- Bar none, the best response we’ve seen to George W. Bush’s paintings:
Why do they exist? Why are they being exhibited? How are they being used and discussed? Why do they matter?
I think the simplest answer for why George W. Bush started painting is because he has nothing else to do. Bush is toxic and unemployable as a political figure. He can’t campaign for Republicans, can’t talk on television about anything important, can’t give speeches for money, can’t write memoirs, can’t travel to certain countries where he runs the hypothetical risk of getting arrested for war crimes. Painting is a harmless and respectable pursuit that offers an aura of cultured acceptability….
This is as good a time as any to point out that Bush painted his portraits, not just from photographs–a common enough practice as well as a long-established contemporary, conceptual strategy, though I think only the former pertains here–but from the top search result on Google Images. Many photos were taken from the subject’s Wikipedia entry. Bush based his paintings on the literally first-to-surface, easiest-to-find photos of his subjects.
Is this meaningful in any way? If he had one, it would mean Bush’s studio assistant is very, very lazy. [Greg.org]
- Maybe we would talk more about Bush’s record if we called that art, too. Allen continues:
Ironically, there is even more important art buried within the Senate’s trove of classified CIA documents. And as Bush was being interviewed by his daughter on NBC, these other artworks were still being actively suppressed. Jason Leopold and Al Jazeera reported that the Senate report contains detailed sketches of waterboarding by Abu Zubaydah, a senior Al Qaeda leader imprisoned at Guantanamo….Since the CIA illegally destroyed its own waterboarding videotapes in 2005, these drawings may be the most powerful visual evidence of the torture regime we have left. [Greg.org]
- The Broads buy Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room. [The New York Times]
- MoMA sets the wheels in motion to demolish the Folk Art Museum. [Commercial Observer]
- This is New York winter porn: Moby’s new music video shows a Lower East Side rat crawling into a guy’s luggage and traveling to a warm, sunny beach. A metaphor? [Bowery Boogie]
- The Damien Hirst autobiography is coming. [The Art Newspaper]
- Peter Matthiessen, a founding editor of The Paris Review, died last weekend. The Paris Review has published his Art of Fiction interview. [The Paris Review]
- Actor Mickey Rooney has died. [AP]
- Koch Industries may hold the most net acreage in leases of the Canadian oil sands, which means they’d have the most to gain from the Keystone Pipeline. Time to stop buying Angel Soft toilet paper, I guess. [Washington Post]