ATLANTA, August 25, 2021 — The High Museum of Art presents the portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively, as part of “The Obama Portraits Tour,” organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The portraits will be on view Jan. 14 to March 20, 2022, in the High’s Stent Family Wing special exhibition galleries.
“We are honored to present these portraits as the exclusive Southeastern venue for the tour and to afford our audiences an intimate experience with the works,” said Rand Suffolk, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director. “They demonstrate the incredible talents of Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, two artists the Museum holds in high esteem, and serve as important records of a historic period in our nation’s history.”
“We view the country as our community and believe in the power of portraiture to encourage both empathy and inspiration across audiences,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “‘The Obama Portraits Tour’ is an opportunity to meet people where they are, in collaboration with our peer institutions, and offer audiences in different parts of the United States an opportunity to see these portraits firsthand.”
In addition to the portraits, the exhibition will feature an approximately eight-minute video providing background on the commissioning of the portraits by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and putting them into the context of the national collection of presidential portraits. During the run of the exhibition, the High will present public programs including a conversation with the exhibition curators, host student field trips, and offer teachers professional development opportunities presented in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.
The Portrait Gallery holds the nation’s only complete collection of U.S. presidential portraits that is accessible to the public. It began commissioning presidential portraits in 1994 with George H.W. Bush and commissioned its first portrait of a First Lady in 2006 with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The paintings by Wiley and Sherald are the subject of a richly illustrated book, “The Obama Portraits” (2020), which delves into the making of these two artworks. Published by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in partnership with Princeton University Press, the book, along with merchandise inspired by the artworks, can be purchased at the High Museum Shop and online at museumshop.high.org.
The tour commenced June 18, 2021, at the Art Institute of Chicago and continues through May 30, 2022. Additional tour locations include the Brooklyn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery recognizes the lead donors to the Obama portraits: Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg; Judith Kern and Kent Whealy; Tommie L. Pegues and Donald A. Capoccia; Clarence, DeLoise and Brenda Gaines; The Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows; Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker; and Catherine and Michael Podell. “The Obama Portraits Tour” is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Support for the national tour has been generously provided by Bank of America. For more on the Portrait Gallery and the full tour schedule, visit npg.si.edu/obamaportraitstour.
High Museum of Art Ticketing Information
Tickets to “The Obama Portraits Tour” will be $8.25 each for the High’s members and $16.50 each for Museum Pass holders and the general public (ages 6 and over).* Admission is free for ages 5 and under, but reservations are required. The ticket includes access to the entire Museum.
Due to the nature and popularity of the exhibition, tickets will be sold for specific time slots. Advance tickets must be purchased through the High’s website. There are no refunds or exchanges for exhibition tickets, and tickets are nontransferable.
Museum members will have the first chance to purchase tickets from Oct. 11 to Oct. 15, 2021, with ticket sales open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until member tickets are sold out. Museum Pass holders may purchase tickets beginning on Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. and ending on Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. To be eligible to purchase a member ticket, guests must sign up as a Member by Oct. 1, 2021. To be eligible for a Museum Pass ticket, guests must sign up as a Museum Pass holder by Oct. 8, 2021. General admission tickets for “The Obama Portraits Tour” will become available Oct. 25, 2021, until all timeslots are reserved.
During the run of the exhibition, the High will host four free days, when admission is complimentary for all guests (reservations required). Those dates will include two Second Sundays (Feb. 13 and March 13, 2022), President’s Day (Monday, Feb. 21, 2022) and March 9, 2022. Reservations for these dates will be available later this year.
A list of FAQs is posted on the High’s website, which includes more specifics about ticketing and tips for planning your visit.
*Except for admission during Friday Jazz and HIGH Frequency Friday events, which have a higher ticket price, and on free admission days (see above).
Exhibition Organization and Support
“The Obama Portraits Tour” is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C. Support for the national tour has been generously provided by Bank of America. This exhibition is made possible by funding from Lead Supporter Mack Wilbourn, funders Kent and Tamara Kelley and Sally and Allen McDaniel; Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters ACT Foundation, Inc., Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot, Dr. Joan H. Weens Estate, and wish foundation; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter Robin and Hilton Howell; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters The Antinori Foundation, Corporate Environments, The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation, and Elizabeth and Chris Willett; and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Farideh and Al Azadi, Sandra and Dan Baldwin, Lucinda W. Bunnen, Marcia and John Donnell, Mrs. Peggy Foreman, Helen C. Griffith, Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, Joel Knox and Joan Marmo, Dr. Joe B. Massey, Margot and Danny McCaul, The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust, Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller, The Fred and Rita Richman Fund, In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens, USI Insurance Services, and Mrs. Harriet H. Warren. Generous support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.
About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 18,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org.
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DIGITAL IMAGES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Marci Tate Davis
High Museum of Art
Manager of Public Relations