Wednesday, April 24, 2013
So, are George W. Bush’s paintings any good?
At least there are no semi-nudes this time.
Whether you like it or not, he's back, y'all -- at least for a week or two during the multitudinous festivities surrounding the dedication and opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center SMU. And, while the 43rd president of the United States of America has spent the last five years laying low, that doesn't meant he hasn't been busy enjoying his retirement. As it turns out, the former POTUS has taken up painting, and he shared his work exclusively with the Dallas Morning News.
The story of W.'s new hobby broke a few months ago when hackers discovered photographs of odd paintings allegedly by George W. Bush in his private email account. Depicting what appears to be self-portraits of Mr. Bush undressed while soaking in a bath tub and looking vaguely confused while showering, those paintings practically begged for comedic psychoanalysis.
Those paintings must have been good PR, though. The Washington Post reports that W.'s approval rating recently reached its highest point in seven years. His newly released, verified work is much less exhibitionist, and honestly a bit quotidian for the man who once referred to himself as "the Decider."
Many will be however relieved to note that Bush is trying his hand at projects of mass construction these days. It remains unclear if he has taken lessons -- Gawker reports that he has -- or if these are products of a few lost evenings at Painting With a Twist (sans the Pinot, of course). It seems safe to suggest that the paintings won't be hanging unironically on gallery or art museum walls anytime soon, though it's interesting to see the prez's interest in artistic endeavors.
The most interesting aspect of the four-piece collection we've seen is a fluid and watery scene from what appears to be a dining table overlooking a living room and floor-to-ceiling windows called "Crawford Breezeway." While the subject itself is fairly prosaic, the feeling of looking out through a fishbowl into a blurred world is notable. Intentionally foregoing any Katrina comparisons -- as it is always "too soon" in that regard -- we'll instead mention the technically bizarre ceiling fan, disproportional and somewhat comically reminiscent of a cephalopod.
Interesting, too, are his takes on the family's famed Scottish terriers, Miss Beazley (above) and the recently-departed Barney (on right). While neither portrait is particularly memorable as a work of art, they do depict a couple of incredibly cute North Texas pups that would constitute fine additions to the Pegasus Pet Gallery.