The National Gallery of Art has a wide variety of offerings for visitors to Washington and the National Mall around the time of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
The West Building, East Building, and Sculpture Garden (including the Pavilion Café and ice rink) will be open to visitors as normal on Saturday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20. On Inauguration Day—Monday, January 21—the West Building will remain open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; the East Building and the Sculpture Garden, Pavilion Café, and Ice Rink will be closed. The West Building will only be accessible via the entrances on Seventh Street and the Mall on Madison Drive; visitors with wheelchairs or strollers may be accommodated at the Constitution Avenue entrance.
To celebrate the inauguration, the Gallery has installed Roy Lichtenstein’s print The Oval Office (1992) in the East Building Auditorium lobby.
Michelangelo’s marble David-Apollo (c. 1530) first visited the National Gallery of Art in 1949, coinciding with Harry Truman’s inaugural reception. In 2013, a new generation of visitors to the National Mall around the time of Barack Obama’s second inauguration will also have the chance to view this masterpiece, on view until March 3 in the West Building’s Italian galleries.
The recently unveiled Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700–1830 is the first major presentation of early American furniture and related decorative arts on permanent public view in the nation’s capital. The new installation highlights nearly 100 examples from the distinguished collection of George M. and Linda H. Kaufman.
Thirteen paintings by Gilbert Stuart—the “Father of American Portraiture”—are on permanent display in the West Building. They include the famed Gibbs-Coolidge portraits, the only surviving set of portraits depicting the first five American presidents—a must-see as visitors flock to the National Mall for the inauguration, as well as newly conserved portraits of George Washington, John Adams, and Abigail Adams in the Kaufman Collection installation.
Inspired by Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700–1830 award-winning Chef Cathal Armstrong (chef and owner of Restaurant Eve) has created a menu of signature American dishes for Garden Café Americana on the West Building’s Ground Floor.
Among the great American works of art to admire at the Gallery is an exciting recent acquisition by Glenn Ligon. On view in the East Building’s Concourse galleries, Untitled (I Am a Man) (1988) is a reinterpretation of the actual signs that were carried by 1,300 striking African American sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968, and were made famous in Ernest Withers’ photographs of the march. (Withers’ photograph also recently inspired a mural at 14th and T Streets NW by French street artist JR.)