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Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:55 PM

Art critic thinks George W. Bush is a ‘good painter’



The U.S. Secret Service has launched a formal investigation into who is behind the hacking and publishing of personal Bush family emails. But for former President George W. Bush, there may be an upside to the embarrassing leak: At least one major art critic likes the self-portraits Bush has been painting.

Photos of three of Bush's paintings were among the items hacked, including two self-portraits of the former president—one of him peering in a mirror in the shower, the other of his knobby knees and feet in a bathtub filling with water.

Unsurprisingly, Bush’s artwork immediately became blog fodder. Gawker called the paintings “just as awkward and simple as you’d hope." BlackBook wondered if the former president depicting himself in the bathroom meant that he was “trying to wash himself clean of the long failure that was his life.” The Guardian suggested Bush’s art might generate empathy among those who also have stared at their feet in the tub while contemplating life.

But Jerry Saltz, an art critic at New York Magazine, offered a more surprising take. In a piece published on Vulture, the magazine’s culture blog, Saltz declared Bush to to be a “good painter”—an assessment that even he seemed surprised by.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/art-critic-thinks-george-w-bush-good-painter-204613457--politics.html

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:57 PM

1. the painting of his dog was quite good

the bathroom ones show some talent but aren't my cup of tea.

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Response to dsc (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:27 AM

13. The dog was a cliche, like he came from a postcard

but the bathroom ones are unexpectedly refreshing and indeed quite good for an amateur. Does not make one respect him more as a former president but does make one realize there may be more angles to his personality than the caricature we all adhere to (for obvious and legitimate reasons). I was actually disturbed that I found myself liking the bathroom paintings.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:58 PM

2. Oh if he loves those then he should take a gander at Paul Bremer's paintings.

They are a bit less primitive, but not by much and he doesn't seem obsessed by bathrooms.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:59 PM

3. Too funny. You happen to have a link to the story?

K&R

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Response to Jefferson23 (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:01 PM

4. Oops, my bad. It's fixed. n/t

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Response to cynatnite (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:10 PM

8. Thanks. I would not be surprised if we learn more about the new artist, lol.

This is fun stuff:

But Saltz also raves about Bush’s art, declaring that he “loves the bather portraits”:

"The reclusion and seclusiveness of the pictures evoke the quietude (though not the insight, quality, or genius) of certain Chardin still lifes. These are pictures of someone dissembling without knowing it, unprotected and on display, but split between the promptings of his own inner drives and limited by his abilities. They reflect the pleasures of disinterestedness. A floater. Inert. The images of a man who saw the entire world from the inside but who finds the smallest, most private place in a private home to imagine his universe. Of almost nothingness. Sweet, sublime, oblique oblivion. The visibility of invisibleness.

Concluding, Saltz urges Bush to “paint more. Please.” And he suggests—seriously, we think—that the Whitney Museum of American Art “get on the stick and offer this American a show.”

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:03 PM

5. trying to wash himself clean of the long failure that was his life

 

pretty accurate

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:03 PM

6. If Paints are Lies, he is a real Monet. n/t

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:08 PM

7. I thought the paintings were pretty good, too.

Now if only he'd started painting many years ago and gotten really good at it, maybe he could have made a decent career as an artist instead of becoming a politician and a shitty president. Interestingly, Hitler was a fairly good painter, too, but he wasn't quite good enough to get into art school so he became an evil despot.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:13 PM

9. Ding, Ding, Ding. We have a winner

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:22 PM

11. I agree. The technique and composition are good.

And I love the rest of your post.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:03 AM

15. Perfect! Game, set and match go to VO!

You nailed it.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:17 PM

10. Meh, he probably outsourced them, like he did everything else.

 

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 11:33 PM

12. He is looking for a hobby for when he goes to War Criminal Prison

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:57 AM

14. There's one art critic not to trust

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:07 AM

16. He needs to really learn drawing.

 

Brushwork is decent in areas, with some surprising color choices in a few places for an amateur. But the underlying bones look weak, not the naïf of a practiced artist who has honed powers of seeing and drawing.

Bad drawing is my pet peeve.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:10 AM

17. I think his style is tortured. And perhaps that is appropriate.

I don't think his shit is any good, to be blunt.

It has value because it was done by a famous person, but if the same stuff was done by some poor no-name in a locked ward, it wouldn't get a second of interest or respect.

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