News

“Wow. George Bush Is a Painter”

by Mostafa Heddaya on April 3, 2014

Art by George W. Bush (via The Smoking Gun)

Art by George W. Bush (via The Smoking Gun)

“Wow. George Bush is a painter,” former president George W. Bush told NBC Today regarding the reception he imagines his paintings of world leaders will receive upon their public release tomorrow. “Wow. I look forward to seeing a stick figure he painted of me,” he added, in a pantomime of self-awareness, extending the hypothetical to his possible subjects. They are, of course, less important than the bad man himself: “I found it very interesting the first painting that came out was the one I painted of myself in the bathtub.” Wow, indeed.

Why did the bad man paint himself taking a bath? He wanted to learn “about painting water hitting water.” Why was the bad man naked in the bath? “[B]ecause I wanted to kind of shock my instructor.”

The nightmare continues tomorrow in Texas, where portraits of Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, and others will be unveiled in an exhibition alongside the better-known oeuvre of cats and dogs. Laura Bush was spared the canvas. “Don’t paint your wife,” the 43rd president of the United States advised.

h/t Daily Intelligencer

  • Get Hyperallergic in your Inbox!

    Subscribe to our email newsletter. (Daily or Weekly)

Hyperallergic welcomes comments and a lively discussion, but comments are moderated after being posted. For more details please read our comment policy.
  • Morehshin Allahyari

    On April 5, 2014, George W Bush’s first public art exhibition will be celebrated at his presidential library and museum in Dallas, Texas. The artists’ residency and art space known as CentralTrak, also in Dallas, Texas will present a companion exhibition in a nearby neighborhood. To honor the former president’s artistic achievements, artist/curators Morehshin Allahyari and Julie McKendrick have organized a collaboration with “Children of Artemis – Sketch Cult” – a regularly assembled group of Dallas-based artists at CentralTrak who make art in a communal setting. The exhibition will feature faithful reproductions of George W Bush’s paintings by the “Children of Artemis” as well as a personal appearance by *George W. Bush (in actuality a George W. Bush look-alike).

    The reception is on Saturday, April 5 , from 7pm to 10pm, at 800 Exposition Avenue. *George W. Bush will be in attendance and available to pose for photographs and answer questions about his inspirations, techniques and future artistic projects. Attendees are encouraged to add to the celebratory mood with creatively-themed costumes such fluffy bath-time robes or amateur painter’s smocks or even attend the event as a presidential pooch or kitty cat!: https://www.facebook.com/events/1435543093357249/1438028063108752/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

    • tenebrae

      Every other former POTUS – and national leader – will typically
      continue post-official life by continuing to perform in some capacity in
      some form of public service, both national and international. Setting
      up NGO’s etc.

      We should all be very relieved that this catastrophically
      destructive, mentally reptilian, train-wreck of man – Bush II – has
      decided to withdraw into – or rather, to remain inside – a solipsistic,
      faux-mystical, self-indulgent, self-referential, self-stroking and
      bourgeois philistine circle jerk of microscopic proportions..

    • tenebrae

      You sound truly excited.

      Lucky yo,u that you should be one of those oligarchical tyrants with bad taste and a deep sense of corruption.

  • Fiftyseven

    Is it too obvious to note the lack of skill and tact?

    • It is the poor sense of perspective that fascinates me. #couldnotresisthadtosayit

      • apelles1

        Yes it’s his everyman routine. Bush and his “Bushisms ” were contrived to conceal his Connecticut roots and his Exeter and Yale education. His Texas redux and him mastubating in a bathtub full of tepidwater as he paintings and stares at his waterlogged toes are all reminders that he is one of us. Almost similar to Leo Stienberg’s argument of an infant Christ urinating as proof of Jesus’ s humanity. Would love to see more of Bush’s paintings- his friends mansions, their poodles , their prepubescent daughters that I have seen elsewhere. He needs to do portraits Bin Landen , Saddam and all his other friends in his Rogues Gallery. Bush nearly had a show at Gagosian, what would be fantastic is two man show at the Tate Britain with Winston Churchill.

  • Chris Egan

    I may not be the best painter but I handle my paint with passion not confusion and befuddlement! Bush sucks as a painter and makes a shitty puppet too!

  • John Fekner

    I’d rather see a Republican with a palette, than one with his finger on a trigger

  • Chicken Fingers

    This is a good painting, and others I’ve seen by him are good too.

    I will defend his work: so, bring it on!

  • tenebrae

    Every other former POTUS – and national leader – will typically continue post-official life by continuing to perform in some capacity in some form of public service, both national and international. Setting up NGO’s etc.

    We should all be very relieved that this catastrophically destructive, mentally reptilian, train-wreck of man – Bush II – has decided to withdraw into – or rather, to remain inside – a solipsistic, faux-mystical, self-indulgent, self-referential, self-stroking and bourgeois philistine circle jerk of microscopic proportions.

  • Ron Williams

    This is interesting. Earlier I posted, “Tacky article. Tacky comments.” and it isn’t here. Perhaps the moderator has a bias?

    • tenebrae

      Or maybe a sense of what actually contributes to a discussion and what doesn’t?

      If you feel the urgent desire to praise the world-historical genius of Bush II’s painting, then please do so.

      • Ron Williams

        Straw man argument. You dismiss my comment entirely. I’m outta here. You dilattentes can have it all.

        • Your comment didn’t contribute anything to the conversation. You should read our commenting guidelines.

  • I must consider running for a President than; he painted almost all my subjects i used to paint last year, ok maybe 1/3 of them

  • Beau Toutant

    I don’t know..if an article is to be written about GW’s paintings, does it have to sound like a grade school reader: “bad man”? It’s usage is even more shallow than the paintings, if that’s possible. An in-depth study of the former president’s turn to a media that often requires some self-reflection while painfully demonstrating that he has none might be a more interesting effort. (GW probably never has plumbed the depths of his own psyche. Who would go there? ‘smacks of Nero.)

    • Your memory is short.

      • Beau Toutant

        Pithy. Is your response in reference to a previous article or GW’s two warring terms? (I can assure you, I’s (sic) smart…my memory is fine. I often feel that comments aren’t fully read before responses are written/posted.)

        • I’m fascinated by the redemption thread that seems to cling itself to a lot of discussion regarding Bush’s paintings. I really do think it comes out of a sense of amnesia.

          • Beau Toutant

            Redemption might be someone else’s perspective, but my interest is why he chooses a normally creative, reflective outlet that often requires self-reflection when it’s obvious that he employs none. (Kinda like: “I think I’ll paint a kitty cat!” or bathroom scenes.) It would be an interesting psychological study. I personally don’t believe he ever second-guessed himself or crawled into his own head. If he were to do so now, it would be his undoing. So, he paints…just paints. Other presidents spend their post-presidential careers helping humanity, by various means. GW paints.

          • Beau Toutant

            Not an in-depth psychological study, but definitely more what I had in mind and was talking about…interesting: http://www.vulture.com/2014/04/saltz-on-the-unfulfilling-art-of-george-w-bush.html

          • Understood. We’ll be unpacking this for ages. Ugh.

          • Beau Toutant

            Nah…sadly, I think that article about sums it up. There’s no “there” there, as it were. I guess there’s something to be said for being “in the moment”.

          • What I don’t get about Jerry’s piece is didn’t he love the paintings a few months ago?

          • Beau Toutant

            What I got from the article is that he still does. But, he goes a little deeper with the portraits. Personally, I love to analyze portraiture too. (Don’t they always look like the artist? Self-perception thrust upon the subject. Even GW’s have itty bitty eyes. Another discussion for another day…) But, GW’s are a gold mine with the “world leaders” and dignitaries, not to mention, his dad.

  • higgs merino

    And his “teacher” apparently (other sources) showed Boy Geo, Kahlo’s images.
    “What the water gave me” . 1938

  • Paul Werner

    As Delacroix said of Ingres:

    “The perfect expression of an imperfect intelligence.”

    Cordially,

    Martha Stewedrat
    Fashion Editor
    WOID: a journal of visual language
    http://theorangepress.com/woid

    • Can you refrain from posting your signature on all comments. It is spammy. Future comments with a signature will be deleted.

      • Paul Werner

        Hrga, I’m just the editor here. I’ll tell all my contributors not to bother commenting in the future. Wouldn’t want to sound like we’re, you know, cutting in on your star turn.

        Signed: the Contributor who Dares not Tell Its Name.

  • Paul Werner

    Hrag, I’m sorry if I’m slow to notice, being a guy and all that. The one contributor whose “signature” you objected to (apparently you felt threatened) has reminded me that she happens to be the one woman on my masthead to have posted on this list. Would you care to explain?

    • Not sure what you’re insinuating, but I noticed people from your site, I assume it’s your site, are strangely using your login info and leaving signatures with hyperlinks on their comments. I ask that people not leave signatures on comments. That is a form of spam.

Previous post:

Next post: