Eugenie Tsai is the John and Barbara Vogelstein Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, New York. In 2015, she curated Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic
, which was accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalog on the artist’s career; in 2020, she also curated the installation titled Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley. Tsai will speak about Wiley, President Obama’s official portraitist, who is widely considered to be among the preeminent painters of our time, and will discuss his work as a kind of speculative fiction. In his monumental canvases, Wiley adopts the vocabulary of Old Master portraiture to depict contemporary Black men and women. The juxtapositions are always startling as pointed reminders that Black subjects were very rarely afforded such representations in the Western canon. In Wiley’s paintings, the clash of historical ideas about race, age, and representation comes into stark relief as viewers literally come face to face with these issues. Tsai will contextualize Wiley’s twenty years of creative output and discuss his work alongside that of other contemporary artists (Kara Walker and Yinka Shonibare, for example) who mine history and revisit the past in order to imagine a different future. This program is exclusively for Salon Circle members and we will be sending out registration information to them. If you are not a Salon Circle member or have not yet renewed your membership, please click here to learn more.