A New Lens on The Obama Portraits Tour and Black American Portraits Exhibitions at LACMA

We’re continuing our collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to tell stories through augmented reality within two new exhibitions currently on view at the museum. Snapchat’s AR technology is adding a new dimension to the artworks on display in The Obama Portraits Tour and Black American Portraits.

Visitors can discover a behind-the-scenes look at how Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former First Lady Michelle Obama came to life through an educational AR Lens, featuring a variety of rarely-seen photographs. 

The Obama Portraits Tour also displays photographs by Catherine Opie depicting President Barack Obama’s inauguration. A Snapchat Lens provides educational context in augmented reality below a series of three of Opie’s photographs, and incorporates audio from his 2009 inauguration to enliven the viewing experience. 

And finally, Black American Portraits also includes the AR Lens The Open Hand is Blessed by Ada Pinkston and Lens Creator Michael French. The Open Hand is Blessed honors the life of Biddy Mason, and is one of five augmented reality monuments that debuted in LACMA x Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives earlier this year. 

The Open Hand is Blessed is now the first augmented reality work to enter LACMA’s permanent collection, and the newly-updated Lens can be experienced as a public art component of Black American Portraits near LACMA’s Smidt Welcome Plaza. 

Beyond creativity and storytelling, augmented reality can also be a powerful medium for advocacy and representation, and add new layers of information to the world around you! 

The Obama Portraits Tour is on view at LACMA through January 2, 2022. Black American Portraits is on view through April 17, 2022.

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