Sunday, May 02, 2021

The Obama Portraits Tour

Shortly after the photo of the latest Past President of the USA lands at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the official commissioned portraits of the 44th President - Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama - will leave on a year-long tour of the United States.

The Obama Portraits Tour




The Official Obama Portraits Tour has been organised by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery with the aim of reaching many people who would otherwise be unable to see the portraits.

Travelling so soon after they were unveiled is unprecedented and is explained by the reaction to the at the time (this is a link to the official page about the original unveiling) and since.
From the moment of their unveiling at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., in February 2018, the official portraits of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama have become iconic. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former First Lady have inspired unprecedented responses from the public.

and 

After witnessing a woman drop to her knees in prayer before the portrait of Barack Obama, one guard said, "No other painting gets the same kind of reactions. Ever."
See also my blog post at the time The response to the Obama Portraits

The portraits are also the very first portraits of a President and his wife to be painted by African Americans - Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherrald

The five venues the Obama Portraits Tour is visiting for display are as follows. 
Links to the details are embedded in the title of the art gallery or museum.

The choice of cities have been chosen for a mix of reasons - including both geographical and personal connections to the Obamas or the artists.

The Obama Portraits Tour will also feature 
  • audio-visual elements, 
  • Portrait Gallery-led teacher workshops, 
  • curatorial presentations, and 
  • a richly illustrated book (National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press).

Exhibition Catalogue: The Obama Portraits


If you are interested in the two portraits and can't get to see the portraits at either the Smithsonian or any of the five venues the portraits are touring to, you might want to consider acquiring the catalogue.


Front cover of "The Obama Portraits"
by TaĆ­na Caragol, Dorothy Moss, Richard Powell and Kim Sajet

The links below are to Amazon and will help fund the replacement for Google shutting down feedburner for email subscriptions to this blog (when I identify it!)
Publication details:
  • co-published by the National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press
  • Hardcover : 
    • 152 pages
    • 76 color illustrations
  • Size: 7 x 9 inches

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