The official portraits of former U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama we’re unveiled Monday at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. It’s a tradition for outgoing presidents to have their portraits painted and hung in the museum for posterity. For official portraits, the paintings of the Obamas are remarkable, formidable works of art on their own, visually arresting and groundbreaking in style and provenance for the genre.
President Obama’s portrait was painted by a Brooklyn-based African-American artist from Los Angeles, Kehinde Wiley, whose work we’re fans of and we’ve posted here before. The First Lady’s portrait was also painted by an African-American artist, the Baltimore-based painter Amy Sherald.Continue reading →
The graphic on this t-shirt is a cute mashup of one of modern China’s greatest political leaders Mao Zedong (sometimes written as “Tse-Dong”), a.k.a., “Chairman Mao,” and one of America’s most popular modern presidents, Barack Obama. Thus “Oba Mao.”
This cheeky mural on the side of liquor store on Normandie Avenue in Hollywood depicts current U.S. President Barack Obama fencing. Unfortunately the camera angle wasn’t wide enough to show his fencing opponent on the left, Russian President Vladimir Putin. The idea of Obama and Putin physically battling each other as fencers is perhaps an apt metaphor for current US-Russia political relations and the nature of geo-political engagements between world powers. The mural is by Art Via Art.
In 2008 street artist and designer Shepard Fairey created a colorful poster depicting then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama with a single-word message “Hope” written on it. The image had a graphic, illustrative quality and was based on a press photo of the candidate. The poster was an instant classic of graphic design and became an important piece of the Obama campaign’s visual communications arsenal. Obama’s winning of the 2008 election sealed the poster’s iconic status. Eight years later, in the final year of Obama’s presidency, we stumbled upon an updated version of the same poster image on a rubbish bin in Venice, Los Angeles. Now the same iconic image is rendered in black-and-white version and instead of “Hope,” the word “History” is written across the bottom. The phrase “dustbin of history” comes to mind. Is the fact that the sticker is on a garbage bin a political statement?