Obama

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Art

Official Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald

February 12, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley, oil on canvas, 2018. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., which was created in 1962 by an Act of Congress, is the only location outside of the White House with a collection of portraits of former United States Presidents. Today, Barack and Michelle Obama unveiled their likenesses, created by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively. The Obamas selected the artists—Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists to be commissioned for presidential portraits.

Wiley’s depiction of President Obama features the artist’s signature style of richly-hued background patterns setting a vibrant symbolic environment for the portrait’s subject. President Obama is surrounded by a carefully selected variety of foliage: jasmine, which represents Hawaii; African blue lilies for his father’s Kenyan heritage; and Chicago’s official flower, the chrysanthemum.  For Mrs. Obama’s portrait, Sherald engaged her distinctive combination of depicting skin tone in grayscale, offset by the sharply rendered full-color fabric of Mrs. Obama’s floor-length dress.

The Smithsonian shares with Colossal that the portraits will be on view to the public beginning Tuesday, February 13th. Wiley’s painting of President Obama will be permanently installed in the Portrait Gallery’s “America’s Presidents” exhibition, and Sherald’s portrait of Mrs. Obama will be displayed in the museum’s “Recent Acquisitions” corridor through November 2018. Sherald also has a solo show at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, which opens May 11, 2018.

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama by Amy Sherald, oil on linen, 2018. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

 

 



Art

Michael Murphy

September 28, 2011

Christopher Jobson

Michael Murphy’s solo show, LOOK, recently opened at gallery nine5 in New York. His artworks span a wide variety of media including multi-layered 3D sculptures, sound installations, and paintings with materials including nails, shadows, water, and sandblasted bullet-proof glass. Some of my favorite pieces are shown above, and you can see more in the show’s catalogue. Better yet, stop by gallery nine5 through October 6. (thnx, irina!)

 

 



History Photography

Barack Obama as a toddler. Dressed as a pirate.

April 20, 2011

Christopher Jobson

From an article in NY Times Magazine about his mother, “Obama’s Young Mother Abroad”. (via laughing squid)

 

 



Art Design

Stop the Violence Book

April 20, 2011

Christopher Jobson

The founder of design firm Thirst/Chicago, Rick Valicenti recently art directed this incredible book using the photography of Francois Robert from his series Stop the Violence. Each spread features an individual letter from the alphabet—compositions made of human bones arranged by Robert—in juxtaposition with a page from President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech from 2009. I just got my copy in the mail and the book is truly stunning. It’s 36 pages and over a foot tall. How much would you be willing to pay for such a killer publication? It’s free. Whoops, looks like you folks snapped up the last few copies. Published by Classic Color.