Kehinde Wiley, one of the the most significant young artists working today, unveiled the latest in his series World Stage last week at The Jewish Museum. The greater project is devised to endow status on young, urban subjects by painting them in the grand tradition of nobles, saints, and colonial rulers.

The fifth in the World Stage series focuses on Israel. Whiley scouted discos, malls, and more to find his subjects. The new portraits, completed since 2010, find his figures painted against rich backgrounds inspired by traditional Jewish papercut from the Museum's collection. To contextualize Wiley's process, curator Karen Levitov hung the paintings alongside papercuts and textiles from the collection chosen by Wiley himself.

The exhibition is a triumph of fusing contemporary culture with art historical reference. The works are on view through March 9, 2011.

Above is shown Alios Itzhak, a nine foot portrait of a young Jewish Ethiopian-Israeli man that was acquired by The Jewish Museum and served as the impetus for this exhibition.

Credit: Kehinde Wiley, Alios Itzhak (The World Stage: Israel), 2011, oil and gold enamel on canvas. The Jewish Museum, New York; Purchase: Gift of Lisa and Steven Tananbaum Family Foundation; Gift in honor of Joan Rosenbaum by the Contemporary Judaica, Fine Arts, Photography, and Traditional Judaica Acquisitions Committee Funds, 2011-31.  © Kehinde Wiley.  Courtesy Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California.

Check out Highlights From Kehinde Wiley/The World Stage: Israel.