obama portraits

The Obama Portraits to Go on a One-Year, Five-City Tour Starting in June 2021

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If you missed out on Michelle Obama’s sold-out Becoming book tour, you will have another opportunity to connect with the first lady and her husband.

Their wildly popular portraits, currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery, will embark on a five-city tour in 2021. The paintings of President Barack Obama — by Kehinde Wiley — and first lady Michelle Obama — by Amy Sherald — have attracted millions to the gallery since their unveiling in February 2018. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists to be selected for the gallery’s portraits of a president or first lady.

The tour stops include:

  • The Art Institute of Chicago (June 18-Aug. 15)
  • The Brooklyn Museum (Aug. 27-Oct. 24)
  • The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Nov. 5-Jan. 2, 2022)
  • The High Museum of Art in Atlanta (Jan. 14-March 13, 2022)
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (March 25-May 30, 2022).

The cities were selected by the gallery for personal and geographical reasons. The Obamas have deep connections to Chicago and the paintings will be in the city when the former president celebrates his 60th birthday. Sherald grew up in Georgia, and Wiley was born in Los Angeles. Wiley’s studio is based in Brooklyn, and its museum has several of his works in its collection.

The tour announcement coincides with the publication of The Obama Portraits, an illustrated book from the Smithsonian Institution and the Princeton University Press that celebrates the portraits and their influence.

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