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Obama Brings a Modern Touch to the White House's Artworks

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When President Barack Obama's term is complete, most will know him for his foreign policy and Obamacare and some will remember his Spotify playlist, while the more artistically focused will look back on his aesthetic impact to the White House. What "aesthetic impact," you might ask? Well, according to The New York Times, Obama has been replacing some of The White House's early 21st century artworks for more modern and contemporary pieces by artists like Mark Rothko and Robert Rauschenberg. Despite the changes, Bill Kloss, an art historian and a former member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, told The New York Times that Obama is still "trying to keep a sense of formality [in the White House]." In the end, the U.S. President has the utmost authority on what will and will not be displayed in the residence and offices, and he is able to pick and choose from the White House's permanent art collection, which includes about 500 paintings. Along with her husband, First Lady Michelle Obama has also impacted the art collection. Earlier this year, she added bold and colorful artworks by Josef Albers, Anni Albers, and others to the Old Family Dining Room. Many of these pieces are on loan from sources like the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Whitney Museum of American Art. These newest additions aren't the first modern artworks to ever grace the White House's halls, though. During the early 1990s, Secretary of State and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton hung the painting, "Bear Lake, New Mexico" by Georgia O'Keeffe in the Green Room during her time as first lady.
· For Obamas, a More Abstract Choice of Art [The New York Times]
· Michelle Obama Modernizes a Fusty White House Dining Room [Curbed National]
· An Illustrated History of the White House's Interior Design [Curbed DC]
· The Top Five Facts You Didn't Know About the White House [Curbed DC]
· Michelle Obama Unveils Revamped White House Dining Room [Curbed DC]
· From Taft to Obama, The Oval Office in Its Many Forms [Curbed DC]
· Here's Your Chance to Finally Decorate the Oval Office [Curbed DC]

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, , DC 20500