

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