press release

"The Obama Paintings" and The Lincoln Monument will be presented to the public for the first time in this solo exhibition. Rob Pruitt began "The Obama Paintings" as a means of tracking President Barack Obama's term of office. Since Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009, Pruitt has created a two-by-two foot painting of the President every day, with imagery drawn from the news of that day. Upon completion, "The Obama Paintings" will comprise 2,922 paintings, incorporating events from the mundane to the historic. Pruitt's interests range from transformation of everyday materials to what one could call a durational performance piece with a painting-a-day concept. Pruitt's choice to debut this work at MOCAD shows a willingness to create a moment that is potentially challenging for the audience, and perhaps even to his own beliefs. When viewed together, each canvas in The Obama Paintings contributes to an overarching, multi-faceted view of Obama’s presidency—the work is a visual journal that documents his time in office.

The Lincoln Monument uses the most ubiquitous form of presidential iconography, the copper penny, as raw material. The work is made up of 200,000 pennies filling four stacked copper–painted truck tires. As odes to public fountains, Pruitt's Lincoln Monument stands as a metaphor for our own idealized American political system.

Rob Pruitt: The Obama Paintings and The Lincoln Monument is organized by MOCAD. It is curated by Elysia Borowy-Reeder, Executive Director of MOCAD, coordinated at MOCAD by Exhibitions Manager Zeb Smith.

Exhibition programming support for Rob Pruitt: The Obama Paintings and The Lincoln Monument is generously provided by the Taubman Foundation and Gavin Brown's enterprise.