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A Folksy Hail to the Chief

January 09, 1994

Did you ever wonder what Franklin Delano Roosevelt would look like as the Great Sphinx? How about a rendering of Ronald Reagan in jelly beans? These and 54 other concoctions make up "To the President: Folk Portraits by the People," on exhibit through Sept. 5 at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Borrowed mainly from the official libraries of our last 11 Presidents, the 56 portraits range from solemn to slapstick. Curator James Barber calls the portraits "attic art, cellar craft and avant-garage sculpture," and regards them as tangible evidence of the American genius. "They're often funny but seldom silly," he says. They may be viewed during gallery hours, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

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