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After La Négresse, 1872

Kehinde Wiley American

Not on view

Wiley reimagines the partially naked and bound woman in Carpeaux’s Why Born Enslaved! as a male basketball player wearing a Lakers jersey. In so doing, the artist draws a connection between the sports economy and enslavement, challenging the idea of professional athletics as a pathway to liberation. The man’s twisted pose and doubting expression suggest an ongoing struggle, possibly alluding to the unfulfilled promises of abolition. The work is titled After La Négresse, 1872 in reference to The Met’s terracotta bust, also in this exhibition. Like its referent, Wiley’s sculpture was also produced in multiples, which are cast from the typically discarded material of marble dust.

After La Négresse, 1872, Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977), Cast marble dust and resin, edition 170/250, American

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