- Art Institute of Chicago launch “The Obama Portraits” national tour.
- Painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald
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The Obama Portraits are coming! The Obama Portraits are coming! The Obama Portraits are coming to Chicago, as the first stop in the 5 city tour that begins on June 18 and runs through August 15, 2021 at the Art Institute of Chicago. When the Obama Portraits tour was announced back in January 2020 with excitement, the novel coronavirus was just beginning to spread around the world before it was declared a pandemic; no one realized how disruptive the coronavirus pandemic would become and how it would change the way in-person events and interaction was conducted. Though outside is set to “be open” this summer, many institutions like The Art Institute of Chicago that once relied heavily on traffic in the form of guest attendance are having to do things a bit different to accommodate and manage capacity as well as promote physical distancing.
The Art Institute of Chicago will release the first batch of tickets for guests that are non-members that want to see The Obama Portraits from June 18–June 30 in person. The first batch of tickets which includes the first free week, will be released this Friday, June 4, starting at 10:00 a.m. You must reserve your ticket online in advance. Members do not need tickets though entry will be first-come, first-served.
Through the eight weeks that “The Obama Portraits” will be at the Art Institute of Chicago, there’ll be a series of events and conversations around this. Kicking off with The Obama Portraits opening celebration, featuring Artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald on Thursday June 17. Celebrate the opening of The Obama Portraits tour with a brief virtual welcome from President Barack Obama, followed by a conversation with artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, President and Eloise W. Martin Director James Rondeau, and associate curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Jordan Carter. A virtual conversation with SilverRoom founder Eric Williams and artist/designer Brandon Breaux is scheduled to take place on June 24. On Tuesday June 30, Forever First Lady Michelle Obama will be in (virtual) conversation with Amy Sherald, moderated by Studio Harlem’s Thelma Golden.
The Obama Portraits, Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrayal of former first lady Michelle Obama, is the Smithsonian Museum’s official portraits of the 44th POTUS and FLOTUS, President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama. The portraits made their debut at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in February 2018. Visitors to The Art Institute of Chicago from Chicago and around the world will have the opportunity to experience the power and beauty of the iconic, celebrated works on view in the galleries for just eight weeks this summer. After the Art Institute of Chicago presentation, the portraits will travel on to the Brooklyn Museum—Brooklyn (Aug. 27, 2021–Oct. 24, 2021), Los Angeles County Museum of Art—Los Angeles (Nov. 7, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022), High Museum of Art—Atlanta (Jan. 14, 2022–March 13, 2022), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston—Houston (March 27, 2022–May 30, 2022).
Fun fact: The Art Institute was one of the places the couple visited on their first date.
Illinois resident will get a chance for FREE WEEK of admission, opening weekend, from June 18–25; tickets must be reserved online in advance. For NON-MEMBERS, access to The Obama Portraits is included in a general admission ticket (From $14.00 for Chicago residents); it does not require a separate exhibition ticket. You can also snag a Fast Pass ticket (from $29.00) to bypass the general admission lines.
General admission tickets for the eight-week period the portraits are on view will be released in batches to provide multiple opportunities for visitors to get tickets.
Tickets for June 18–30—including the first free week for Illinois residents—will be available on June 4.
Tickets for July 1–15 will be available in late June.
Tickets for July 16–31 will be available in early July.
Tickets for August 1–8 will be available in late July.
Tickets for August 9–15 will be available in early August.
Leadership support is contributed by Illinois Tool Works and the Leadership Advisory Committee of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Major funding is provided by the Blanchard-Nesbitt Family; Suzette and Ally Bulley; Francesca and Liam Connell; Anne and Don Edwards; Paul, Dedrea, and Ian Gray, In the Works Foundation; Guida Family Foundation; Cheryl and Eric McKissack; and Peggy A. Montes.
Special support is contributed by Ariel Investments, Julia Langdon Antonatos and Larry Antonatos, Caroline Brown and Cairy Saltwell Brown, Ann Collins, Kevann M. Cooke, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Nickol and Darrel Hackett, Mellody Hobson, Linda Johnson Rice, The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, the Langdon Neal Family, and Marisa Murillo.
Additional support is provided by Azeeza, Jozy Altidore, Don and Kristen Crawley, Chanel Coney, Javon Coney, Allison and Susan Davis, Andrea Ellis, Kyle and Ashley Gardner, Steven Galanis, Andre Iguodala, Olivia John, Jasmine Jordan, Deven Rand, Alexa Rice, and Sloane Stephens.
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