Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence Through May 27, 2024


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“This work being in Houston is an opportunity to see my paintings and sculptures in a completely new dynamic, to see it in a different part of America, and also see an amazing curatorial staff presenting it in a way that’s new, fresh, and exciting.” —Kehinde Wiley 

Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence showcases Kehinde Wiley’s new, monumental body of work, with large-scale paintings and sculptures of men and women in repose. Through his work, with detailed portrayals of Black and Brown individuals, the artist confronts the silence surrounding systemic violence and injustice.

In this body of work, Wiley uses the visual language of heroes, martyrs, and saints as portrayed in Western European historical art. His work expands on his “Down” series from 2008, which was inspired by Hans Holbein the Younger’s 16th-century painting The Dead Christ in the Tomb. For Wiley, Holbein’s painting triggered an ongoing investigation into the iconography of repose and sacrifice in Western art.

Wiley, one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists, created this body of work against the background of the pandemic and the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. The works in An Archaeology of Silence stand as elegies and monuments, underscoring the terms in which Black people are seen and heard.

In his words: “That is the archaeology I am unearthing: The specter of police violence and state control over the bodies of young Black and Brown people all over the world.”

The exhibition premiered earlier this year at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the MFAH is the first stop on the tour.

 Publication
The illustrated exhibition catalogue is available through the MFA Shop (713.639.7360) and the Museum’s Hirsch Library (713.639.7325).

► Shop the Show
Find a variety of exhibition-related items at the MFA Shop, including scarves, bags, candles, umbrellas, books, and apparel.

Culinary Canvas
On the day you see the exhibition, stop by Le Jardinier at MFAH for lunch—and enjoy a complimentary “Young Flower” dessert, with the purchase of an entrée. The dish is inspired by the flowers in Kehinde Wiley’s portrait Young Tarentine II (Ndeye Fatou Mbaye). Learn more & book a reservation

Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence / November 19, 2023–May 27, 2024


This exhibition was organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Major support provided by:

Ready to Visit?

Member and ALL ACCESS tickets include same-day admission to this Special Exhibition, all other Special Exhibitions, and the MFAH Permanent Collections.

Get Your Ticket

Location

Audrey Jones Beck Building
5601 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005
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