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THE BIG REVEAL. The White House hosted a ceremony on Wednesday for the unveiling of the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. For his, the former president tapped artist Robert McCurdy, who created a photorealistic painting. “Presidents so often get airbrushed, they even take on a mythical status,” the former president said, according to the Washington Post, as he explained his choice , adding that “presidents and first ladies are human beings like everyone else.” The former first lady’s was done by Sharon Sprung, who told the New York Times that Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden was involved in the interview process for the job. The Los Angeles Times reports that, in her own remarks, Michelle Obama said that “what we’re looking at today—a portrait of a biracial kid with an unusual name and the daughter of a water pump operator and a stay-at-home mom—what we are seeing is a reminder that there’s a place for everyone in this country.”
FIRST TO MARKET. On September 30, Sotheby’s is debuting a new sales format that will see see artists and galleries consign works directly to auction, Melanie Gerlis reports in her Financial Times column. “With the right work, at the right time, artists and galleries can directly capture the upside at auction, Noah Horowitz, the house’s head of gallery and private dealer services, told the FT. Among the participants are Kennedy Yanko (via dealer Jeffrey Deitch) and Vaughn Spann (via Almine Rech). Fifteen percent of the hammer price on each lot will go to a charity selected by the artist.
The pioneering ecological artist Newton Harrison died on Sunday at the age of 89. Along with his wife, Mayer Harrison, he made works that involved collaborating with experts in a wide array of fields, like biologists and architects. “The intention is to the improve that which is around me,” he once said. [Artforum]
Emmy nominees this year will receive a “swag bag” that includes a multi-day safari in East Africa and an NFT by River Kinney—“a nod to psychedelic art with a modern, surrealism pop culture twist in order to bring a metaphorical and overall ethereal experience to the human eye and mind,” per official literature. [PageSix]
Singer-songwriter Demi Lovato’s Los Angeles home in Studio City has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and artwork by Hannah Epstein, Yasmine Nasser Diaz, Monica Kim Garza, and Jen Stark (who contributed a trippy ceiling mural to what Lovato calls the “Shroom Room”). [Architectural Digest]
Typhoon Hannamnor, which hit South Korea earlier this week, resulted in damage to 32 cultural sites in the country, including Bulguksa Temple in the city of Gyeongju, where roof tiles were knocked to the ground and trees were uprooted. [The Korea Herald]
With the fall art season here, the artist profiles just keep coming. Today we have a bumper crop: Issy Wood in the Financial Times, Kenny Rivero in the New York Times, Hank Willis Thomas in WSJ Magazine, and Jadé Fadojutimi in the Guardian.
A COLLABORATION FOR THE AGES. The vaunted streetwear brand Supreme and the storied artist Pope.L have joined forces, releasing a series of T-shirts and skateboard decks. The new products have images of Pope.L engaged in one of his legendary performances, sporting a Superman costume and crawling through urban environments (with a skateboard strapped to his back, as it happens). In a promo video, the artist was even kind enough to offer some advice to young artists who are just starting out. “Get a job you, you fuckers,” he said. [@SupremeNewYork/Instagram]