Every U.S. president’s political vision comes with an artistic one, as well. As the New York Times reports, Barack Obama has broadened the scope of the White House’s art collection, replacing stuffy portraits with more modern and contemporary art.
The article specifically describes an instance in which the Obamas decided to replace a painting of Theodore Roosevelt’s wife with Robert Rauschenberg’s Early Bloomer [Anagram (A Pun)], 1998. Like other works in this series, which is currently one of the subjects of a show at New York’s Pace Gallery, the work features a number of collaged elements that appear to be disintegrating. The Obamas may have been attracted to that work in particular because of its color palette—red, white, and blue.
Other new additions to the White House have included two paintings by Alma Thomas and a work by Mark Rothko. However classy the decision to include work by these two American abstract painters may be, the Obamas aren’t immune to American kitsch either. They’ve also hung a 1946 Normal Rockwell painting of the Statue of Liberty near a Childe Hassam.