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  • Writer's pictureCaryn Baumgartner

In the galleries: Trump in poncho and sombrero, Clinton as a suffragette

Thomas Nast might weep — or laugh out loud. The great 19th-century political cartoonist could never have imagined a presidential campaign like the one that is, mercifully, about to end. But art must deal with the unimaginable, or at least try, so more than 40 painters, printmakers and graphic designers have addressed contemporary political issues in “Artists United!” The show, on display at the Busboys and Poets at Fifth and K streets NW, was organized by Charles Krause/Reporting Fine Art.

The exhibition’s dark star is, unsurprisingly, Donald Trump. He appears in a much higher percentage of the works than he did in Touchstone Gallery’s “Art as Politics” show in August. The latest allegations about Trump’s behavior are too recent to feature here, but Gary Aagaard does depict the candidate as the bone-wielding ape-man from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Nancy Ohanian caricatures him in Mexican poncho and sombrero, and Rosemary Luckett gives him a choice of “4 Con Man Caps,” including a jester hat and a Nazi helmet. Several critiques turn on language: “Mr. Trump tear down this wall,” requests Ronald Reagan in Charles Seaton’s photo-text piece, while Rozanne Hermelyn Di Silvestro piles overlapping remarks atop this Trumpian boast: “I have words. I have the best words.”

Gary Aagaard’s “2016 Race Odyssey” on display at Busboys and Poets. (Gary Aagaard)

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