The New York Times profiles the White House Curator William G. Allman and reveals the effect the Obamas’ taste in art is having on the institution. Hard to believe but the 20th Century is finally coming to the First Family’s home:
Before the Obama administration the list had not yet made its way, art-historically, up to Abstract Expressionism. It included Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and other lyrical 20th century realists, and, in the work of Arthur Dove, it dipped one toe tentatively into abstraction. (There are no purely abstract works in the collection now, though a Georgia O’Keeffe donated in 1998 plays with it.)
“We realized as we came into an administration that had more of an affection for abstract art that we really needed to update our list,” Mr. Allman said. So now that list is longer, about 50 artists, and includes New York School names like Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline, along with others like Robert Rauschenberg, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson.
The change has prompted Mr. Allman, 58, whose main expertise lies mostly in silver and furniture, to survey the 18th- and 19th-century portraits and landscapes on the house’s walls and for the first time to try envisioning something like Franz Kline’s volcanic black-on-white slashes hanging in their august company.
“Do we think those things are going to go together?” he said. “Hmm. Maybe not now, but that’s the nice thing about the kind of place this is, that maybe someday it will.”
This Museum Has a Lived in Look (New York Times)