Barack And Michelle Obama Portraits Revealed

Barack And Michelle Obama Portraits Revealed

Barack And Michelle Obama Portraits Revealed

Opinions on art, like politics, are passionate and fiercely held. Our conversation, conducted via email and lightly edited for flow, is below. The artist, Kehinde Wiley, explained that the flowers chart his path on earth. "I see people who have the vision and the intent to not only be great people, but great thought leaders". Sherald may be the portrait artist of "American people", and Obama, looking askance, leaning slightly, may want to be a part of that record, but she is also a symbol, an aggrandizement.

Very well-done, artists! And their selection shows that the Obamas have taste.

Kehinde Wiley is well-known for recreating famous paintings, but replacing the featured white person - often a noble or general - with a young black man. Wiley often met the men on the street, brought them into his studio, and had them pick a work to be painted into, the famously left-wing Village Voice reported in March 2015. The racializing schema of Sherald's work is to "exclude the idea of color as race", she has said, in her artist's statement.

However, the portraits received mixed reactions online and the art community has leveled some scathing critiques. Do you share that view?

Wiley's portrait of the former president doesn't go there. First, she paints skin tones in a gray scale more reminiscent of black-and-white photography than the colors that would strike us as "real" in a color photograph today. To retain a likeness, they had to be photographed, which was cheaper and more accessible. One wonders how the years in the White House-which, Michelle Obama reminded the country, had been built by slaves-affected her.

This cat-mom treats her cats' illnesses with cannabis.

"It's not supposed to "look like her" in the traditional sense of portraiture". Is it fundamental or irrelevant?

Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley / Oil on canvas, 2018 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Both portraits will hang in Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. alongside those of previous American leaders.

The Obama portrait fits within the same style. And, what is it?

He also takes paintings of saints and heroes of Old Masters and replaces the subjects with black men and women. Sherald has a significant career, but has only in her 40s emerged on the national stage.

Michelle also noted in her speech what it means for little black girls to see her portrait hanging in the gallery. "What did they say?" she asked to no one.

I think she was onto something.

Viewing of the portraits will be open to the public on Tuesday, February 13. A swelling vein on the left side of the president's face, and the intensity of his gaze, suggest the "doesn't suffer fools gladly" impatience that occasionally flashed from him, a marked contrast with the smiling and laughing photographic portraits by Chuck Close that have until now stood in for the official portrait in the "America's Presidents" exhibition.

Philip Kennicott, the Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic for The Washington Post, wrote that "The first lady inhabits a world of calm, clarity and Wedgwood-hued enlightenment".

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