DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center (NPG) -- Exhibit: America's Presidents Temporary Installation (incl Hindsight is Always 20/20):
Bruce Guthrie Photos Home Page: [Click here] to go to Bruce Guthrie Photos home page.
Description of Pictures: America's Presidents Temporary Installation
March 24, 2017 – September 4, 2017
While the regular gallery space is being refurbished and updated, America’s Presidents will be temporarily installed in the west gallery on the second floor. The exhibition will move back into the newly refreshed gallery spaces and reopen Sept. 22, 2017.
We are excited to announce that the temporary installation will include “Hindsight is Always 20/20” by contemporary artist Luke DuBois. DuBois has generated “word clouds” with words and phrases from the state of the union addresses of 41 presidents. He then presents them in order of most frequent to least frequent word in the form of an eye chart for each president. The result is a startlingly clear snapshot of the lexicon of each presidency, containing a mix of key words and rhetoric unique to each president and the time period in which they served. The words amplify the story that we tell about the presidents by highlighting how the issues of the day became part of Americans’ political dialogue and vocabulary. The installation will allow us to marry words with images in a way that is both educational and aesthetically appealing.
Recognize anyone? If you recognize specific folks (or other stuff) and I haven't labeled them, please identify them for the world. Click the little pencil icon underneath the file name (just above the picture). Spammers need not apply.
Copyrights: All pictures were taken by amateur photographer Bruce Guthrie (me!) who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the [Creative Commons] definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. (Commercial use folks including AI scrapers can of course contact me.) Feel free to use in publications and pages with attribution but you don't have permission to sell the photos themselves. A free copy of any printed publication using any photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
Accessing as Spider: The system has identified your IP as being a spider. IP Address: 188.8.131.52 -- Domain: Amazon Technologies
I love well-behaved spiders! They are, in fact, how most people find my site. Unfortunately, my network has a limited bandwidth and pictures take up bandwidth. Spiders ask for lots and lots of pages and chew up lots and lots of bandwidth which slows things down considerably for regular folk. To counter this, you'll see all the text on the page but the images are being suppressed. Also, some system options like merges are being blocked for you.
Note: Permission is NOT granted for spiders, robots, etc to use the site for AI-generation purposes. I'm sure you're thrilled by your ability to make revenue from my work but there's nothing in that for my human users or for me.
If you are in fact human, please email me at email@example.com and I can check if your designation was made in error. Given your number of hits, that's unlikely but what the hell.
Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
SIPGTP_170325_001.JPG: America's Presidents
SIPGTP_170325_003.JPG: Hindsight is Always 20/20
Luke DuBois is a true twenty-first century polymath. Although he earned graduate degrees in music composition, he teaches in several departments at NYU. In Hindsight Is Always 20/20, DuBois has generated "word clouds" by taking words and phrases from State of the Union addresses. The portfolio contains a single eye chart for each president from George Washington to George W. Bush (except William Henry Harrison and James Garfield, who did not give State of the Union addresses). Instead of the typical eye chart characters, however, DuBois uses words drawn from the presidents' speeches, in order of the most to least frequently used word. The result is a startlingly clear snapshot of the lexicon of each presidency, containing a mix of historically topical keywords and rhetoric unique to the presidents and their names.
SIPGTP_170325_006.JPG: 1921 William McKinley
SIPGTP_170325_008.JPG: 1911 William Howard Taft
SIPGTP_170325_011.JPG: William McKinley, 1843-1901
Twenty-fifth president 1897–1901
Like other presidents elected during the post–Civil War era, William McKinley served in the Union army, where he rose from private to major. He then progressed from U.S. representative to governor of Ohio, and finally, to president. In the 1896 election, he defeated the populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan in a landslide victory, thereby cementing the Republican Party's conservative pro-business platform. The Spanish-American War, which lasted from April to August of 1898, was conducted under the pretext of freeing Cuba. The war guided much of McKinley's foreign policy and resulted in the United States acquiring the territories of Guam, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico -- marking the young nation as a budding global power. After his reelection in 1900, McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, underscoring the unending social and political unrest of the 1890s. McKinley is remembered for his patience and kindness, and for the dedication he showed his wife, Ida, who struggled with epilepsy and the deaths of their infant daughters.
August Benziger, 1897
SIPGTP_170325_016.JPG: Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919
Twenty-sixth president, 1901–1909
An outsize personality who preached the benefits of the "strenuous life" while also being among themost learned of presidents, Theodore Roosevelt gained national prominence as a civil service reformer, a hero of the Spanish-American War, and a proactive governor of New York. After William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt took office and initiated one of American history's most reform-oriented presidencies. His contributions would include implementing efforts to conserve the nation's disappearing natural heritage, instituting some of the first significant curbs on the excesses of big business, and building the Panama Canal.
Despite having progressive views on labor and consumer issues, Roosevelt maintained conservative views on a number of social issues. For example, he felt convinced that a declining birthrate among old-stock Americans threatened the nation as a whole and therefore opposed immigration, birth control, and the redefinition of women's roles. Roosevelt was a fascinating bundle of contradictions, above all as a patrician who realized that unless essential reforms were initiated by government, American democracy was likely to fail.
Adrian Lamb, after Philip de Laszlo, 1967, after the 1908 original
SIPGTP_170325_023.JPG: William Howard Taft, 1857-1930
Twenty-seventh president, 1909–1913
William Howard Taft felt determined to follow in the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt, particularly with regard to implementing domestic reform, but Taft -- an indecisive leader -- was largely unsuccessful in meeting this goal. When he presented his tariff reform package, Congress put forth more than eight hundred amendments that made it almost impossible to pass, and he did nothing to object. He did, however, achieve one significant reform legislation, the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910, which regulated destructive competition and unfair trade practices.
Also, ninety-nine trust prosecutions were conducted while he was in office. Nevertheless, when Taft was halfway through his presidency, he had become heavily influenced by conservative businessmen who criticized the effects of trust-busting on the national economy. In the end, he reversed his position on tariff reform and therefore alienated progressives who viewed high tariffs as the worst offending characteristic of trusts.
William Valentine Schevill, c 1910
SIPGTP_170325_029.JPG: Woodrow Wilson, 1856-1924
Twenty-eighth president, 1913–1921
Elected president after earning a sterling reputation as the governor of New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson remained committed to curbing abusive business practices and improving conditions for workers. In the wake of World War I, he tried to create a world order that would choose to prioritize peace over national self-interest, but his idealism was dismissed, both at home and abroad. The frustration Wilson felt from this rejection was compounded by his failure to convince his own country to support the League of Nations, an international organization he had conceived of as a means for avoiding future wars. He suffered a stroke in 1919 while campaigning for American entry into the League and left office in 1921, broken in both health and spirit. Wilson is most often remembered as a champion of liberal values, but recent scrutiny has drawn attention to his regressive actions with regard to women's voting rights and other civil liberties. In June 1919, John Christen Johansen, a Danish born artist living in Chicago, made portraits of the dignitaries during the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles. This sketch, which he made for a larger group portrait, depicts Wilson just months before his stroke.
John Christen Johansen, c 1919
SIPGTP_170325_032.JPG: Warren G. Harding, 1865-1923
Twenty-ninth president, 1921–1923
On November 2, 1920, less than three months after the nineteenth amendment had been signed into law, men -- and women -- elected Warren Harding to serve as their president. The former governor and senator from Ohio, who entered the White House following an era of upheaval, promised to restore "normalcy" after a period marked by sweeping social reforms and World War I.
Under Harding's leadership, the U.S. dampened a naval arms race with Japan and Great Britain, but in doing so, it agreed to provisions that in effect ceded naval control of the western Pacific to the Japanese, and that set the stage for future conflicts. Harding, who was an inept judge of character, is often criticized for having trusted corrupt cronies with positions of power. Scandals plagued his administration, but because he died in office just as the accounts of wrongdoing were surfacing, they remain opaque.
Margaret Lindsay Williams, 1923
SIPGTP_170325_038.JPG: Calvin Coolidge, 1872-1933
Thirtieth president, 1923–1929
At a time that saw the growth of big government and an increasingly powerful presidency, Calvin Coolidge stands out as the last genuinely "small government" conservative to serve as president. He was famously taciturn, earning the nickname "Silent Cal," and his demeanor informed a governing philosophy that eschewed intervention except in a civil emergency.
As governor of Massachusetts, his handling of the Boston police strike of 1919, an emergency that called for executive leadership, made him an attractive candidate for national office, and he became Harding's vice president in 1921. Following Harding's sudden death in 1923, Coolidge ascended the presidency, and his manner and personal rectitude helped restore the people's trust in the government after the scandal-ridden Harding administration.
Joseph E. Burgess, after Ercole Cartotto, 1956
SIPGTP_170325_046.JPG: 1927 Calvin Coolidge
SIPGTP_170325_053.JPG: Jimmy Carter 1978
SIPGTP_170325_056.JPG: 1901 Theodore Roosevelt
SIPGTP_170325_059.JPG: 1896 Grover Cleveland
SIPGTP_170325_065.JPG: 1931 Herbert Hoover
SIPGTP_170325_067.JPG: 1962 John F Kennedy
SIPGTP_170325_070.JPG: 1953 Harry Truman
SIPGTP_170325_072.JPG: 1961 Dwight Eisenhower
SIPGTP_170325_075.JPG: 1966 Lyndon Johnson
SIPGTP_170325_077.JPG: 1975 Gerald Ford
SIPGTP_170325_080.JPG: 1981 Jimmy Carter
SIPGTP_170325_081.JPG: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
Thirty-fifth president, 1961–1963
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the country experienced a collective sense of grief that it had not known since the death of Abraham Lincoln. Many Americans found it hard to cope with the sudden loss of this youthful, energetic president whose speeches had inspired citizens to achieve high ideals. In his shortened tenure as president, Kennedy proposed landmark civil-rights legislation, created the Peace Corps, and promoted the goal of landing on the moon. In foreign policy, his administration peacefully resolved a dramatic stand-off with the Soviet Union over the presence of missiles in Cuba, and he oversaw the buildup of the American presence in Vietnam.
Elaine de Kooning, known for her gestural portraits, held several informal sessions with him in Palm Beach, Florida, in December 1962 and January 1963. The artist was so moved by the president during these sittings that she went on to create dozens of drawings and paintings of him over the next ten months.
Elaine de Kooning, 1963
SIPGTP_170325_087.JPG: 2004 George W. Bush
SIPGTP_170325_089.JPG: Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004
Fortieth president, 1981–1989
The ascension of Ronald Reagan, a former actor and governor of California, marked the revitalization of the conservative western wing of the Republican party that many thought had died with the defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964. As president, he challenged many of the liberal programs that had dominated the federal government since the New Deal, and throughout his presidency, he strove to cut the size of government. Reagan unapologetically reduced social welfare programs and encouraged a conservative social ethic regarding the role of religion in public life and reproductive rights, but his conservative stance led him to largely ignore the AIDS crisis. Finally, in foreign policy, Reagan guided the United States through the end of the Cold War. When he left office in 1989, the Soviet Union was already falling apart, but it did not officially break up until two years later.
Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1991
SIPGTP_170325_103.JPG: Barack Obama, born 1961
Forty-fourth president, 2009–2017
In 2008, Barack Obama made history as the first African American to be elected president, capping a meteoric rise in politics and concluding a campaign that encouraged progress and optimism. For many, his election signaled increasing racial unity as well as an unprecedented feeling of hope for the future. When Obama entered office, the U.S. was undergoing its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Despite the sagging economy, however, he expeditiously enacted the Affordable Care Act, which extended health benefits to millions of previously uninsured Americans. Obama oversaw the drawdown of American troops in the Middle East -- a force reduction that was controversially replaced with an expansion of drone and aviation strikes. The mission to kill al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was successful, but Obama's pledge to close the Guantanamo prison went unrealized. When he left office, the feelings of solidarity, which had been fostered in his campaign, languished, and political divides grew deep. Artist Chuck Close took two large-format photographs of President Obama in 2013, one smiling, one serious, and used them to create double portraits in a variety of mediums, including these Woodburytypes, which were made through a photomechanical printing process that creates a slight relief of the image. At the end of each presidency, the National Portrait Gallery partners with the White House to commission one official portrait of the president and one of their spouse. These photographs by Close will remain on view in America's Presidents until Obama's official painted portrait is completed in early 2018.
Chuck Close, 2012
SIPGTP_170325_114.JPG: Portraits of the U.S. presidents are both celebratory and interrogatory; they commemorate a term in office and serve as a political signpost by which we judge both the man (and so far they have all been men) and the job they did as chief executive. Through the lens of biography and art we can enter into history and make the past comprehensible to the present.
The history of the presidency constantly evolves in reaction to changes in American society and culture. In response to ten years of historical change, the National Portrait Gallery is undertaking a major renovation of its "America's Presidents" exhibition to keep the conversation both intellectually and visually up-to-date. In the tradition of adding the portrait of each president after they have left office, we are including for the first time a photographic diptych of Barack Obama by artist Chuck Close. The museum is presently completing the official portrait commissions of the former president and first lady, to be unveiled next year.
The refurbished galleries will reopen on September 22, 2017, and include the iconic "Lansdowne" portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, which is presently undergoing conservation. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this temporary installation, which includes Hindsight Is Always 20/20 by artist Luke Dubois. Creating a "word cloud" out of forty-one presidential State of the Union addresses and placing the most-often-used words into the familiar format of an eye chart, Dubois provides a quick and fascinating look back into presidential history.
SIPGTP_170325_116.JPG: George Washington, 1732-1799
Born Westmoreland County, Virginia
In 1784, the French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon agreed to execute a full-length marble statue of George Washington for the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. The following year, he raveled across the Atlantic and spent two weeks at Mount Vernon. While there, he made a life mask of Washington. That mask became the basis for several plaster and terra-cotta busts, including this one.
Jean-Antoine Houdon, c 1786
SIPGTP_170325_120.JPG: Andrew Jackson, 1767-1845
Born in the Waxhaw Settlement, South Carolina
Ferdinand Pettrich grew up in Dresden and worked as an apprentice for his father, a court sculptor. After studying in Rome with the renowned Dutch artist Bertel Thorvaldsen, Pettrich moved to the United States. The artist reportedly met Jackson in the spring of 1836. That year, he created an original marble portrait of the future president, which served as the model for several replicas. While marble is an intractable medium, Jackson's hair is treated with a great dimensionality that contributes to the drama of this likeness.
Ferdinand Pettrich, replica of 1836 replica
is Always 20/20
R. Luke Dubois
Data from the American Presidency Project
University of California, Santa Barbara
Produced by Dana Karwas for Bitforms Gallery, NYC
Graphic design by Rogerbova.com NYC
Letterpress by Coeur Noir, Brooklyn, NY
Software developed using Max/Msp/Jitter, Cycling 74, San Francisco, CA
(c)2008 R. Luke Dubois, All Rights Reserved
for my father, Roger
SIPGTP_170325_128.JPG: The State of the Union address is our only constitutionally-mandated piece of political theater.
Every year the President delivers an address in writing or in person to Congress.
This has two important purposes, one explicit, the other implicit.
The explicit reason for the address is for the president to formally summarize the challenges facing the nation.
This is the literal "state" of the nation.
The president then outlines policies in response and a legislative agenda is recommended for Congress to consider.
One could argue however that the implicit role of the address is far more important.
By requiring that the president report "from time to time" to Congress as Article II Section 3 of the Constitution requires, the framers of the Constitution instituted a formal practice designed to demonstrate that the President must make himself regularly accountable to the democratically elected legislature.
As such the address reminds us that in our republic, Congress is sovereign.
We the people,
I the president.
SIPGTP_170325_131.JPG: 1797 John Adams
SIPGTP_170325_133.JPG: 1795 George Washington
SIPGTP_170325_135.JPG: 1813 James Madison
SIPGTP_170325_137.JPG: 1803 Thomas Jefferson
SIPGTP_170325_148.JPG: 1826 or 1827 John Quincy Adams
SIPGTP_170325_151.JPG: 1820 or 1821 James Monroe
SIPGTP_170325_154.JPG: 1834 Andrew Jackson
SIPGTP_170325_156.JPG: 1839 Martin Van Buren
SIPGTP_170325_158.JPG: 1846 James K. Polk
SIPGTP_170325_160.JPG: 1843 John Tyler
SIPGTP_170325_162.JPG: 1849 Zachary Taylor
SIPGTP_170325_164.JPG: 1852 Millard Filmore
SIPGTP_170325_167.JPG: 1862 Abraham Lincoln
SIPGTP_170325_171.JPG: 1856 Franklin Pierce
SIPGTP_170325_173.JPG: 1857 James Buchanan
SIPGTP_170325_175.JPG: 1867 Andrew Johnson
SIPGTP_170325_176.JPG: 1877 Rutherford B. Hayes
SIPGTP_170325_177.JPG: 1876 Ulysses S. Grant
SIPGTP_170325_180.JPG: 1877, 1878 or 1880 Rutherford B. Hayes
SIPGTP_170325_181.JPG: 1881, 1882, or 1883 Chester Alan Arthur
SIPGTP_170325_183.JPG: 1888 Grover Cleveland
AAA "Gem": AAA considers this location to be a "must see" point of interest. To see pictures of other areas that AAA considers to be Gems, click here.
Bigger photos? To save server space, the full-sized versions of these images have either not been loaded to the server or have been removed from the server. (Only some pages are loaded with full-sized images and those usually get removed after three months.)
I still have them though. If you want me to email them to you, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and I can email them to you, or, depending on the number of images, just repost the page again will the full-sized images.
Connection Not Secure messages? Those warnings you get from your browser about this site not having secure connections worry some people. This means this site does not have SSL installed (the link is http:, not https:). That's bad if you're entering credit card numbers, passwords, or other personal information. But this site doesn't collect any personal information so SSL is not necessary. Life's good!