Stop Laughing at Bush's Awful Art

Artist Molly Crabapple argues that we shouldn't overlook Bush's tragedies

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 14, 2014 12:22 PM CDT

(Newser) – The media loves George W. Bush's paintings. "They're ideal clickbait-kitsch," and "the benign cherry on his lifetime sundae of fail," observes artist Molly Crabapple at Politico. And she admits that they're fascinating, though not as works of art. "Bush paints like a freshman art student attempting alla prima, which means doing a whole painting in one sitting," and "comes off terribly when done by newbies," she notes. But no matter how terrible the paintings are, she doesn't think they're funny—because she remembers what Bush has done.

Crabapple recently met James Yee, a former chaplain to Guantanamo detainees who, when he complained about their treatment, was arrested and thrown into solitary confinement himself for 76 days, subjected to shackles and sensory deprivation, before being released without charge. He now creates remarkable artwork about his ordeal, drawn on paper made from pulped combat uniforms. "The two men, perpetrator and victim of the War on Terror, make their pictures. At his multimillion-dollar ranch, Bush playacts the dream of being an artist," while Yee must live in the real world "that Bush and his friends built." Click for her full column.

Former President George W. Bush tours his new exhibit, The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, April 1, 2014.
Former President George W. Bush tours his new exhibit, "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, April 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Mona Reeder)
A detail of a portrait of Pervez Musharraf, which is part of the exhibit The Art of Leadership: A President's  Diplomacy, is on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, April 4, 2014.
A detail of a portrait of Pervez Musharraf, which is part of the exhibit "The Art of Leadership: A President's Diplomacy," is on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, April 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/Benny Snyder)
A detail of a portrait of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from President Bush's exhibition.
A detail of a portrait of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from President Bush's exhibition.   (AP Photo/Benny Snyder)
A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin which is part of the exhibit The Art of Leadership: A President's  Diplomacy, is on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, April 4, 2014.
A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin which is part of the exhibit "The Art of Leadership: A President's Diplomacy," is on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, April 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/Benny Snyder)
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Art is supposed to show sophistication, introspection. Bush never seems to be a sophisticated or
introspective man. - Molly Crabtree

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