The official paintings of Barack and Michelle Obama are going on a whistle-stop tour. The Obama portrait tour will bring the works, which have been wildly popular with visitors since going on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2018, to five museums across the country, including LACMA.
LACMA will be the third stop for the paintings after they leave D.C.; the portraits are expected to be on view here from November 2021 to January 2022. Other stops on the tour include the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
The portraits by Kehinde Wiley, a native Angeleno, and Amy Sherald have become some of the most-visited works in the National Portrait Gallery. In the first year the images were on view, attendance at the museum jumped from 1.1 million visitors to 2.3 million.
“We call it ‘the Obama effect,’ but I think it was a little bit more than just those pictures. I think what happened was there was so much interest in them, but there was also an awakening across the country that the portrait gallery exists,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, told the Chicago Tribune.
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