Friday, October 16, 2009

White House/White Cube — they’re one and the same for Obama

Ed Ruscha, I think I'll... 1983

In the past, presidents like Kennedy have always chosen antique portraits to decorate the White House. However, winds of change blow with Obama in the selection of works that will serve to embellish the presidential house.

The works, from Degas’s bronze dancer to Ed Ruscha’s word paintings, come from the National Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonsian American Art Museum.

“The American President, Barack Obama, wanted some great works of modern and contemporary art,” said Henry Cooper, senior curator of the National Gallery, who has worked in collaboration with the White House’s curator, Bill Allman, to realize these important installations. The collection of works is focused on some big names of postwar American painting, from Rothko and Diebenkorn to Edward Corbett, or more contemporary artists like Ed Ruscha and Susan Rothemberg.

Works like I Think I’ll (1983) and Maybe no, maybe yes by Rushca are very important, because they represent this historical moment divided between hope and uncertainty.
Is Obama representing an important change? Well, at least he is for White House art.