Barack Obama’s Official Portrait Looks Like A Bad Acid Trip in 1970s Las Vegas


Hunter S. Thompson meets Barack Obama. At 4 a.m in the Circus Circus.

And someone with a keen eye for acid trips captures it on canvas. For the Smithsonian.

Or, if you’re a society type and not allowed to insult the artist, there’s always the official line:

The ever-enlightening cocktail circuit chatter from the New York Times:

With the unveiling here Monday at the National Portrait Gallery of the official presidential likenesses of Barack Obama and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, this city of myriad monuments gets a couple of new ones, each radiating, in its different way, gravitas (his) and glam (hers).

Ordinarily, the event would pass barely noticed in the worlds of politics and art. Yes, the Portrait Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution, owns the only readily accessible complete collection of presidential likenesses. But recently commissioned additions to the collection have been so undistinguished that the tradition of installing a new portrait after a leader has left office is now little more than ceremonial routine.

The present debut is strikingly different.


Quite different.


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