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LACMA to Host NPG Obama Portraits

While LACMA is sending some of its paintings to other institutions, it's getting two in return. The National Portrait Gallery has announced plans to tour its portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald respectively, to five American museums: the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, LACMA, High Museum of Art (Atlanta), and Fine Arts Museum of Houston. The LACMA run is scheduled for Nov, 5, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022.

When first unveiled in 2018 there was a one-hour line for selfies with Sherald's portrait of Michelle. Sherald said the dress's geometric patterns were inspired by Gee's Bend quilts and Mondrian. The gray skin was chosen to complicate readings of race. One critic compared it to Kerry James Marshall's A Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of his Former Self(1980)—an influential work that LACMA acquired last year and has yet to show on its main campus.

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