Portraits of Presidential Losers All Over the Walls
In ink, in paint, in pencil, in pixels, on paper, on canvas, on wood, on sheets of plastic, in a diversity of styles sufficient to excite your world-weary rods and cones.
Shannon McCormick of Gnap! Theatre Projects – who instigated this visual-art exhibition in conjunction with his group's upcoming 44 Plays for 44 Presidents production at Salvage Vanguard Theatre – and your humble scribe, Wayne Alan Brenner, have spent months wrangling artists and works for display. And what they've come up with, and from whom, is making Salvage Vanguard's Lobby Gallery a stunning tribute to the agony of political defeat.
From beyond Texas: Jim Rugg reimagines Grover Cleveland as the Terminator. Roberta Gregory inks Herbert Hoover in front of his Hooverville legacy. Benjamin Marra shows the true triumph of one-time loser Teddy Roosevelt. Zak Sally does Samuel J. Tilden more gorgeous justice than he may have deserved. Lauren Weinstein gets Strom Thurmond's age spots down perfectly.
From right here in Austin: Mack White has Daniel Webster abetted (or is it thwarted?) by the Devil himself. Jennymarie Jemison gets all texty with John Quincy Adams. Kerry Awn desecrates his own DeWitt Clinton with a graffiti tag. Kaci Beeler brings out the winner-envy in the eyes of Winfield Scott Hancock. Russell Etchen gets William Howard Taft busted. Tim Doyle gives old Tricky Dick Nixon the Nakatomi-flavored whatfor.
And there's more?
Oh, hell, yes: There are 75 portraits in total, all those contenders who ever lost the U.S. Presidential Election. (Which is why, since this show runs before the current election, David Ohlerking has provided portraits of both Romney and Obama.) And these images run chronologically along the walls of SVT's Lobby Gallery, where they'll be on display until the weekend before the election. And eventually they'll be gathered into an actual hold-it-in-your-hands full-color book of Presidential Losers. And all of these works – originals and a few prints – are for sale right there in the gallery.
There's an opening reception, of course. It's this very Saturday, for only an hour (6-7pm), with the curators and a bunch of the artists in attendance, and much Topo Chico and tasty snacks, and Austin Books & Comics hosting a table of graphic novels and comics collection featuring work by some of the show's more high-profile creators.
We reckon we'll see a few of you there.