Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Obama's Taste in Art

My brother sent me this link with some pictures of the art pieces that the Obamas have selected for the White House. Before seeing these pictures, I had already read different commentaries on how Obama had selected mostly modern pieces for his walls. Although other first families have hung modern art before, no one has displayed as much modern art as the Obamas.

There are two articles from today (one from the Guardian and another from the London Times), which discuss how Obama's taste in art can be a reflection of his presidency and policies. I think it's interesting (and kind of humorous) that Obama picked this above painting, "I think I'll..." (Ed Ruscha, 1983) for the White House collection. If you can't tell, the subject of the painting deals with indecision.

I'm sure that the White House art is a reflection of the Obama family's taste, but I can't help but think about all of the political messages that the Obamas needed to consider in the selection process. What a headache that must have been! For example, I think it's likely that the selection of Alma Thomas' Watusi Hard Edge (1963) was chosen because Alma is an African American and female. Of course, the painting is really nice, but I wonder if its aesthetic was the primary motivation for selection. What do you think?

Although some pieces entered the White House earlier this year, some paintings have just recently arrived. The painting above, Rothko's No. 17/No. 15 (1949) is kind of in limbo right now; the Obamas aren't quite sure what to do with it. I hope they find a place for this painting. It's quite lovely. (Do you think there's a reason that the Obamas want a Rothko that is comprised of red, white, and blue? Maybe? Maybe not?)

What do you think of the Obama's art? Are there any pieces that stand out to you?