Congratulations Kehinde Wiley! Well, mostly…

160749_K2Flashy: lacking in substance or flavor; momentarily dazzling; superficially attractive; ostentatious or showy often beyond the bounds of good taste ; marked by gaudy brightness.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Great News! Artist Kehinde Wiley will be awarded the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts by Secretary of State John Kerry in a ceremony on January 21 for “substantive commitment to the U.S. State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach through the visual arts.” The award was first given during the 50th anniversary of Art in Embassies program in 2012.

The honor was reported by the art press, with one interesting take…

Artnet News noted that Wiley is “Known primarily for his large-scale painting of young African Americans, depicted in the style of European royal portraits…”

Artfix Daily said, “Secretary of State John Kerry will present the medal to Yale-educated Wiley who is known for his portraits of people with brown or black skin in heroic poses, representing saints, and oftentimes set against vibrant backgrounds.”

However, ArtNews reported Wiley honor by saying the artist is, “Known for his flashy painting that depict black men and women in the style of Old Master portraiture…”

Flashy? Really? Oh come now.

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