Yes We Can Be More Artistically Inclusive

Friday, May 29, 2009

Culture writer Lee Rosenbaum, blogger and contributor to the Wall Street Journal, and Dayo Olopade, Washington reporter at The Root, talk about the revamping of the White House art collection.


Dayo Olopade and Lee Rosenbaum

Comments [36]

David Jacobs from Beaverton, Oregon

Phil from Park Slope, I recentlly purchased one of your grandmother's paintings, signed Helen Huff. It is an Oil painting of a covered wagon with men on horses in a desert scene. I also found two paintings "A. Hoff". Is A. Huff a relative of yours also, as they were all together? I would email you directly, but don't have your email address available. Please write me at if you want to know more or want to comment on it. Thanks, Dave in Beaverton, Oregon.

Nov. 23 2012 08:13 PM
Michael Malm from LA

David Garibaldi would be a great artist for the White House.

Jul. 01 2009 11:56 PM
William C. Maxwell from Peekskill, NY


May. 29 2009 11:58 AM
Marcel from Beyond

Maybe they should start by commissioning a nice bronze sculpture for the White House garden.

May. 29 2009 11:37 AM
Claire Wilson from Manhattan East Mid-town

Or the quilts from Gee's Bend. They are a true representation of the quilt tradition.

May. 29 2009 11:02 AM
Jeffrey from upper west side

Or perhaps one of the large Brice Marden Cold Mountain paintings.

May. 29 2009 10:58 AM
Phil from Park Slope

My grandmother, Helen Hoff Aupperle, was a painter of note from Idaho who did many beautiful landscapes of the West, and portraits of the Native Americans that lived in the area in the early and mid-20th century. She captured many of their traditional ceremonies, and costumes as well as important people before their culture was completely displaced.

It would be great to see something in the White House that was not only beautiful art, but simultaniously representis a female artist, Native American culture, and the West.

May. 29 2009 10:56 AM
Ms. Sondra Brooks from Manhattan

I would suggest that the Obamas consider purchasing some of the meaningful photographic work of Gordon Parks. His contribution to views of AMerican black life is outstanding.
Additionally, the reproduction of his work in books has reached millions of folks.

AND, what about the powerful images of Jacob Lawrence who detailed the migration of southern blacks to the north in vivid paintings?

May. 29 2009 10:54 AM
Thea from Brooklyn, NY

I would love to see a Gees Bend Quilt hanging up in the White House.

May. 29 2009 10:51 AM
Hillary Frileck from Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Kehinde Wiley!!! Great Af. American artist!

May. 29 2009 10:51 AM
HCW from brooklyn


May. 29 2009 10:49 AM
David Penzel

The White House should have a pot from Dave the Slave, a pre-Civil War artist who was one of the most remarkable artists in American history, not least because he was a slave that could read and write.
His work is beautiful, and adorned with witty poems. If anyone deserves a place in the White House, it is him.

May. 29 2009 10:49 AM
Jeffrey from upper west side

I would like to see a huge Jackson Pollock canvas hung among the portraits.

May. 29 2009 10:49 AM
Jamie from Statem Island

I remember in my childhood a painting that had an impression on me, my public school had a painting of a Norman Rockwell,depicting an African American child in a white dress, being tossed tomatoes at while being integrated into a white school.

Spoke volumes to me as a child.

May. 29 2009 10:49 AM
AFisher from LIC

John Ahearn who has three fine works at Socrates.

May. 29 2009 10:48 AM

I'd like to see the Nabis painter Maurice Denis and or Lucien Freud in the permenent collection of the White House!

May. 29 2009 10:48 AM
Judith Targove from Highland Park, NJ

I'd like to see some prints by Jacob Lawrence,
Afr-American artist of the 20th century. There's one called "The Library" and several on manufacturing and trades. There's also the "Migration series," a semi-abstract series of paintings documenting the Afr-Amer movement of workers from the South to the North, which started in the mid thirties, I believe.

Haven't gay artists always been exhibited in museums?

May. 29 2009 10:48 AM
Claire Wilson from Manhattan East Mid-town

I suggest the works of Clementine Hunter, an African-AMerican female painter of the last century with a primitive, colorful style that depicts her life in Louisiana. Much of her work is in the hands of private collectors who knew her in her lifetime, but there is a vast store of works in Melrose Plantation in Louisian, somewhere near Nachitochish. (prounced Nack-it-ish)

May. 29 2009 10:48 AM
Sue from brooklyn

Are they considering works by artist Kara Walker?

May. 29 2009 10:48 AM
JIm from Brooklyn

Felix Gonzalez-Torres' work would be a good choice in the sense that it deals critically with complex social issues in the most personal, generous way possible.

May. 29 2009 10:48 AM
corinne from Brooklyn

What about political artists like Nancy Spero, Leon Golub and Jenny Holzer?

May. 29 2009 10:47 AM
JC from Brooklyn

Kadir Nelson

May. 29 2009 10:47 AM
kbinps from park slope

All the usual suspects. Like Jaspar Johns and Rauchenberg need promotion. Or Glenn Ligon etc. The art world is a bunch of lemmings with everyone thinking that they have an original and open minded vision as they promote the same old same old. All the museums today are like McDonalds- no matter where in the world you go you're going to consume the same meal. Hirst, Snchnabel, Johns, Dunham, Bleckner, Basquiat, and on and on.

May. 29 2009 10:47 AM
Bobby G from East Village

My opinion: Forget Glen Ligon. Basquiat YES, even Ellen Gallagher would be better than Ligon.

May. 29 2009 10:47 AM
A from BK

i like danno comment.

put up any keyinde wiley's depictions of urban life.

May. 29 2009 10:47 AM
L. from Brooklyn

Kara Walker! I cannot think of a more relevant artist on the subject of race and gender in our history. And her work is beautiful and technically perfect.

May. 29 2009 10:45 AM
Kevin Corrigan from oakland, nj

One thing I would like to see in the White House is the artwork of the Children of the White House. I'm not sure if they actually have this already; if not, they should. The White House represents among other things, family.

May. 29 2009 10:43 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

who cares about the race of an artist?? this is the problem!!! we are all the same! i don't listen to john coltrane because he was black- it's because his art was beautiful and great.

May. 29 2009 10:43 AM
Danno from Brooklyn

Re: Art in the Obama White House

Anything but Damien Hirst.
If they really want to vex Gingrich, Limbaugh, et al. they can hang a work by Frida Kahlo (proud wise latina and a sometime lover of Trotsky)

May. 29 2009 10:42 AM
Eileen from The Bronx

It is a painting by a dead white guy, but i think Obama should hang Pablo Picasso's "Guenercia" as a reminder of the true cost of war. Perhaps it will give him pause before ordering military action.

also Ralph Fasanella's populist work depicting immigrant neighborhoods. It would be a way to remind him of the work he did as a young community organizer.

May. 29 2009 10:41 AM

P.S.: I agree with Amy (1).

May. 29 2009 10:40 AM
sophie from manhattan

I would love to see 3-D pieces from the artist KAWS.

May. 29 2009 10:39 AM
George from Brooklyn

Shameless self promotion here, but I think Obama would really like my depiction of Lincoln. Doris Kerns Goodwin might be interested as well...

Thanks for talking about this!

May. 29 2009 10:39 AM

Diego Rivera.

May. 29 2009 10:38 AM
Rachel Somerstein from New York

Obama should put up one of the more-controversial pieces from the culture war of the 1980s, to show his renewed commitment to the NEA and the arts. I vote for Andres Serrano's Milk,Blood.

May. 29 2009 10:37 AM
Amy from Brooklyn, NY

The Obamas should integrate more American craft and design into the White House decor. They should also give gifts of American craft instead of electronics.

May. 29 2009 10:37 AM

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