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Richmond Kehinde Wiley

"Rumors of War," by artist Kehinde Wiley -- who painted President Obama's portrait hanging in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery -- was unveiled Tuesday at Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA).The monument is "the artist's direct response to the ubiquitous Confederate sculptures that populate the United States," the museum said.Kehinde Wiley's statue, Rumors of War, is pictured during an unveiling ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on December 10, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.
RICHMOND, Va. -- A monument of a young African-American man has found its permanent Virginia home near the Confederate statue it was modeled after. Spectators watch during the unveiling ceremony for a statue titled Rumor's of War by artist Kehinde Wiley at the Virginia Museum of Fine arts in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Lee is no longer the focal point of the circle, but a ridiculous figure who seems to have wandered in on his horse from a cheesy Western or costume pageant. Artist Kehinde Wiley goes off to war with Confederate statues.

It was the white European ideal reborn, on pristine new ground.Now, on a grander scaler and with more seriousness than any time in recent memory, we grapple with the fact that none of this was true. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The fusion of aesthetic ideas about beauty and character to ugly ideas about race and history is one source of the Lost Cause’s enduring power to many people.One day earlier this summer, the de-monumentalizing of Monument Avenue continued under a blistering afternoon sun.
The influence of the fairgrounds’ design and architecture was enormous. A carload of young people, both black and white, made its way up the avenue, stopping at each empty pedestal before joining the small crowd gathered on Lee’s circle. Wiley said.

"I'm looking up at those things that give me a sense of dread and fear. We want more, we demand more, we creative people create more. Although Monument Avenue was mainly a private space, it incorporated new ideas about the design of the civic realm, including the necessity for green space and the sacrifice of individual whim and absolute property rights to a collective idea of coherent and consistent aesthetics. Kehinde Wiley talks about what it means to have “A New Republic” here in Richmond! This was the same period that saw the creation of the first statewide preservation group in the nation, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, one of whose most prominent supporters lamented that “civilization has grown materialistic, and greedy, and full of lust and ambition, and has become dominated by the will to power.”Aspects of the New South — its burgeoning industry, its new class of entrepreneurs, its gaze fixed on “modern” cities to the North — were deeply threatening to the old guard who ran groups like the APVA. What does that feel like -- physically -- to walk a public space and to have your state, your country, your nation say 'this is what we stand by'? "It's taken more than 100 years, but the rest of Richmond's residents finally have a monument of a man on a horse who looks more like them," Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said.The unveiling was attended by Wiley, Mayor Stoney and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Unlike the redesign of central Washington, D.C., in the early part of the last century, led by many of the same men who built Chicago’s White City, Monument Avenue wasn’t a centrally controlled, top-down urban redesign.

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