The Obama Portraits Have Landed at the Brooklyn Museum
Sep. 1, 2021
The Obama Portraits have landed at the Brooklyn Museum, after spending the past two months at the Art Institute of Chicago. Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald‘s prolific paintings of Barack and Michelle Obama have enchanted visitors since first exhibiting at Washington D.C.’s National Portrait Gallery in 2018. Commissioned by the Smithsonian, the portraits helped the institution smash attendance records by over a million people from the year before.
What is special about The Obama Portraits, according to Eugenie Tsai, the Brooklyn Musuem’s senior curator of contemporary art, is that these “representations commemorate the first Black President and First Lady with likenesses by two of the most innovative painters practicing today, who are also the first Black artists to be commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint presidential portraits.” The Obama’s aren’t the only presidents to fill the halls of the museum, Gilbert Stuart’s 1796 rendition of George Washington and Andy Warhol‘s sardonic screenprint of Richard Nixon, entitled Vote McGovern are also on view.
Presidential portraits have always remained succinctly similar to one another, by staying formal to the artistic traditions of classical European portraiture, with small symbols to depict the values of its subject. Wiley and Sherald present two works that uphold the “gravitas and grace of their powerful sitters while remaining true to their own distinctive and entirely contemporary artist visions,” Tsai added.
Check out both portraits as they view at the Brooklyn Museum until October 24. The paintings will then depart to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (November 5, 2021 to January 2, 2022), the High Museum of Art (January 14 to March 13, 2022), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (March 25 to May 30, 2022).
Elsewhere in art, “Listen to the Solitude” in Meguru Yamaguchi’s latest solo exhibition.
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