New York–based artist Kehinde Wiley wasn’t always keen on the whole hip-hop scene. Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Wiley preferred jazz to rap, just to be “contrarian,” he told Anthem magazine. But Wiley couldn’t deny the draw of young black men decked out in flashy hip-hop styles and has more or less made a career out of documenting them in his stunning larger-than-life portraits. In his new photography exhibition, Black Light, inspired by Hype Williams’s brightly colored hip-hop videos from the ’90s, Wiley uses light manipulation and digital technology to bring his loose jeans, cap, and chain–wearing subjects into focus. Their serene poses against vivid floral backdrops are a unique take on the Old Master style of portraiture that Wiley has made modern and all his own. So pimp!
Sept. 4-26, 2009