Don’t forget to scream … Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” reveals what we all knew in Peter Saul’s deeply icky 2017 painting. The president is the monster in the mud: a greedy Florida alligator with a diseased, spotty hide. His orange coiffure sits on two such beasts, one chewing greenbacks in its enormous teeth. His head, sporting its notorious complacent smile, sprouts from another pot-bellied reptile. Say it again … Indeed, America’s great maverick of misrule, the octogenarian Saul lamented that everyone had got there first when it came to insulting Trump. In the painter’s gleefully offensive career he’s used various presidents as conduits for laying bare the grotesqueries of power, including Nixon, Reagan and George W Bush. It’s often said that the challenge with a figure so outre as Trump is that he’s beyond satire. But Saul certainly has a good go. Talking trash … Saul initially developed his art’s scorching sensibility as a way of pushing back against the pure aspirations of American abstract expressionism. Rejecting the high art dogma of the 1950s’ reigning critic Clement Greenberg, he wanted to make figurative paintings and partly drew inspiration from the violent crime comics he’d loved as a kid…. Read full this story
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