Artist Kehinde Wiley and Barack Obama unveil Obama's official portrait at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Pro-Trump trolls are coordinating a smear campaign against Obama portrait artist, Kehinde Wiley

In a seemingly organized smear campaign, right-wing trolls are claiming Wiley’s past work is racially insensitive


Cristina López G.
February 16, 2018 11:00AM (UTC)
This article originally appeared on Media Matters.

Media Matters
As a response to the unveiling of former President Barack Obama’s official portrait, pro-Trump trolls launched a smear campaign against artist Kehinde Wiley, claiming a painting of his symbolizes an attack against white people and that the artist “seems racist.”

On Twitter and online message boards like the “politically correct” threads on 4chan, 8chan, and The_Donald subreddit on Reddit, pro-Trump trolls are smearing Wiley by claiming his rendition of "Judith beheading Holofernes," a modern twist on a classical theme including works by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, and others, is “a ‘queen’ cutting off the head of a young white child.” Commenters on the message boards and Twitter have said Wiley “seems racist” and accused the artist of being “the definition of racism.”

Advertisement:

Wiley’s painting was part of a series of portraits of women he entitled "An Economy of Grace." The artist is known for remixing "classical European art with black urban youth." As Upworthy’s Parker Molloy documented, the smearing seems “clearly pretty coordinated” and the manufactured outrage echoes other stunts pro-Trump trolls have pulled to garner mainstream media attention and shape narratives, like suing over all-women screenings of "Wonder Woman," or disrupting a Shakespeare play over its depiction of the murder of Julius Caesar.

 


Cristina López G.

MORE FROM Cristina López G.

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alt Right Trolls Media Matters Presidential Portraits Pro-trump Media

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••






Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •