The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Museum display its exhibition “America’s Presidents” Gallery starting at Feb. 13rd, 2018, with newly commissioned portrait of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald to the public, along with celebration of Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary.
Kehinde Wiley is known for picturing young black people under portrait format. Amy Sherald’s familiar art form is with pale single-tone color as background to give big contrast with the main character in center. Both artists have been involved of political issues in their past art works.
Michelle Obama said in her remark, “I’m also thinking about all the young people — particularly girls and girls of color — who in years ahead will come to this place and they will look up and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution.”
She also mentioned, “I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives, because I was one of those girls.”
By the private ceremony in museum’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, it just unveiled the pale blue background portrait with Michelle Obama’s chin rested on her hand while looking far beyond. Of course, there is so much to tell through her eyes. Like what she said, how the future shapes will depend on the future generations.
On Tuesday, Feb, 13rd, there is already a big line around 3PM, and worth of at least 45 minutes waiting to take close look at the former president Barack Obama’s portrait, which is the first day open to the public.
“He and I make different sartorial decisions,” Mr. Obama was joking about Mr. Wiley’s bold and statement clothing choices, who wore black and white rectangle-shaped suit and straight black shirt inside.
Mr. Obama said, Mr. Wiley tried to pose him “with partridges and scepters and thrones,” even “mounting me on horses,”
he added further, “I had to explain that I’ve got enough political problems without you making me look like Napoleon.”
Founded by Congress in 1962, National Portrait Museum ties to show “Our collections present people of remarkable character and achievement. These Americans—artists, politicians, scientists, inventors, activists, and performers—form our national identity.”
“American’s Presidents” exhibition, the only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, tells the story of individuals who shaped the American history, development, and culture.
Wiley’s painting will be permanently installed in “America’s Presidents” of Portrait Gallery. Sherald’s painting will be on museum’s “Recent Acquisitions” corridor till early November.
National Portrait Gallery will be opened to public from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and admission is free. Address is 8th and F streets NW, Washington, DC, United States.