Portraits of Presidential Losers All Over the Walls

SVT Gallery goes national with its newest exhibition

Hello, Green Eyes: Hancock by Beeler
Hello, Green Eyes: Hancock by Beeler

Some of the best artists in this country have rendered some of the biggest losers in the country's history.

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Art
10 Can’t-Miss Art Museums and Galleries
10 Can’t-Miss Art Museums and Galleries
Old Masters and new whiz kids all have a home here

March 3, 2017

Angeliska's "Crowning Glory"
Because sometimes, a regular hat just doesn't cover it

Lawrence Everett Forbes, Jan. 17, 2014

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
Five Gallery Shows for Your Summer Eyes
Five Gallery Shows for Your Summer Eyes
Indoor visual art brings the light, eschews the heat

June 24, 2022

The Quesoff Wants You, Garbo’s Grabs Another Brick-and-Mortar, Local Foods Debuts Downtown, Lazarus Revamps the Former Coldtowne Theatre, and Ooooh, That Bourbon Brawl
The Quesoff Wants You, Garbo’s Grabs Another Brick-and-Mortar, Local Foods Debuts Downtown, Lazarus Revamps the Former Coldtowne Theatre, and Ooooh, That Bourbon Brawl
All the news that’s fit to get your taste buds quivering

June 24, 2022


Art, Presidential Losers, SVT Lobby Gallery, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, rods and cones, political defeat

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle