The Presidency and the Cold War

National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institution

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Presidents in Waiting

National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institution

  • Museums
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Champions

National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institution

  • Museums
Play Video 

Hispanic Foundation Gala

TheDream.us

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National Portrait Gallery

We have now produced more than twelve projects for the National Portrait Gallery.

Among those were films that were part of the exhibition “Presidents in Waiting,” about vice presidents who became president. We suggested to the museum that, because today there are so many living vice presidents (six, including Biden), we had a unique opportunity to interview as many of them as possible to share their personal perspective on this unique and important job.

In the end, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, George H. W. Bush and Walter Mondale all graciously agreed to be interviewed (we are still hoping to schedule Al Gore). Later this year, we will also be filming and editing an interview with Vice President-elect Biden.

The short films, which are viewed on touchscreen interactives, feature interviews about topics such as: what it is like to “get the call,” their campaigns, their relationship with their president, moments of crisis, and, ultimately, their reaction to how they left office — on top or in defeat.

Although these pieces were created for the museum, VideoArt is so trusted and respected by the museum that these are basically independent productions. For example, for our Walter Mondale piece, Martin Huberman prepared, conducted and shot the interview, wrote the script using the words of Mondale, Dick Cheney, George H.W. Bush and several archival news clips, did all of the archival film and photo research, had the final say on what footage and stills would be used, and did all of the editing and captioning in-house. The museum approved the script, the draft, and the fine cut. And, though the interviews were not completed until the end of October, all our work was complete by late December.

When the films won a MUSE award from the American Association of Museums, the judges said: “A wondrous variety of character and political insight is on display… They are tremendously well-researched and superlatively shot and edited, including historic photography and contextual news footage. Each portrait offers a different thrill… and deeper understanding of the forces that shape the Vice Presidency.”

Other projects for the Portrait Gallery include films for the exhibitions “The Struggle for Justice,” “Champions,” “America’s Presidents” and “The Presidency and the Cold War.”