Controversy

White House Rejects Controversial Art Work

The art collection Michelle Obama selected for the White House from various national museums received some skepticism from critics, but one particular work from Alma Thomas garnered serious negative attention. The African-American artist was targeted as a plagiarist by right-wing bloggers, who claim one of her compositions is a Matisse ripoff. Thomas’ 1963 Watusi (Hard Edge) was appropriated by flipping around one of the famed modern artist’s paintings and changing its color scheme. Critics accused Obama of being both too oblivious of Thomas’ creative homage and partial to the artist herself because of her race. By the end of last month, the White House had quietly removed Thomas’ painting, which was reportedly intended for the first lady’s office, from their list of desired works. Though the owner of the painting, the Hirshhorn Museum, confirmed its return, no one would say why the Obamas opted not to include Thomas’ work in their collection.