Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Obamas have chosen Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald: one established artist, one on her way

By Roberta Smith
The painter Kehinde Wiley, in 2015, depicts his subjects with flamboyance and historical sweep. Barack and Michelle Obama have chosen him to create Mr. Obama’s official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery. Credit Chad Batka for The New York Times
Barack and Michelle Obama don’t like to waste an opportunity, in word or action, to make larger points about contemporary life and culture. In that vein, their choices of artists for their official portraits in the collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery shine a spotlight on the state of American art. In their selection of Kehinde Wiley, for Mr. Obama’s likeness, and Amy Sherald, for Mrs. Obama’s, announced Friday, the Obamas continue to highlight the work of contemporary and modern African-American artists, as they so often did with the artworks they chose to live with in the White House, by Glenn Ligon, Alma Thomas and William H. Johnson, among others.  [More]
Amy Sherald, the first woman to win the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, in 2016, is painting Michelle Obama’s official likeness. She is shown with her prizewinning oil, “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)" from 2013. Credit Paul Morigi/Associated Press for National Portrait Gallery