In Times Square, Artist Kehinde Wiley Raises Monument to a New Kind of History
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In Times Square, Artist Kehinde Wiley Raises Monument to a New Kind of History

Kehinde Wiley, Rumors of War (2019), installed in Times Square. Below, the artist embraces his gallerist Sean Kelly. On Friday afternoon, amid the chaos of New York’s Times Square, a very calm and well-dressed group of people congregated near 46th Street and 8th Avenue beneath a looming abstract shape shrouded by a silver cloth. What hid beneath was Rumors of War , a new sculpture by Kehinde Wiley, but no one had yet seen it. Champagne was passed around to attendees including Thelma Golden from the Studio Museum in Harlem, gallerist Sean Kelly, writer Antwaun Sargent, and Tom Finkelpearl, commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. (Whispers got around that Barack Obama, who chose Kehinde Wiley to paint his Presidential likeness for the National Portrait Gallery, might make an appearance, though sadly he did not). Suddenly, a marching band rolled in, their yellow-and-black costumes revealing their origins from Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey, amid chants of “Let’s go! Let’s go!” Wiley himself then appeared in front of the grey monolith, looking larger than life in a colorful suit, and began to dance. “We thank Kehinde for making this day a day of […]

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