The portrait that came to symbolize the historic campaign of President Barack Obama
has made its permanent home only a few blocks from the White House at the National Portrait
Gallery. The piece, created by Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey, came to the museum through the
generosity of Washington, D.C., art collectors Heather and Tony Podesta, in honor of Tony Podesta’s
mother, the late Mary K. Podesta.
“This work is an emblem of a significant election, as well as a new presidency,” said Martin E.
Sullivan, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “Shepard Fairey’s instantly recognizable image was
integral to the Obama campaign. We are deeply grateful to the Podestas for their generosity.”
Fairey’s large-scale, mixed-media stenciled collage was the central portrait image for the
Obama campaign and was previously distributed as a limited-edition print and as a free download.
The collage was on view at the Portrait Gallery on Inauguration Day. It is currently installed on the first
floor of the museum in the exhibition titled “New Arrivals.”
Fairey’s work is represented by the Irvine Contemporary gallery in Washington, D.C. Fairey’s
works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2006, Gingko Press published a monograph on the
artist’s career, “Obey: Supply and Demand.” A retrospective of Fairey’s work will opened February 6 at the
Boston Institute of Contemporary Art.
Listen to an interview with artist Shepard Fairey (13:49)
Listen to NPG Deputy Director Carolyn Carr discuss the portrait (8:30)
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