The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian opened a new exhibit, Americans Now, featuring the likenesses of famous names from science, business, government and the arts. President and Mrs. Obama are featured together but this is the first time the first lady’s individual portrait has been displayed at the gallery.
The exhibit was installed on Friday and will be open to the public until July 2011. Artists portrayed actor/rapper L. L. Cool J, Toni Morrison, Willie Nelson, Tom Hanks and other famous and not-so famous representations of America now. It is a multi-media exhibit relying on a variety of forms of expression from painting and drawing to digital and video projections.
New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas created the piece featuring Mrs. Obama, titling it Michelle O to draw a comparison between the first lady and Jackie Kennedy Onassis also known as Jackie O. Thomas’ style is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s famous portraits of people like Marilyn Monroe.