Picks and Pans Review: Hofmekler's People

updated 05/09/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/09/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Ori Hofmekler

Imagine Ronald Reagan as a turkey-jowled, barrel-bellied Charlie Chaplin. Or Libya's Col. Muammar Qaddafi as a World War I doughboy fleeing the trenches. In this collection of scathing pencil-and-tempura caricatures of politicians, Ori Hofmekler, an Israeli satirical artist who has just became a regular contributor to Penthouse, reveals a sardonic talent for thus placing the historic figures of our time in absurd yet thought-provoking positions. All the leading players in the Middle East, for instance, are represented, and neither Begin nor Sadat nor Khomeini comes off well. (The Ayatollah, sitting on a makeshift toilet, says, in a real quote, "I will not sit back and advise. I'll cut everybody's hands off.") Elsewhere, a close-up of a lip-smacking Idi Amin is captioned by the Ugandan's comment: "I captured some of the people who tried to assassinate me. I ate them before they ate me." Pierre Trudeau is depicted in a bathtub swigging wine as a ripely molded female form towels off. The artist's cartoons are grim; they deflate all larger-than-life heroes. The closest any of the drawings comes to being a compliment is that of Pope John Paul II, portrayed as an easy-ridin' biker, cloak flowing in the wind as the Holy Father rips up the highway. (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $9.95)

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