Things to Do

A Night at the Museum for the Obamas

The first family headed to the Corcoran last night for some Sunday-evening browsing.

When the Obamas strolled over to the Corcoran last night, sadly this photo wasn’t still hanging. Photograph by Flickr user RRCarroll.

What’s a First Family to do on a Sunday evening when there’s no football on? In the case of the Obamas, you can always stroll across the street to the nearest art gallery and take in a contemporary exhibition or two. Which is precisely what happened last night when Barack and Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, visited the Corcoran Gallery of Art for some after-hours culture.

Presumably it isn’t tricky to persuade a museum to stay open late when you’re commander in chief, because even though the Corcoran usually closes at 5 PM on Sunday, doors stayed open for the First Family, who, according to White House pool reports, walked over around 6:30. Corcoran representatives weren’t at liberty to disclose exactly what the Obamas looked at, but reports say they took in the “30 Americans” exhibition, as well as some of the Corcoran’s contemporary work. They also got a sneak preview of “Shadows of History: Photographs of the Civil War from the Collection of Julia J. Norell,” which doesn’t officially open till February 4.

The “30 Americans” exhibition, which opened last fall, is a showcase of some of the most influential African-American artists of the past three decades, and includes work by Kara Walker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Nick Cave, and Kehinde Wiley. You can read our review of the show here. There’s no official word on whether the Obamas got to see Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro’s “Are We There Yet?,” a playful, site-specific installation about space and consumption, or “Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going, Why,” in which Healy and Cordeiro craft space-themed images out of Legos. But we’re sure that after seeing his own inauguration depicted in Lego form, the President is a bit harder to impress, so maybe it’s just as well.