By now, it's impossible to forget Rep. Todd Akin's recent statements regarding women who are sexually assaulted. "If it’s a legitimate rape," the Republican congressman said, "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." When statements like these are made from people still in the running to win a senate seat, artists generally don't like to stay quiet.

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If the notion of "legitimate rape" is unfamiliar to you, googling the grossly ignorant turn of phrase will reveal a lot, from the medieval science surrounding the theory to Jezebel's handy Official Guide to Legitimate Rape.

An upcoming exhibition at Katherine Cone Gallery in Los Angeles uses the phrase as a launch pad to investigate political topics, future possibilities and the polarizing red-blue divide in this country today. For instance, in "Entitled," photographer Jill Greenberg created a terrifying projection of older white men in power ties laughing heartily. Their well-fed chins bounce up against their fancy suit collars, casting the GOP regulars as comical villains.

In Robbie Conal's "MITTBUBBLE," a perplexed Mitt Romney rolls his eyes up searching for the right words, yet the empty thought bubble looming above his person illustrates the unlikelihood of his victory over speech. His furrowed brow and popping veins ruthlessly highlight the presidential candidate's robotic buffoonery as we laugh at his sorry state.

The gallery summed the exhibition up in a statement: "We are all trying to make it through this difficult time and hoping to come out of it in a better place." Whether you find the images hilarious, horrifying, or the inevitable mix of the two, "Legitimate Rape" is a good look at Democrats getting their spines back.

See a slideshow of the work below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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  • Jennifer Celio, "Nimby (National Forest) Detail" 2012; Graphite pencil on paper; 38 x 50 inches

  • Jill Greenberg; "Entitled" 2012; Video stills

  • EL MAC, "Obama" 2008

  • Robbie Conal; "MITTBUBBLE" 2012; Off-set lithograph; 24 x18 inches

  • EL MAC, "Justice for Anastacio Hernandez" 2012; Ink and brush on paper

  • Sean Cheetham, "FREEDOM" 2012; Oil on panel, 12 x 9 inches

"LEGITIMATE RAPE: Political Art in 2012" features work from Jill Greenberg, Shepard Fairey, Robbie Conal, Jennifer Celio, EL MAC, Sean Cheetham and Daphne Vega. The exhibition runs from October 10th to October 17th, 2012 at Katherine Cone Gallery in Los Angeles.

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