How would our world today be different if one adventurous woman had traveled back in time and had glorious sex with every single US president? Time-traveling artist Justine Lai is about to find out.

In a series of paintings called "Join or Die," Lai depicts herself having sex with every U.S. president, in chronological order. Though she probably hasn't been reading Connie Willis' novel Lincoln's Dreams, or any of Harry Turtledove's work, but she is on a mission to transform our understanding of the past. In her artist's statement, she writes:

In Join Or Die, I paint myself having sex with the Presidents of the United States in chronological order. I am interested in humanizing and demythologizing the Presidents by addressing their public legacies and private lives. The presidency itself is a seemingly immortal and impenetrable institution; by inserting myself in its timeline, I attempt to locate something intimate and mortal. I use this intimacy to subvert authority, but it demands that I make myself vulnerable along with the Presidents. A power lies in rendering these patriarchal figures the possible object of shame, ridicule and desire, but it is a power that is constantly negotiated.

I approach the spectacle of sex and politics with a certain playfulness. It would be easy to let the images slide into territory that's strictly pornographic-the lurid and hardcore, the predictably "controversial." One could also imagine a series preoccupied with wearing its "Fuck the Man" symbolism on its sleeve. But I wish to move beyond these things and make something playful and tender and maybe a little ambiguous, but exuberantly so. This, I feel, is the most humanizing act I can do.

This is a delightful and unexpected form of alternate history. I especially like the way she says this isn't a simple "fuck the man" message, but is instead about helping us to remember that great U.S. leaders were mortals like everyone, fragile and vulnerable.

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So far, Lai's only up to Ulysses S. Grant in her historical odyssey, but as you can see below he was a pretty frisky fellow. We've got a few highlights from her series below.

You can see more at Justine Lai's online gallery.