When you're the president, you can pick anything from the Smithsonian collection to display in the White House (another civics lesson courtesy of Aaron Sorkin, thank YOU.) Here is what the Obamas picked! It's all modern and complex and exploration of the self through color and spatiality etc.
This is a painting about freedom and making out with Alice Waters and smoking pot (the green is the pot).
Albers, Homage To The Square: Midday
This meditation on the lunch hour is a forceful argument against the diagonal-cut PB&J.
Catlin, A Foot War Party in Council - Mandan
Oh great, the Obamas are already campaigning for Tulsa 2020. JUST STAY OUT OF IT, YOU GUYS.
De Stael, Nice
It was Red Square's first day at her new school, and she was pretty nervous, because primary colors are generally second class citizens, but Black Square and White Square invited her to the cool lunch table, and post-racial America was complete.
Ruscha, I Think I'll...
This is a painting about Hamlet.
Picasso, Blue Vader
The artist confronts Vader's duality through dimension and flute-playing. (Via)
Kosma, Blow Job
The performance art piece plays on loop outside David Axlerod's office.
Doran, Clubbin' Baby Seals
An exploration of death, through seals and disco. This is the artist's first use of neon. (Via)
Van Gogh, Where The Wild Things Are
Obama likes Arcade Fire just as much as you do. (Via)