Obama Chooses Artist For Coolest Official Presidential Portrait Ever

Barack Obama has chosen artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his presidential portrait for the Smithsonian, and it will probably end up being the coolest portrait of a president there (okay, Kennedy’s is pretty cool, too). Wiley, who is the first black artist to paint a presidential portrait for the Smithsonian, paints black men and women in the style of classical paintings, often in front of a millefleur tableau. 

And because the paintings are based on works from Renaissance and Baroque eras, many of Wiley’s subjects are seen on horseback. Which might be a cool as hell choice for Wiley to make with Obama’s portrait, even if it would result in some Republican eye-rolls.

Though Wiley often paints ordinary men and women, he isn’t a stranger to making portraits of famous people. Previously he’s painted the Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Ice T, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and Michael Jackson.

Michelle Obama also picked a black painter, Baltimore artist Amy Sherald, with her own striking contemporary style. Both paintings will be unveiled next year, according to Jezebel.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

Definitely worth a trip to the museum, right?

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Justice Official Quits Due To White House Conduct

A top Justice Department official has quit, saying that she could no longer hold companies to standards that Donald Trump is not meeting.

Hui Chen, a corporate crime expert in the fraud unit of the DOJ’s criminal division, discussed her reasons for leaving in a June 25 post on LinkedIn.

“Trying to hold companies to standards that our current administration is not living up to was creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome,” she said in the post. “To sit across the table from companies and question how committed they were to ethics and compliance felt not only hypocritical, but very much like shuffling the deck chair on the Titanic.”

She continued: “Even as I engaged in…questioning and evaluations, on my mind were the numerous lawsuits pending against the President of the United States for everything from violations of the Constitution to conflict of interest, the ongoing investigations of potentially treasonous conducts, and the investigators and prosecutors fired for their pursuits of principles and facts.”

Chen added: “Those are conducts I would not tolerate seeing in a company, yet I worked under an administration that engaged in exactly those conduct[s]. I wanted no more part in it.”

Since quitting, Chen has been vocally critical of the Trump Administration, especially on Twitter:

Many have applauded Chen for following her conscience:

Although some wish she would have stayed:

Perhaps more will follow Chen’s lead:

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