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Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Prepares for “The Obama Portraits Tour”

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Prepares for “The Obama Portraits Tour”

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced the final chance to view the popular portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald before it departs Washington, D.C., for a five-stop national tour, with Kehinde Wiley’s iconic portrait of President Barack Obama.

“The Obama Portraits Tour” will commence in Chicago June 18th and will continue across the United States through May 30, 2022, before returning to Washington. This is one of several national initiatives set by the Portrait Gallery to engage communities in the power of portraiture. Visitors hoping for a last look at the portrait of Michelle Obama before its departure can view the painting, alongside the featured gown designed by Michelle Smith’s label Milly, through May 23 as part of the special exhibition “Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States.” Free, timed-entry passes for all ages in accordance with social-distancing policies can be reserved at si.edu/visit/passes. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of former President Barack Obama is no longer on display and will be next exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago when the tour begins.

From the moment of their unveiling in February 2018, the Portrait Gallery’s commissioned portraits of the Obamas have inspired unprecedented responses from the public. As part of the museum’s mission to encourage conversations surrounding the power of portraiture and to engage communities nationwide, it has organized a tour to bring these paintings to millions of Americans who might not otherwise be able to visit the nation’s capital. “The Obama Portraits Tour” will also feature an audio-visual element, educational workshops, curatorial presentations and a richly illustrated book. The Obama Portraits (2020), co-published by the National Portrait Gallery and Princeton University Press, and other related merchandise can be purchased through the museum’s store at saamnpgstore.si.edu.

Tour locations:

  Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois—June 18, 2021–Aug. 15, 2021

  Brooklyn Museum, New York—Aug. 27, 2021–Oct. 24, 2021

  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California—Nov. 7, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022

  High Museum of Art, Atlanta—Jan. 14, 2022–March 13, 2022

  The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas—March 27, 2022–May 30, 2022

“The Obama Portraits Tour” is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. For more on the tour, visit npg.si.edu/obamaportraitstour. A complete list of the museum’s traveling exhibitions and locations can be found on the Portrait Gallery’s website. (Photo credit)

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