Friedman got his Gates portrait absolutely right. It doesn’t need to be good art, because it isn’t functioning as art at all, any more than the picture on your driver’s license is.
The best in banal, to think that this was commissioned by an national institution in the US, it certainly makes one wonder what public image they are portraying the rest of the world. Though why the Gateses have to be portrayed as factual when they have as a couple been responsible for so much creativity; what a contrast to portraits of our, British, figures of importance.
Portraiture represents its subject in more ways that they can ever imagine. What a contrast this postcard art is to Lucien Freud’s brilliant portrait of Her Majesty! Do you think that the Gateses would have ever been brave enough to sit for him or even at a pinch the ever popular Jonathan Yeo? I think not, too risky!