The Obama Portraits

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-25 21:01Z by Steven

The Obama Portraits

Princeton University Press
152 pages
7 x 9 in.
76 color illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691203287

Edited by:

Taína Caragol, Curator of Painting and Sculpture and Latino Art and History
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Dorothy Moss, Curator of Painting and Sculpture
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Kim Sajet, Director
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

From the moment of their unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in early 2018, the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama have become two of the most beloved artworks of our time. 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 attendance at the museum has more than doubled as visitors travel from near and far to view these larger-than-life paintings. 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.” The Obama Portraits is the first book about the making, meaning, and significance of these remarkable artworks.

Richly illustrated with images of the portraits, exclusive pictures of the Obamas with the artists during their sittings, and photos of the historic unveiling ceremony by former White House photographer Pete Souza, this book offers insight into what these paintings can tell us about the history of portraiture and American culture. The volume also features a transcript of the unveiling ceremony, which includes moving remarks by the Obamas and the artists. A reversible dust jacket allows readers to choose which portrait to display on the front cover.

An inspiring history of the creation and impact of the Obama portraits, this fascinating book speaks to the power of art—especially portraiture—to bring people together and promote cultural change.

Published in association with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

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Paintings Of Barack And Michelle Obama Unveiled At Portrait Gallery

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2018-02-12 19:38Z by Steven

Paintings Of Barack And Michelle Obama Unveiled At Portrait Gallery

National Public Radio

Camila Domonoske

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand next to their newly unveiled portraits during a ceremony Monday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Brand new portraits of former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama — wearing matching calm, strong expressions — were revealed on Monday at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Kehinde Wiley painted Barack Obama sitting in a chair, elbows in his knees, leaning forward with an intense expression. The background, typical of a Wiley painting, is a riotous pattern of intense greens.

“Pretty sharp,” Obama said with a grin.

Amy Sherald, a Baltimore-based artist, painted Michelle Obama sitting in a floor-length gown, chin on her hand, looking directly at the viewer with a calm, level gaze.

The paintings, like the presidency they honor, are a historic first. Wiley and Sherald — both already famous for their portraits of black Americans — are the first black painters to receive a presidential portrait commission from the museum…

Read the entire article here.

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Barack Obama [Recent Acquisition of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery]

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, United States on 2018-02-11 17:28Z by Steven

Barack Obama [Recent Acquisition of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery]

National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C.

Title: Obama “HOPE” Portrait
Artist: Shepard Fairey, born 1970
Copy After: Mannie Garcia, born 1953
Sitter: Barack Hussein Obama, born 4 Aug 1961
Date: 2008
Type: Collage
Medium: Hand-finished collage, stencil, and acrylic on heavy paper
Dimensions: Sheet: 176.7 x 117.5 cm (69 9/16 x 46 1/4″)
Frame: 187.3 x 127 x 5.1 cm (73 3/4 x 50 x 2″)
Credit Line: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection in honor of Mary K. Podesta
Rights: ©Shepard Fairey/
Object number: NPG.2008.52
Culture: Barack Hussein Obama: American\African American
Exhibition Label: Forty-fourth president
Shepard Fairey’s Barack Obama Hope poster became the iconic campaign image for the first African American president of the United States. Early in 2008, the Los Angeles–based graphic designer and street artist designed his first Obama portraits, with a stenciled face, visionary upward glance, and inspiring captions. The artist’s intention that the image be widely reproduced and “go viral” on the Internet exceeded his greatest expectations. Campaign supporters and grassroots organizations disseminated tens of thousands of T-shirts, posters, and small stickers; Fairey himself produced mural-sized versions; and a free, downloadable graphic generated countless more repetitions. In this fine-art version of that unprecedented and powerful campaign icon, Fairey incorporated the familiar heroic pose and patriotic color scheme. But he translated the portrait into a collage with a rich, elegant surface of decorative papers and old newsprint.
Data Source: National Portrait Gallery

For more information, click here.

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The Black List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Posted in Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2012-01-10 06:26Z by Steven

The Black List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Eigth and F Streets, NW
Washington, D.C.
Open daily: 11:30-19:00 ET
2011-10-28 through 2012-04-22

Curator: Ann Shumard
Historian: David C. Ward

 Maya Rudolph, 2008 Slash [Saul Hudson], 2007 Angela Davis, 2008 Colin Powell, 2007
Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders — Individual prints are Epson inkjet prints, 147.3 x 111.8 cm (58 x 44 in.)

What is a “black list”? The dictionary defines it as “a list of persons who are disapproved of or are to be punished or boycotted.” But imagine if the black list were a roll call of distinction rather than of disenfranchisement? What if being on the black list was a point of pride rather than dread? What if the black list could shed its negative connotation to become a term of affirmation and empowerment like black pride, black power, or black is beautiful?

These are some of the questions that prompted photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (born 1952) to embark on a portrait project to create an entirely new kind of black list—a visual “who’s who” of African American men and women whose intelligence, talent, and determination have propelled them to prominence in disciplines as diverse as religion, performing arts, medicine, sports, art, literature, and politics.

Although these individuals have traveled different paths to success, all share a deep-seated activism that has carried them over daunting obstacles and continues to be a driving force in their lives. If the new black list represents a chronicle of African American achievement, the fifty men and women pictured here surely merit inclusion on its rolls.

Artist Statement

On February 24, 2005, Toni Morrison was having lunch in my East Village kitchen. The conversation turned to “divas,” as Toni described the extraordinarily talented performers she had auditioned for her opera, Margaret Garner. “Timothy, we should do a portrait book on these women. “Call it . . . Black Divas.”

It got me thinking about all the African Americans I knew and had photographed. I made a list: Toni of course, David Hammons, Bill T. Jones, and Colin Powell quickly came to mind…

Read the entire Artist Statement here.

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Author Talk and Book Signing: Bob Luke

Posted in History, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2011-10-19 03:31Z by Steven

Author Talk and Book Signing: Bob Luke

National Portrait Gallery
Eighth and F Streets NW
Washington, D.C.
2011-10-19, 18:00-19:00 EDT (Local Time)

Bob Luke discusses and signs copies of The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues. Manley’s life played out against the backdrop of the Jim Crow years, when discrimination forced most of Newark’s blacks to live in the Third Ward, where prostitution flourished, housing was among the nation’s worst, and only menial jobs were available. Manley and the Eagles gave African Americans a haven, Ruppert Stadium. She was a force of nature—and, as Bob Luke shows, one to be reckoned with. From 1936 to 1948, she ran the Negro league Newark Eagles, which her husband, Abe, owned for roughly a decade. Because of her business acumen, commitment to her players, and larger-than-life personality, she would leave an indelible mark not only on baseball but also on American history.

For more information, click here.

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