Barack and Michelle Obama had their official portraits revealed at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery this week. The portraits by Kehinde Wiley (Barack) and Amy Sherald (Michelle) have been positively reviewed by a lot of people on the internet, but criticized by some, including a certain Fox News host’s blog. Sean Hannity (or his staff) manufactured some controversy by reporting that Kehinde Wiley has allegedly included hidden images of sperm cells in his paintings in the past. To quote Hannity’s blog, Wiley also “once joked about ‘Killing Whitey’ during an interview.”
Hannity’s Twitter account linked to (and later deleted) this blog post:
While linking to a ten-year-old Wiley profile by ‘the New York Times, Hannity’s staff drew attention to how “[Wiley’s] portraits initially depicted African-American men against rich textile or wallpaper backgrounds whose patterns he has likened to abstractions of sperm.” To illustrate this point, Hannity’s blog includes a cropped, close-up image of Obama’s temple from the portrait, despite the alleged sperm depictions (from ten years ago, that may no longer be part of the artist’s style if they ever were) being used in the backgrounds of his portraits, not as part of the depiction of the portrait’s subject.
Hannity’s blog finds more to worry about over the state of art in Wiley’s 2012 piece, apparently based on the Biblical story of Judith, featuring — again, to quote Hannity — “a ‘black woman’ decapitating a Caucasian woman” which Wiley, in 2012, said was “sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing.”
We look forward to new adventures of Sean Hannity, Art Detective, whenever they appear.
(Via Sean Hannity’s Blog)