A Visit from FLOTUS
Michelle Obama visited Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, and toured with Kerry and Madeleine.
Undoubtedly my favorite person to have shared this exhibition with is Michelle Obama, who—because at the time she was Mrs. President. We were not alerted to her visit until I think 24 hours out due to security measures. And so we had to work very, very quickly to empty out the museum by 4:30 that afternoon save for three of us who were allowed to stay: myself, who would be conducting the tour, Kerry James Marshall, who would be conducting the tour with me, and one staff person to run the elevator. So everybody else had to leave, and it was an amazing experience to wait for Mrs. Obama, the wife of the president at the time, and to then all of a sudden witness the arrival in very fast order of six black cars, out of which poured a bunch of security people, I think. Many of them in plainclothes, not such great clothes.
And then out came Mrs. Obama, who was this vision of beauty in a long, beautiful summer dress and came in and was as warm and lovely as she could be. The plan, we were told very strictly, was that she would only have 20 minutes and we had to be extremely fast. She ended up staying about an hour and 50 minutes. She asked lots of great questions. She's a South Side girl, so she recognized a lot of the characters in these paintings. And she was clearly very, very taken with the exhibition but also, and at the time, she knew what she was looking at. That was an amazing, amazing day to have a visitor like that come into our museum.