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Conspicuous Fraud Series #1 (Eminence)

Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977—) Conspicuous Fraud Series #1 (Eminence), 2001 Oil on canvas 72 1/2 x 72 1/2 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase made possible by a gift from Anne Ehrenkranz 2002.10.14

Kehinde Wiley draws from the history of portraiture to situate people of African descent within the art historical canon. In Conspicuous Fraud Series #1 (Eminence), created early in his career, the figure’s hair serves as a decorative motif and backdrop that twists and extends throughout the canvas. The man consequently occupies an abundance of physical space in the composition and, symbolically, claims space within an art historical narrative from which black men are often excluded.