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Cover of ‘Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors’ (image via bushcenter.org)

As part of a continuing effort to paint over his legacy as a war criminal and the worst US president ever, George W. Bush will soon publish an art book, called Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

Due next February from Crown, the book will feature 66 of Bush’s portraits and a four-panel mural depicting American service members and veterans. Not featured: paintings of prisoners held without trial at Guantanamo Bay, paintings of the millions of Americans who lost their homes during the 2008 financial crisis, or paintings of “the ghost of the Iraqi child that follows him everywhere.” Weird! Maybe he’s saving those for his next book.

In the introduction, Bush describes the project as “more than an art book. This is a book about the men and women who have been tremendous national assets in the Armed Forces – and who continue to be vital to the future success of our country.” Stories of each veteran accompany the portraits. The original paintings will also go on view next year, shortly after the release of the book, at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

To further attempt to ease his conscience, Bush will donate the net author proceeds to his own nonprofit, which works in part to help post-9/11 veterans reintegrate into civilian life.

h/t Time

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Carey Dunne

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering arts and culture. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Baffler, The Village Voice, and elsewhere.

60 replies on “Misunderestimated Painter George W. Bush Is Releasing an Art Book”

  1. The world would have been much better off if he had stayed on the booze and not choose politics. He is a vile person, regardless of what he persues in the future, the damage has been done.
    Iraq was vengeance for his horrid father, GH Bush who didn’t get Sadam, so then the son did.

    1. Actually W was a lapdog of Isreal. Iraq was 100% for Isreali expansion/choas/purim etc. Scum of the earth.

  2. If you get this book, please tear out the pages and use it as toilet paper. This human waste should be in prison, along with the rest of the Bush Crime Family. On another note: He’s a talent-less shitty psychopathic artist.

  3. Politics and dubious presidential attributes notwithstanding, the portraits actually are pretty good paintings and far far more interesting than most official.
    Dubya should have gone into art instead of politics.

  4. try and find something good bill Clinton has done after being president…and don’t say the money laundering operation know as the Clinton foundation….it’s still under fire and I hope there’s a full scale investigation of all the lies and pay for influence…when someone does something good…evil people will still trash them….I was a democrat…I could no longer stand the racism bigotry (exposed in dnc email)…obamas big fat lie (2009 cairo speech) that made me quit being a democrat…I feel guilty….what can I do about my guilt…I voted for anti American white hating cop hating Obama…pray for a Mussolini style ending for the obamas is all I can do…

      1. and i’m assuming you can’t be voting for Hilary if you’re talking about bush being like adolf because of Iraq war…go trump…down with establishment…down with big brother.

        1. For whom I am voting is irrelevant to the actual subject of the article. One can appreciate the the Art if not its maker.
          From the little sampling that is supplied above the portraits show a marked improvement over what this commentor has previously viewed of GWB’s painting. In the bigger scheme of things they aren’t bad at all and demonstrate a naive sort of pathos. While not necessarily big on the title and overblown patriotic schmaltz of the title et al, I do have to acknowledge the works themselves.
          In the case of Dubya, and I will also address this to ‘Startmeup88’ (above, he possesses far more promise as painter than he ever did as the leader of a nation, and certainly more than his mid-20th Century fascist predecessor.

          It would have been interesting if the author of the above review was able to step off of her politicized pulpit long enough to actually talk about the ex-prez’s art itself.

          Likewise for other commentors (and authors) herein who use any and all opportunity to join in political battle rather than actually talk about Art, its context and merits in anything remotely like an objective manner.

        1. In this case it is actually relevant because Adolf did pride himself as an artist too. There are two parallels here.

        2. The late philosopher Leo Strauss dubbed it “Reductio ad Hitlerum” in 1951. “Argument ad Hitlerum” is used now. I prefer “ad Nazium”.

          1. Strauss wasn’t so much a philosopher as a Qutb to the Jews. His design was to increase the pathology of being Jewish.

        3. Godwin’s Law. I am uncertain if there is one for Dear old Benito.

          Some analogies simply beg to be noted.

      2. NOW ABOUT YOUR UNCLE…you should be ashamed of him…but I won’t blame you too much since you’re related…people should stick up for their relatives…did he leave you anything in his will?

  5. Dear Carey Dunne,

    Apples and Oranges!

    I am no Bush lover, that’s for sure, but neither do I respond well to a lack of ‘critical’ thinking.

    From the start, the title of the book, “. . . Tribute to America’s Warriors”, eliminates your call for “paintings of prisoners held without trial at Guantanamo Bay, paintings of the millions of Americans who lost their homes during the 2008 financial crisis, . . . ” I’m sure you must be able to see that.

    Of course you are entirely right, but in attacking the issue as you have, you’ve lost the ‘argument’ on points. I.e., your prose-logic doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. I only wish it had!

    Apples and Oranges!

    1. Logic is not a requirement for journalism majors. I was talking with a science writer recently and we were both noting how often (more often than not) when a journalist reports on statistics they can’t parse causation from correlation. Nothing of the above requires even that level of thought, but yes, apples and oranges.

      1. I don’t think I can disagree with you. True enough, “Logic is not a requirement for journalism majors”. But then again, neither is/was nutrition a requirement in medical school.

        Clear thinking and a good diet ought to be essential, don’t you think?

          1. I, for one, certainly don’t miss the point at all. It’s a powerful and worthwhile point. But I do believe that it carried a good deal less weight in this context than it might have in an article better focused on the issues. Here it seemed rather gratuitous, and the dissonance I pointed out with regards to the title of the book was a distraction the issues don’t deserve.

          2. A girl who was not old enough to vote for or against a Bush presidency is offering her evaluation of it and also reviewing a book that doesn’t yet exist to be reviewed. What, of value, did I miss? I don’t like the war Hillary Clinton voted for any more than this author does. Most people don’t; hence virtue signaling. That’s not as bad as killing people, or a Secretary of State accepting personal Foundation money from oppressive governments, but it’s still what it is and nothing more.

            Have a good one.

          3. At my age, she is a girl. You are a young man. I can’t pretend otherwise when I am reading what women in Denver think of seeing Frankenthaler’s work when my close friend was her peer and used to cringe when they were compared with each other, which happened a lot because they both studied at Bennington under Paul Feeley. Not everyone is dead and not everyone feels enlightened reading the vain opinions of “women” in their 20s. I’m not your ideal reader, but I can still complain when I want to.

            Take care.

          4. Thanks for your comments, Judy. If it’s an art review, then review the art; the author’s PC opinions are not of interest to me. And thanks for introducing me to the phrase “virtue signaling”. Very pithy.

      1. It’s an opinion piece? How is one to know that since the headline purports to tell us about a new book? It isn’t a ‘real’ review, if it were there would actually be something more about the art itself (even if he is a dolt and war criminal.)

    2. And your view may be clouded by an undiagnosed placement on the autism spectrum. Has it ever been suggested to you that you may have Asperger’s?

      1. Please. Be a tiny bit specific. To what are you referring?

        Or better yet. Don’t bother. I don’t believe that is a place for medical speculation.

  6. As an activist artist – here is one of my works on the Bush debacle. “Mission Accomplished” part of an exhibition I’ve curated with six other female artists titled “Embedded Messages, Debating the Dream: Truth, Justice and the American Way”, opening at University of the Redlands in CA on October 19th. Exhibition catalog here: http://bit.ly/2cyAkqo

    Concerning this article, I would have liked to have gotten more information about his work and what is behind it rather than just a quick punch in his general direction. Is the point about him as ex-president and that legacy or as a painter trying to assuage his conscience? Is he trying to exercise his demons or does he have no remorse and he thinks this is a way to pay tribute all the soldiers he sent to die for his WMD’s?

      1. Hrag, I have an exhibition opening this Sunday at Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art(outside of Oakland) titled “Social Justice: It Happens to One, It Happens to All” with 43 artists on current social (in)justice issues. Could I send you information — if interested might you (or another writer) do an article? I know this really isn’t the forum to ask but since I have your attention… We would be ever https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb6002e53bc058d6c6466444e39f6dd0f558ddcf43b8094f99b3a5149634d1e8.jpg so grateful (my curatorial partnership is named Gutfreund Cornett Art).

        Here is a link to the online catalog: http://bit.ly/2cBNRfy

  7. Those portraits aren’t very flattering. The expressions on their face look to be screaming “Help, I’m naked and I can’t move. Turn on the thermostat!” The skin on those faces look to be covered in mold. If thats a real book a more apt title would be “Decaying matter”

    1. The portraits are of vets, aka former warriors, ex-service members, soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen et al.
      Not especially qualified as an obsession with war, In fact, as a subject, the military has a long history in art, and in fact at one time the History Painting Genre, i.e. military history was considered the highest aspiration in Western Art, second only to religious allergory.

  8. It’s sad when person’s bias comes through so strongly in a “review”, whether you agree with them or not. The art world has enough critics from the non-art world, why not review the art instead of politicizing it? It comes across as small minded and certainly does Hyperallergic no favors.

      1. Veterans did not make themselves political, they obeyed orders and fought, many with bravery, and again, if the review had truly been about the art, nothing political would need have come from it. And yes, I have been around for many years and truly understand what politics are. Whether or not you agree with the views (in any category), this was billed as an ART review, which is plainly shown not to have been such. Your understanding of the word politics has a very narrow definition, one which you seem only to want to use to vilify anyone who disagrees with the author. Try posting as a response, not a reaction. This will help you think more clearly.

          1. Ah, silly me, I just realized that you are the Editor In Chief. You can call it what you want and you can be as vitriolic as you want. I was going by part of your”About” section: “Sensitive to Art and its Discontents
            Hyperallergic is a forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today.” Well, nothing wrong with that, but by using it as an outlet to cut up others, it really reduces the effectiveness of your cultural aspect. That’s not culture. It takes a mature person not to let their personal feelings run amok while presenting information to his readers. After reading a simple presentation of the facts about the art book, then they can decide and you would probably get the same responses from people with strong feelings, but at least it would be an honest response and not one led so blatantly by the words in the current article. It’s just a sad statement that such a forum, used to share information with readers, becomes instead a way for you to pull other people down with ugliness, which isn’t what art is about at all when you think of it.

          2. You’re an apologist for empire, we get it. And a presentation of facts? You seem confused at what is going on with the book, post, and other aspects. I hope you realize one day the world is bigger than your insular US bubble. It must be really fragile where you are in the world. Thanks for commenting.

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