Outside Edge: Edward Helmore at the White House
Friday 28 October 1994
'Art is not a marginal luxury. It should be accessible to as many people as possible. Now the work of some of the finest American artists will be available to an entirely new audience,' she announced. 'The thousands of visitors who pass through the White House each day will be able to look out at the colonnade windows and will be able to share in the aesthetic beauty and the emotional power of these sculptures.'
The 12 sculptures on view were chosen from art museums in the mid-western states and subsequent shows will exhibit from the West, South and North-east. The show features a black-and-red mobile by Alexander Calder, two pieces by Manuel Neri dated 1921 and 1923, a voluptous woman by Lachaise Gaston, abstract works by Louise Nevelson, Ellsworth Kelly and Louise Bourgeois, figurative offerings from Paul Manship and George Segal as well as contemporary work by Richard Hunt and Judith Shea.
'I wish my parents were alive to see this,' Ellsworth Kelly remarked. 'My dad would have said, 'Wow.' '
'We selected almost equally from abstraction and figuration,' explained George W Neubert, the curator of the display and director of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden at the University of Nebraska.
'All evoke references to nature and the human figure to help the general public begin to understand the transition in American sculpture from forms with storytelling ideas to forms that have their own language.' Sculpture has a peculiar romantic resonance for the First Lady: her first date with Bill Clinton was a visit to the sculpture garden at the Yale Art Gallery.
Though traditional American painting and sculpture are a permanent part of White House decor, the current show is only the second time 20th-century art has been shown at the White House, the last time was a show of Andrew Wyeth paintings during the Nixon Administration. Depending on funding, it is hoped that the exhibition will continue throughout next year. 'I think it would be a real eye-opener for the American people,' insists J Carter Brown, chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts, under whose auspices the show was conceived.
'It would communicate the belief that art is part of life and part of the First Family's life.'
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 3 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 4 Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
Clarkson, Hammond and May Live: Top Gear presenters to appear on stage in new live format
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Menstruation-themed photo series artist 'censored by Instagram' says images are to demystify taboos around periods
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers