White House gets an 'arty' makeover

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London, Oct 8 (ANI): US President Barack Obama and wife Michelle have given a makeover to White House with some modern and abstract artwork.

The landscapes, still life and portraits of the past have been replaced by bold colours, irregular shapes and squiggly lines.

The abstract works by modern art icons Jasper Johns and Mark Rothko, as well as sculptures by Degas, are sharing hanging space with contemporary African-American and Native-American pictures by relatively obscure artists.

Patent models for a gear cutter and a steamboat paddlewheel have also found a place in the Oval Office.

Michelle has borrowed some 45 works from local museums to decorate both their private living quarters and the public spaces of the East and West Wings.

The Obamas have decked their living room with Glenn Ligon's Black Like Me No. 2, a 1992 "text painting" that reproduces some of the contents of Black Like Me, a 1961 book by a white man who travelled the American South disguised as a black man.

Michael Smith, the Obamas' decorator visited Harry Cooper, curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery in Washington, shortly before Barack's inauguration to see what could be borrowed.

"The First Lady had clear ideas about what they were aiming for. They knew their tastes, and Michael Smith knew a lot about their tastes," the Telegraph quoted William Allman, the White House curator, as saying.

Praising Obamas' modern taste, Allen said other recent first families hung a few modern pieces in their living quarters but none approached the scope of the Obamas.

Richard Feigen, a New York art dealer, described the list as "highly sophisticated", adding: "We're encouraged as far as the art world. We feel we have someone now in the White House who is saying that culture is an important part of this country." (ANI)

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