Robert Grossman, “Ronald Rodent”
Reagan seemed to me to have the cuteness of Mickey and he managed to maintain it the whole time he was in public view. I think it was the secret of his success: that he managed to embody a certain “lovable” quality. Later, I did a sculpture of him in chopped liver for a reception that was given for him at a synagogue in New York. They told me it had to be X-rayed to make sure it didn’t contain a bomb. Did he taste it? He probably had his tasters taste it.
Philip Burke, “The Presidents”
(Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush)
This was commissioned by Garry Trudeau, who wanted something to hang in his studio. It’s a large painting — 6 feet high, 9 feet wide. He wanted a mural of the last five presidents including Bush. He left it up to me how to do it. This was around the time of the Gulf War, and what I was trying to show was Reagan kind of pushing Carter out of the way and giving the thumbs-up to Bush. Actually, in my original sketch, which I showed to Garry, Bush was wiping his hand on his lapel and it was full of blood. So he was trying to wipe the blood from his hand. But, Garry didn’t want it to be that overt.
Robert Risko, “Hidden Hoover”
Vanity Fair commissioned this for an article that basically described the private life of J. Edgar Hoover, who used to dress in drag sometimes, and who was gay and kept a lot of dirt on other people in his files. I read the article and I just sort of put a little simple, chic dress on him with a boa. With that face! That turtle face. A cross-dressing magazine for transvestites loved it, so they reprinted it in black and white.