That black artist who painted the official Obama portrait? Yeah, he’s a racist who doesn’t do his own work, say critics

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by

Much like the social media world, where bots supplant real people in order to influence and shape public opinion, the art world has its own share of fakers and sensationalists.

Apparently, one of them is Kehinde Wiley, the black artist who allegedly painted the unconventional “official” portrait of President Barack Obama.

And while he may be real, his work may not be. Oh, and he’s got a real racist bent as well.

First, the racism. Unbeknownst to most Americans who were ogling over his paintings of the Obamas, revealed Monday at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., Wiley is known in the art underworld for two previous pieces that loosely reference a story in the Book of Judith, which involves a beautiful woman who seduces an invading Assyrian general and, before he is able to destroy their land, gets him drunk and decapitates him.

Popularized during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the story centers around Holofernes, an Assyrian general who was about to destroy Judith’s home, the city of Bethulia. As The National Sentinel notes further, his ‘Judith’ paintings feature black women defiantly holding the severed heads of white women.

“Given the historical period and the fact that none of the women depicted as Judith were black, critics say it is difficult to miss the overly racist undertone of his paintings,” the news site reported. (Related: Very use of the term ‘white privilege’ is racist and discriminatory by definition.)

As bad as that is, The Gateway Pundit went a step further and reported that much of Wiley’s work, if not all of it, is outsourced to Chinese artists.

Notes Lucian Wintrich:

Since Obama’s portrait was unveiled, I’ve received a flurry of text messages from outraged artist friends I made while living in New York. No, they weren’t outraged because they saw Kehinde Wiley’s other painting that feature black women murdering white women. They were outraged because Kehinde Wiley is a terrible artist who only rose to prominence, something they have been attempting to do their entire lives, in the art world because he is a racist gay black man. And if that weren’t enough: he doesn’t even paint his own work.

In April 2012, Wintrich explains, Wiley was interviewed by New York Magazine, which wrote a glowing piece about him, his paintings, and his “global reach.” During one interview segment, he “was asked about one of the anti-white paintings in his studio…his response was not only shocking but showed a complete lack of intellectual depth,” writes Wintrich:

A tall, elegant black woman in a long blue dress—the canvas is enormous, eight feet by ten feet—calmly staring down the viewer. In one hand, she holds a knife. In the other, a cleanly severed brunette female head. “It’s sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing,” Wiley says. […]

In the politically correct, racially progressive and social conscious New York City art world, Wintrich says, Wiley makes good because he “certainly can check quite a few boxes” off the racial “intersectionality checklist” — “A black, gay man, who pushes the anti-white rhetoric that the Left revels in these days.”

But there is a much bigger problem, he says: “Wiley doesn’t actually paint his work.” Even the “fawning” New York Magazine piece noted that, albeit in a roundabout way.

According to Wintrich, a “common technique” that is used often by Chinese labor ‘painters’ who mass produce work is the repetition of a pattern over and over instead of using an artist’s intuition to create a scene on canvas. The NY Mag piece discussed that after the writer tries to take a few pictures of Wiley’s Beijing-based studio space:

There’s nothing new about artists using assistants—everyone from Michelangelo to Jeff Koons has employed teams of helpers, with varying degrees of irony and pride—but Wiley gets uncomfortable discussing the subject. “I’m sensitive to it,” he says. When I first arrived at his Beijing studio, the assistants had left, and he made me delete the iPhone snapshots I’d taken of the empty space. […] “I don’t want you to know every aspect of where my hand starts and ends” […]

Producing work in China cuts costs, but not as much as it used to, Wiley says. These days in Beijing he employs anywhere from four to ten workers, depending on the urgency, plus a studio manager, the American artist Ain Cocke.

Now, how likely do you think it is that the Obama’s didn’t know about this artist’s racist tendencies, at a bare minimum — let alone his alleged fakery?

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

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