Basketball Becomes Art in Kehinde Wiley’s Latest Edition


Basketball is often equated as an art form. The way 10 players run up-and-down the court — each with their own individual style of play — working in tandem, as they channel their creativity to reach success. As the ultimate symbol of the game, Kehinde Wiley has released a special limited-edition basketball artwork that takes that metaphor one step further.

Drawing on an earlier painting entitled Morpheus, which was inspired by Jean-Antonie Houdon’s 1777 marble sculpture of the same name, Wiley’s iteration featured a model from Brooklyn lain across a white sheet with floral motifs around his body. The work featured in Wiley’s 2008 exhibition “Down” at Jeffrey Deitch, and unlike the Houdon’s sculpture, whose melancholic figure looks away, Wiley’s figure invites onlookers through direct eye contact.

The Morpheus basketball is regulation size and is made using premium leather in a monogrammed cotton dust bag. Additional highlights include a heavy lucite basketball stand with beveled edges and engraved with the artist’s signature. Net proceeds from the sale will benefit Wiley’s artist-in-residence program Black Rock Sénégal, founded back in 2019. Purchase your own for $275 USD at the artist’s webshop.

For more on art, Pace Gallery LA presents new exhibition on Alexander Calder.

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