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.