Kehinde Wiley takes us to art church

 Artist Kehinde Wiley created the official portrait of former President Barack Obama, unveiled in February. | Photograph by Tony Powell, courtesy of the Smithsonian

Artist Kehinde Wiley created the official portrait of former President Barack Obama, unveiled in February. | Photograph by Tony Powell, courtesy of the Smithsonian

It almost seemed like a too-good-to-be-true Black History Month gift: the unveiling of the super-cool official portrait of former President Barack Obama. This distinct image of Obama, which is unlike any other presidential portrait, immediately caused a cultural and artistic buzz.

Even better for us, it happened to be by the mesmerizing Kehinde Wiley, an artist we had on the podcast in 2016 following a controversy at St. Louis’ contemporary art museum. In that episode, titled “Museum Meltdown,” Wiley spoke to us about the complicated intersection of race, representation and art.

 Obama and Wiley during a Feb 12 ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery | Photo by Pete Souza, courtesy of the Smithsonian

Obama and Wiley during a Feb 12 ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery | Photo by Pete Souza, courtesy of the Smithsonian

But there were a lot of things we left on the cutting room floor.

So, in this bonus episode, We Live Here cracks open its vault and shares never-before-heard parts of an interview with Wiley. He gets into the fascination people have with a black artist painting white bodies; a concept he calls “cultural policing;” and the impoliteness of exclusion.

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Music in this episode is by St. Louis producer Trifeckta