What to Know
- The "Obama Portraits Tour" is on view from Nov. 7, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022; "Black American Portraits" is on view from Nov. 7, 2021-April 17, 2022
- Tickets go on sale on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m.
- Both exhibitions are included with admission to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Traveling to Washington D.C. to visit the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's august collection of official presidential portraits?
Such a journey has long been a time-honored part of the American experience, with locals who live in the capital, history-minded tourists, and schoolkids on field trips regularly calling upon the grand gallery, all to see these large-of-scale look-backs at our country's past presidents.
It's a rarer moment when a presidential portrait makes that cross-country journey, giving Americans across the land an opportunity to view the paintings closer to their homes.
The "Obama Portraits Tour," which features the official portrait of President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley and the official portrait of Mrs. Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald, are currently on that journey around the nation.
The portraits of the former First Lady and our country's 44th president are visiting five cities in all while on tour, with the first viewing happening in the Obamas' hometown of Chicago, an event that began in June 2021.
Other destinations along the way have or will include Brooklyn, Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles.
The Southern California engagement opens on Nov. 7, 2021, alongside the exhibition "Black American Portraits." The "Obama Portraits Tour" will run through Jan. 2, 2022, while "Black American Portraits" will be on view through April 17, 2022.
A member preview of both exhibitions will happen from Nov. 4-6, 2021.
Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21.
"It is an honor for LACMA to be the West Coast venue of 'The Obama Portraits Tour,'" said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. "The Portrait Gallery's official portraits of President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley and First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald are powerful works of art."
"The colors and styles of the paintings are a fresh departure from the history of presidential portraiture, and these have become two of the most recognized artworks in the world."
"These portraits have already inspired millions of people and will be on view, side by side, for the diverse and multi-generational audiences of Los Angeles."
A book about the official portraits of the Obamas, published by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, will be available for purchase at the LACMA store.
"To complement the power and grace of Wiley and Sherald's paintings, 'Black American Portraits' centers Black love, abundance, family, exuberance, self-possession, and self-expression through over two centuries of African American portraiture," said co-curators Christine Y. Kim and Liz Andrews.
"Artists across time, geography, and diverse practices are represented in the exhibition, with attention to the work of many Los Angeles artists and figures."
"Paying homage to David Driskell's 'Two Centuries of Black American Art,' presented at LACMA almost 45 years ago, this is an exhibition that celebrates community, agency, and self-representation."
For more information on both exhibitions, and purchasing tickets, visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's site now.
Credit: Amy Sherald, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, 2018, oil on linen, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the generous donors who made these commissions of the Obama Portraits possible and proudly recognizes them at npg.si.edu/obamaportraitstour. Support for the national tour has been generously provided by Bank of America.
Credit: Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama, 2018, oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © 2018 Kehinde Wiley. The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the generous donors who made these commissions of the Obama Portraits possible and proudly recognizes them at npg.si.edu/obamaportraitstour. Support for the national tour has been generously provided by Bank of America.