Admit it. You were kind of turned on by last night’s SOTU, weren’t you? Obama being all firm and demanding and whatnot. Well, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac and presidents are just plain HOT. Artist Justine Lai agrees. Years ago, she painted a series of paintings depicting herself having sex with all the presidents in chronological order. In honor of last night’s steamy address, let’s revisit them. Bonus points if you can name the presidents.
Says Justine of her series “Join or Die:
I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives. The presidency itself is a seemingly immortal and impenetrable institution; by inserting myself in its timeline, I attempt to locate something intimate and mortal. I use this intimacy to subvert authority, but it demands that I make myself vulnerable along with the Presidents. A power lies in rendering these patriarchal figures the possible object of shame, ridicule and desire, but it is a power that is constantly negotiated.
I approach the spectacle of sex and politics with a certain playfulness. It would be easy to let the images slide into territory that’s strictly pornographic—the lurid and hardcore, the predictably “controversial.” One could also imagine a series preoccupied with wearing its “-fudge- the Man” symbolism on its sleeve. But I wish to move beyond these things and make something playful and tender and maybe a little ambiguous, but exuberantly so. This, I feel, is the most humanizing act I can do.