'Go' by Kehinde Wiley, displayed inside Moynihan Train Hall at New York City's Penn Station
© Spencer Platt/Getty Image
Look up to Black pride. 'Go' by Kehinde Wiley
We're continuing our celebration of Black History Month with a glimpse of a public art installation in Moynihan Train Hall in New York City's Penn Station. As you rush to catch your commuter train in the station, pause to look up and then contemplate Kehinde Wiley's triptych called 'Go.' The ceiling fresco—a mix of stained glass, hand-painted detail, and LED lighting—recalls artwork from the Italian Renaissance, with vibrant blue skies and heavenly clouds. But in Wiley's interpretation, the religious figures common in such works are replaced by Black Americans in modern-day clothing—seemingly weightless in the air, in poses reminiscent of breakdancing moves.
Wiley first gained attention with his vibrant portraits of Black men and women. These works often referenced the classical 18th-century portraits of Western Europe. But the artist toyed with those conventions by featuring figures in modern attire against stylized backgrounds.