Works of pioneering contemporary artist to be examined at Rosecliff lecture

President Barack Obama" by Kehinde Wiley (oil on canvas, 2018)



The artist who created the official portrait of President Barack Obama will be the topic of the next program in the Preservation Society of Newport County’s Winter Lecture Series.

Speaker Connie Choi, associate curator for the permanent collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem, will present “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic,” on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. at Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Ave.

Choi will explore Wiley’s portraits and stained-glass works, which draw on the tradition of classical painting masters while achieving a contemporary look drenched in color and abounding in adornment. His subjects are young black and mixed-race people, often surrounded by elaborate floral and leaf patterns in bright colors.

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Born in 1977 and based in New York City, Wiley was commissioned in 2017 to paint a portrait of Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. It is the first painting by an African-American in the gallery’s presidential portrait collection.

Admission to the lecture costs $10 for Preservation Society members and $15 for the general public. For more information or to register, visit www.newportmansions.org/learn/adult-programs or call (401) 847-1000.

Other lectures in the Preservation Society’s Winter Lecture Series will include:

• Thursday, Feb. 27, at noon: “Restoring Block Island’s Southeast Lighthouse” – Richard Ventrone, preservation architect with The Preservation Society of Newport County.

• Thursday, March 19, at noon: “Aquidneck Stone Wall Initiative: Preserving the Island’s Historic Character” – Leigh Schoberth, senior preservation services manager, Historic New England.

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