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Statue Modeled On Confederate Monument Coming To VMFA

Installation view of Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presented at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, June 11–Sept. 5, 2016.
VMFA displayed Kehinde Wiley's "A New Republic" exhibit June 11–Sept. 5, 2016.

A statue inspired by the J.E.B. Stuart Confederate Monument is coming to VMFA soon. The museum announced today that they will install the large-scale sculpture cast in bronze of a black person astride a horse in front of the museum -- just four blocks from Monument Avenue.

The statue called  Rumors of War is artist  Kehinde Wiley’s first public artwork. VMFA says Wiley got the idea for the sculpture during his visit to Richmond for an exhibition in 2016.

In a  statement, Wiley said, “The inspiration for  Rumors of War is war -- is an engagement with violence. Art and violence have for an eternity held a strong narrative grip with each other. Rumors of War attempts to use the language of equestrian portraiture to both embrace and subsume the fetishization of state violence."

Wiley created Barack Obama’s official presidential portrait and is known for portraying contemporary black subjects in the style of traditional European and American portraits. He often paints black subjects depicted on horses in a way that allows audiences to directly compare his paintings to classic western paintings and statues.

Rumors of War hasn't been revealed to the public yet. It will be unveiled in Times Square on September 27, 2019. After the presentation in New York, VMFA plans to install the sculpture at its entrance on Arthur Ashe Boulevard in December 2019.

VMFA Director Alex Nyerges said the installation will be a historic moment for the museum and for the city of Richmond.

"We hope that the sculpture will encourage public engagement and civic discussion about who is memorialized in our nation and the significance of monuments in the context of American history," said Nyerges. "We are especially pleased that through the acquisition of this work, the monuments in Richmond will further reflect the incredible diversity of its population." 

Updated 5:17 p.m.


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