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Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence

May 15 @ 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

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.


Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
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City of Houston District
Houston Cultural District
Houston Museum District


Museum of Fine Arts – Audrey Jones Beck Building
5601 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005 United States
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