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April 05, 2014

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bert

He is every bit as good a painter as he was a president.

Actually, this is a rather good test. These are utterly incompetent daubs by someone who hasn't bothered to understand the first thing about how light and colour work or how paint works or how facial anatomy works. He was always lazy - that clearly hasn't changed.

To be honest, Jamie, I very much doubt that "He met these people and this is how they looked to him" accurately captures his process. Far more likely: he tore their photos out of his copy of Former World Leader magazine, then attempted laboriously to copy them. In crayon.

The test is useful why? Because anyone who tries to tell you that these paintings are anything other than further grounds to loathe this worthless man is a liar and not to be trusted on any subject.

Charlie

I don't know, I rather liked them. Stephen Harper, Silvio Berlusconi: not so bad. Done from photos, sure. But Putin and Blair are the worst: it's as if looking at the photos for those two put him off his game. Understandable.

T. Greer

Nah, I think they are very useful.


No number of lessons has made me a better painter, so I can forgive the former President for no understanding how light, color, and all that work. Jeesh.


More interesting to me is the expression he gives each leader. Some smile-but some do not. The expression on Ehmud Olmert's face is particularly... telling. That is not an expression for the press releases. I don't think he did that straight from photos. His expression reeks of the swindler, the used car salesmen who smiles through his lies while suggesting their won't be a deal for another $1000. The expression is really a bit overdone--to the detriment of the painting itself.

But it makes you wonder what prompted Mr. Bush to attempt the expression in the first place. How many greasy smiles did the Israeli PM give during his trips to Washington?

Barry Freed

If I had the dough I'd buy one and hang it next to my Gacy.

bert

Soft bigotry of low expectations. Jeesh yourself, mate.

In another context these would be comically inept. But the Epic Shitness of Bush poisons everything it touches. So they're just inept.
And sad.

Dan

I'm a little surprised at the disdain here.

No, they aren't great works of art. They're pieces by somebody who has been learning to paint for a couple of years, as a hobby in his retirement. For that, they're of a perfectly reasonable standard.

Better that he paint, rather than following Blair's path of trotting round the world playing PR consultant to scoundrels.

bert

As a rehabilitation PR strategy it appears to be working, doesn't it? If you completely suck at painting after you fuck up the world, it can spare you the hassle a bunker suicide. Completely sucking beforehand being a rookie mistake.

Naturally memories are going to fade about those eight years, and no amount of comment section spleen is going to change that. I shouldn't have said 'liar' in my first post. It's perfectly possible to be wrong on this subject honestly and straightforwardly, through the timehonoured method of knowing fuck all about it.

godoggo

They make me think of a painting of me on a piece of wood that my grandpa did when I was a kid. There's a chicken and a tortoise on the ground in front of me and I have a hammer in my hand. I'll have to go take a look at the mouth sometime.

His wife actually was a very good painter.

jamie

I'm not interested in rehabilitating Bush. I think he came up with some interesting and disturbing images, from whatever part of his mind. Alex pointed out on twitter that the painting might be part of the Churchill cult the Bush White House fostered.

Barryt - you have a Gacy! My word...

bert

Churchill's paintings weren't that great either. But I'm fairly sure he didn't simper his way through a nationally televised puff piece fronted by his own daughter. If you've not seen it you might want to look it out on youtube. It'll have you kicking the cat in no time.
Sorry if I came across a bit Dan Hardie.

ajay

A colleague has just pointed out that it isn't that he can't do mouths; all of them have George Bush's mouth. Look at those upper lips.

Alex

I think you can make a case that the Blair portrait is genuine art, if outsider art. It's ugly as hell and deeply creepy, but the subject matter is ugly and creepy. It's more than a bit fantastical and unlikely, but wasn't Blair always that way? Someone like George Grosz or Otto Dix would get the point at once.

Actually I wonder if that's how he remembers Blair, smiling as he talked him around his own last-minute doubts. It's taken him this long to realise he bought a bill of goods.

If anyone else had painted an Israeli prime minister like that, though, they'd be pilloried for repeating crude anti-semitic caricatures. Everyone involved - especially the gallery unwise enough to exhibit them - would never hear the end of it.

Alex

I have just noticed that he painted Jacques Chirac as a black man. This must be deliberate.

ajay

Why is a bill of goods considered a stupid thing to buy? Isn't it just a list of goods?

Alex

I think the point is that the salesman persuaded you to take a whole lot of stuff, or rather, a whole list of items that sounds like a deal, while in fact you paid hugely over the odds. Think Tottenham Court Road computer seller who throws in a mouse, a laptop bag, some thumb drives, a can of air, and a USB-powered lobster and charges you an extra £50 on the price of the lappy.

Barry Freed

Sadly, I have no Gacy, Jamie; I should have phrased that better. And if I had I would surely gift it to you.

Dan

bill of goods. Here's an explanation I've heard, but not chased down. The idea is that you're selling somebody a ship's cargo while it is on the other side of the world. It might never arrive, or the cargo might turn out to be less than promised.

dsquared

Yes, it's like buying a pig in a poke. A small bag would actually be a quite useful container to buy a piglet in, but not if you don't check inside it. With the connotation that if you buy a "bill of goods", then you're buying the whole bill of goods - ie, everything that was in the ship's cargo - so you're probably being pretty indiscriminate and taking more risk than you should.

ajay

Dsquared: so it's a manifestly bad idea, ah ha ha ha.

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