The Smithsonian Institution hasÂ always beenÂ considered one of most prestigious museums in the world.Â It houses some amazing worksÂ including the “Portraits of America’s Presidents.” So,Â what’s a more fitting way to kick off the inauguration weekend than with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery unveiling and inducting Shepard Fairey’s symbolic “Hope” image of Barack Obama. (previously announced here.) AM was invited to come along all-accessÂ and document the historic unveiling ceremony.
The elegant brunch reception in the Smithsonian courtyard preceded the unveiling as Shepard mingled with the “who’s who” that were in town for Inauguration week.Â From members of congress, to senators, to CEOs, everyone crowded around Shepard to express their excitement and their gratitude for his work on the campaign.
It was a moving moment as the museum unveiled the image that inspired a nation of voters. Afterwards, the media swarmed around the Shepard and Amanda Fairey as fans lined up to have their pictures taken with the stunning portrait of the soon-to-be President. As the reception came to a close, the museum handlers whisked away the portrait to it’s next destination: the “New Arrivals” wall. This was where Shepard “greeted” by a full team of security… fortunately for Mr. Fairey, he was wearing a suit. =)
Thanks to the generosity of art collectors Heather and Tony Podesta (in honor of Tony Podestaâ€™s mother, the late Mary K. Podesta), the “Hope” image will now be a part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian for future generations to experience. Martin Irvine of the Irvine Contemporary was credited for dedicating the timeÂ and effort to make this possible.
With a retrospective of Faireyâ€™s work opening on February 6 at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, (Don’t worry, we’re covering it) and works already represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, this historic induction into the SmithsonianÂ further cements Shepard Fairey’s place in art history.
AgainÂ weÂ congratulate Shepard Fairey for this tremendous achievement!