Exclusive: ‘The Obama Portraits Tour’ to come to San Francisco in honor of Juneteenth

“Barack Obama” by Kehin Dewiley, oil on canvas, 2018. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

Barak and Michelle Obama temporarily reside in San Francisco — or at least their admired portraits.

The portrait of Kehin Deweiry’s 44th President and the portrait of Amy Sheald’s former First Lady Michelle Obama will be on display at the De Young Museum from June 18th to August. 14, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announced on Wednesday, February 9th.

As part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s “Obama Portrait Tour,” the paintings will be exhibited at the American Art Gallery on the second floor. This will give free access to the museum’s permanent collection wings on Saturdays, when they will be held for free. Nine bay area counties. While watching, a movie about portraits will be screened on the second floor and below.

The portrait debuts in San Francisco the day before Juneteenth, a federal holiday celebrating the liberation of African-Americans enslaved in the United States.

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, said: “We are clearly pleased that this extension of the national tour will bring portraits to spectators in the San Francisco and Bay Areas.”

The portrait debuted at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC on February 12, 2018, and made history as the first portrait of the President and First Lady painted by an African-American artist. .. Kim Sadget, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said the general reaction to the painting was so great that the museum “lined up outside the door for months, effectively doubling our attendance. “.

The tour began in June 2021 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago had 3,800 visitors per day, with a total of 163,399 visitors during that period, and AIC’s average daily exhibition attendance was the highest in more than five years.

The portrait then moved to the Brooklyn Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The work is currently on display at the Atlanta Museum of Fine Arts until March 20th, and will be on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from April 3rd to May 30th. After spending time at De Young, they travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

“Michel Raborn Robinson Obama” by Amy Sheald, oil on linen, 2018. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

According to Sadget, a tour of the official presidential and first lady portraits after the unveiling is usually not part of the test run process, but the director said the five cities before San Francisco and Boston also added the work to the itinerary. ..

President Obama’s portrait of Wily shows sitting in front of a wall of green leaves dotted with iconic flowers. Roses represent eternal love. Jasmine used in traditional Hawaiian lei to represent Obama’s childhood in the state. Agapanthus refers to his paternal Kenyan heritage. And the official Chicago flower, Chrysanthemum, where Obama lived before being elected president in 2008.

Los Angeles-born artists are well-known for creating works that sublimate black subjects into a sort of heroic pose or expression commonly associated with formal European portraiture of the last century, often. Refers to the visual language of an old master.

Sherrard, on the other hand, is well known for drawing African-American subjects in everyday life. Her portrait of Michelle Obama shows the former First Lady against a sky-blue background staring into the distance. Designed by Millie brand Michel Smith, Obama’s white gown with black stripes and areas of color blocking is an African-African-American abstraction tradition in art, and the historically significant Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Seen as a reference to the geometric style of, made by the descendants of previously enslaved people.

After the artist’s new portrait of Obama was unveiled on Monday, February 12, 2018, artist Kehin Dewiley (left), former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, and artist Amy Sheald will be at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. It was held at. Photo: Pete Souza

Since Obama’s portrait debut, interest in portraiture in art has generally revived, and Obama’s portrait debate has reached popular culture in ways that are not normally related to art form.

“We want to think that we had those conversations much earlier than before these portraits actually appeared,” Sajet said. “But they put jet fuel on the pretty obvious point that you can’t imagine if you can’t see it. The portraits are very elite in favor of those who can vote, the white men who own the land. It’s an elitist art form. For example, less than 25% of the collection is of women. Going to African-Americans, they were once enslaved, or Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ + (subjects), formal. Make a portrait and do your best. “

Campbell initially asked the National Gallery to consider San Francisco as a tour stop and contacted Saddet, but said he was disappointed to find that the first five cities had already been selected.

“When they decided to extend the tour, she contacted me and said,’Are you still interested?'” Campbell said. “I actually fell off the chair.”

“Obama Portrait Tour”: From Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm. It will be displayed from June 18th to August. 14. $ 6-15. De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF415-750-3600. deyoung.famsf.org


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