Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Announce US Tour of "Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence"

Jul 12, 2023

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Installation view of Kehinde Wiley: An Archeology of Silence, de Young museum, San Francisco, 2023. Photograph by Gary Sexton.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (“FAMSF”) have been honored to organize the US premiere of Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence, a monumental exhibition of work by artist Kehinde Wiley, created against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the worldwide rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. FAMSF is thrilled to announce that the exhibition will be presented to audiences across the United States on a tour to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Pérez Art Museum Miami; and the Minneapolis Institute of Art throughout 2023–2025.

“It has been an immense privilege to organize Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence for its US premiere at the de Young museum,” stated Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “It is clear from the response of our visitors that the exhibition taps into deep emotions and resonances that will be just as relevant elsewhere in the US. This exhibition is a critical assertion to the importance of Black life, the condemnation of systemic violence, and the role of art to speak to issues with which visitors grapple on a daily basis. We are delighted that people across the US will now have the opportunity to see this important work in person.”

The exhibition’s tour schedule is as follows:

●     Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: November 19, 2023–June 19, 2024

●     Pérez Art Museum Miami: July 26, 2024–January 12, 2025

●     Minneapolis Institute of Art: February 22–June 22, 2025

“Kehinde Wiley's elegies, at once sublimely beautiful and deeply disturbing, are profoundly moving, even unforgettable. We are very proud to exhibit them at the Museum and participate in this national tour,” commented Gary Tinterow, Director, Margaret Alkek Williams Chair, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

In a testament to its relevance and urgency, at the de Young museum, the exhibition has drawn almost 300,000 visitors of multiple generations—including numerous school groups—in just three months. Many of these visits have been made possible through the support of the Ford Foundation and, who have each provided $1 million to make the exhibition more accessible to Bay Area communities, as well as enabled the presentation of a series of public programming and interpretation interventions to support the exhibition. This includes the Respite Room adjacent to the exhibition, utilized as a space of respite with the primary aim of practicing care for visitors during and after their visit, particularly for visitors of color. A dedicated Resource Library provides visitors the opportunity to engage further ​with the history of state-sanctioned violence against Black people in the United States, providing resources to engage in resistance to systemic violence that persists in contemporary society, specifically in the history of the Bay Area. 

Led by its new Director of Interpretation, Abram Jackson, FAMSF has partnered with members of affected communities who are engaged in social justice causes regarding the didactic treatment for the exhibition, including wall texts, audio guides, the hero film, digital and printed resources, and more. These partners include representatives of the Oscar Grant Foundation, Change Cadet, Inclusion Design Group, Black Teacher Project, Life Is Living Festival, and the Very Black Project. The exhibition is also accompanied by a full-scale catalogue produced and published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which will be available in September 2023 and throughout the tour. Edited by Claudia Schmuckli, Curator in Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming and Organizing Curator of An Archaeology of Silence, the catalogue includes quotations by Kehinde Wiley, full-color reproductions of the objects in the exhibition, and newly commissioned essays by Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, and Emil Wilbekin, Journalist and Assistant Curator of Journalism at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, with Janna Keegan, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art and Programming at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. This catalogue will be available to purchase in the Museum Stores and in the trade through DelMonico Books / D•A•P.

Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence is on view through October 15, 2023, at the de Young museum in San Francisco. Claudia Schmuckli, Curator in Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, serves as the Organizing Curator for the exhibition.

Support for An Archaeology of Silence at the de Young Museum

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Presenting sponsors: Ford Foundation and Major support is provided by Dagmar Dolby. Generous support is provided by the Harris Family, Charles and Brandi Hudson, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, Paul L. Wattis Foundation, and Sonya Yu. Additional support is provided by the Adamolekun Family, Lisa Blackwell, Quinn Delaney and Wayne Jordan, Delvecchio and Kelly Finley, Bryan and Tara Meehan, Elaine Mellis, the Plexo Foundation, Soho House, Lisa and Jim Zanze, and the Contemporary Support Council. 

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco oversee the de Young museum, located in Golden Gate Park, and the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park. It is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco and one of the most visited arts institutions in the United States.

The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park and was established as the Memorial Museum in 1895. It was later renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, who spearheaded its creation. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in October 2005. Reflecting an active conversation among cultures, perspectives, and time periods, the collections on view include American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco respectfully acknowledge the Ramaytush Ohlone, the original inhabitants of what is now the San Francisco Peninsula, and acknowledge that the Greater Bay Area is the ancestral territory of the Miwok, Yokuts, Patwin, and other Ohlone. Indigenous communities have lived in and moved through this place over hundreds of generations, and Indigenous peoples from many nations make their home in this region today. Please join us in recognizing and honoring their ancestors, descendants, elders, and communities.

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