I do not want to see George W. Bush naked


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Bear with me here, I've been nearly completely out of the loop for the past few days, so I'm very late to the game and only just catching up on recent news stories. The one about the Bush family being targeted by a hacker was one of them. But the part about Bush 43's artistic endeavors made my eyes pop out of my  head:

The leaked photos included intimate moments: a snapshot of George H.W. Bush that appeared to have been taken during his recent stay at a Houston hospital, a shot of George W. Bush posing with a cardboard cutout of himself wearing a beret, and paintings by the younger Bush of himself showering and in a bathtub.

Assuming George W. Bush has a brain-- which is being generous-- what the heck was he thinking? Who-- especially a former United States president-- paints (really bad) naked pictures of themselves in the bathtub and shower? And why would Bush sign his artwork with "43" instead of his own name-- discounting the possibility that he forgot how to spell his own name, of course.

Who the hell does all that? It's terrifying to remind myself that this child-man was actually responsible for the safety and security of our country, for life and death decisions (some of those decisions being the worst in recent memory), for being a calming voice of reason and wisdom (let me know when you've stopped laughing... and crying). And this same child-man painted these:

george w bush paintings nudes via Gawker

I made my living as an artist for years, I studied pictorial arts at UCLA under some of the finest artists in the United States, and I graduated cum laude, so I feel qualified to appraise what my poor eyes have been subjected to, and I agree with this assessment from Gawker's arts blogger Greg Allen:

It doesn't look like he's studied anatomy, perspective, shading, drawing from live models, color theory, brushes, nothing. He just jumped in there and started painting, how hard could it be?... Except for the whole looking-at-yourself, shower/bathtub solitude thing, I don't see GWB probing any real psychic depths here.

If you follow the link, you'll see that Allen actually dignifies these "works" with serious analysis. I'm unable to do that, because if there is one word I do not and cannot associate with GW Bush, it's dignity.

  • I'm here to help! 

  • Nancy Kells

    Thanks for the heads up! I thought I was on Artforum's message board. 😀

  • What are you talking about? I think you got lost and you're responding to a different post. 

    And you're welcome! 

  •  Lol, fair enough Nancy!

  • Nancy Kells

     Okay okay! I am truly smiling now!  I never would defend W. I was just initially trying to make a point about art, and then in the second response, I was defending my point. I guess I took an instinctual first response offense at using his painting endeavors to point out the horribleness that is George W. Bush.  I apologize profusely if it came across like I was defending him! Hell no! Never! Evil monsters as well as anyone else with or without formal art training can create art, even decent art, as well as crappy art. It's all subjective anyway.  I completely agree with you on him as a president.

  • mellowjohn

    the "paintings" would look better if he'd used a roller.

  •  My tone was indeed to put him down. That's exactly what it was. Not for "creating these paintings". He's entitled to create whatever he wants. But that does not preclude nearly everyone I've seen who has written about this from having an opinion about it, mostly mocking in tone, or eyebrow-raising at the very least.

    How nice for you that you see some good in him. I don't. I see him as an infantile monster who nearly destroyed this country, its standing in the world, and another that did not deserve to be bombed. These paintings were merely the most recent excuse to point that out.

    Not sure why you feel you have to defend him so strongly against a snarky post that is an expression of how I feel. Or is he the only one who is allowed to "create" what he wants?

  • Nancy Kells

    I also never said that you said he was trying to promote his work or that he shouldn't express himself, but it's certainly implied in your tone. My point was that your opinion and statement about not wanting to see him naked and of questioning why he would ever paint these is besides the point since it probably wasn't his intention that the public would ever see them in the first place.  You were questioning what he was thinking to paint really bad naked pictures of himself.  Artists do nude and partially nude self-portraits frequently.  And seriously, you're going to try and argue that your tone was not a method to put him down for creating these paintings?  Okay then.  I agree that they are strange or bizarre considering he was president, though. I'll give you that.

  • Much of my post was tongue-in-cheek, but let's get a few things straight: Nobody's putting him down for trying his hand at art or for how he spends his spare time. If that was in my post, please point it out. My comments were directed at the choices he made, which I found bizarre. I listed my credits to explain that I wasn't coming at this only politically, but also professionally.

    Nobody said he was trying to promote his efforts either. Again, please direct me to anything I said about that.

    And nobody said he shouldn't express himself. Again, please direct me to that part in the post if you saw it.

    We are all entitled to our opinions... of him and of art. As an artist and an educator myself, I wouldn't put him down for trying, either. But all that is irrelevant to the points I made.

    None of that has any bearing on my opinion, which is that I think his paintings, and he, are bizarre on a number of levels.

  • Nancy Kells

    I graduated from Tyler School of Art magna cum laude and seriously who gives a crap though!  I'm far on the left in terms of politics, and I never thought I'd EVER like something that W did, but I do like the one of him in the bathtub.  I used to show my work and I used to want to show my work, but it's the art world's pretension that has more to do with who you schmooze and the rich people that you cater to that made me leave it in the dust.  And don't get me started on art-talk rhetoric. I respect that he's doing something productive like painting in his free time instead of trying to continue to screw our country over more in his retirement while holding onto the lime light.  He's a much better painter than a president, and his email was hacked so it's not like he's trying to promote a serious art career by leaking these pictures.  Just because a person isn't trained formally in the arts doesn't mean he or she isn't worthy of expressing themselves artistically and creatively.  As an artist and an educator, I will never put someone down for trying any type of artistic endeavor, regardless of whether it is deemed "good" by the limited amount of people who decide what is museum or gallery worthy.  

  • It's the work of a man who's participating in art therapy.  He probably needs it, I think he experienced an epiphany that he'd been had, was a puppet the whole time and was taken for a rube (which of course he is).  

    It's still a lot to come to realize.  I'd be in art therapy too.  As I tell my husband (repeatedly), "You do not have to make a commitment to a piece of art and put it on your living room wall just because you express an appreciation for some element of it."  I kid you not, I believe he painted these trying to work his brain around everything he's done/been through/etc.

    I've come to feel sorry for the man.  He has the intellectual capacity of a gingerbread house.  My apologies to some wonderful gingerbread houses.