The choice of Kehinde Wiley to paint President Obama’s portrait has set off some complaints among a number of art world participants who cite Mr. Wiley’s use of a studio in China to produce much of his work.
But Michelle Obama’s choice of Amy Sherald has met with a glowing profile by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times:
The selection of Ms. Sherald, who typically depicts African-Americans doing everyday things — two women in bathing suits, a man holding a child — has historical significance. “It’s as if she’s saying, ‘Let’s be clear: the President and I are African Americans and proudly so,” Mr. Staiti said, “and these portraits are going to have an African-American vibe — they’re going to break out of that rather staid tradition. I think it’s important and I think it’s political,” he added, referring to Mrs. Obama’s choice.
After a Late Start, an Artist’s Big Break: Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait (The New York Times)