Monday, March 12, 2018

Visit to the Portrait Gallery

With all the rainy weekends we had last month I found a lot of indoor activities to keep me busy. You might have seen on the news that the Obama's official portraits were unveiled and now on display at the Portrait Gallery.  On the second floor of the museum is the "America's Presidents" exhibition which just reopened last fall with portrait paintings of all the Presidents. The line was so long to see Obama's portrait they had to move his portrait to the third floor. The line is to have your picture taken with his portrait, but if you don't want that, you can do a quick walk by picture like I did. The guards don't allow you to stop! lol There's a separate line for Michelle's portrait on the first level.

The Obamas' selected two African-American artists to paint their portrait. Michelle's portrait was painted by Amy Sherald who is a portrait artist who only paints African-Americans in paintings that address social justice. President Obama's painting is by Kehinde Wiley who has a similar background to Obama. Wiley was born to an American mother and Nigerian father and he did meet his father until he was an adult. He is a portrait painter who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of African-Americans. The floral background is full of chrysanthe­mums the official flower of Chicago, jasmine from Hawaii, and the African blue lilies are for his late Kenyan father.

Also on exhibit through April 15, 2018, is the Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image. It's a photography exhibition celebrating the life and unconventional fashion of the German film icon.

My favorite long time exhibit is the Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, by Nam June Paik. It consists of  300 TV screens outlined by neon lights where the TVs in each state show clips from that state such as the Wizard of Oz and Martin Luther King. The pic below is from last year.

The museum has lots of interesting events. Last fall they had a Day of the Dead celebration with traditional Mexican dance and food. Last month they had events for the Chinese New Year celebration. Admission to the museum is free as are their events.

National Portrait Gallery
8th and F Streets NW (G street entrance has a handicap ramp, the other side of the building has a lot of steps)
Washington, DC 20001
11:30 AM - 7:00 PM daily
Closed December 25
There are free lockers to keep your coat. Backpacks are not allowed to be worn.

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