Home » ART NEWS » Currently Reading:

Hacked George W Bush paintings help us inch (slightly) towards empathy

February 8, 2013 ART NEWS No Comments

20130208 164800 Hacked George W Bush paintings help us inch (slightly) towards empathy

A hacker obtained private emails among Bush family members that include paintings by George W Bush. Photograph: guardian.co.uk


poweredbyguardianBLACK Hacked George W Bush paintings help us inch (slightly) towards empathyThis article titled “Hacked George W Bush paintings help us inch (slightly) towards empathy” was written by Oliver Burkeman, for theguardian.com on Friday 8th February 2013 16.36 UTC

 Hacked George W Bush paintings help us inch (slightly) towards empathy

As you’ve maybe heard by now, several email accounts belonging to the Bush family appear to have been hacked, and The Smoking Gun website has published a selection of the results. (A spokesperson for the Bushes didn’t deny the documents’ authenticity, and said an investigation is underway.)

A hacker using the pseudonym Guccifer seems to have obtained private emails among family members, including details of the senior ex-president’s health troubles; plans for his funeral; a security code for the Bushes’ compound in Kennebunkport; a list of home addresses and mobile phone numbers, and…

… and two astonishing pictures, apparently showing paintings by George W Bush, one showing him naked in the shower, the other of his legs and feet in the bath, with the tap running. The Smoking Gun reports that Bush sent them to his sister, Dorothy Bush Koch; a third photograph shows him at his easel, working on a painting of a church.

There’s always something disorienting about those moments when you’re suddenly reminded that presidents, ex-presidents, prime ministers and others are people, with inner lives and vantage points, who take showers and stare at their feet in the bath. This jolting realisation is all the greater when the leader in question is Bush. We spent years, after all, trying to fathom what was going on in there: nothing much at all? Terrifying messianism? Criminal incuriosity? All manner of Oedipal hang-ups? Pictures of Bush in the bathroom don’t answer that, of course. But like any self-portrait, they inch us towards empathy. They invite us to imagine that being inside Bush’s head is something it’s possible to imagine.

They’re technically shoddy, to be sure. Presumably the word critics would use is “naive”. Look at that impossible reflection in the shower mirror, for starters, or the perspective on the bathtub, which must be the longest and narrowest in existence.

They’re arguably worse than the twee oil paintings of Dwight Eisenhower – the only other president, as far as I’m aware, with a passion for painting. (Hobby-wise, Obama prefers basketball and writing; Clinton favoured the tenor sax; John Quincy Adams swam nude in the Potomac; Richard Nixon enjoyed bowling and unhinged anti-Semitic outbursts.) But there’s something appealing in the quiet straightforwardness of Bush’s work, and in the lack of grandiosity in his choice of subject matter.

I know, I know, it doesn’t and shouldn’t alter history’s judgement on the man. And sending naked pictures of yourself to your sister is … odd. But at least Bush seems to have been introspecting, and cultivating some degree of curiosity about the world around him. Or about his bathroom, anyhow. As an amateur painter, we should avoid misunderestimating him.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

FAD NEWS

REVIEW: Rearranging the Career of Bita Fayyazi

October 25, 2014

REVIEW: Rearranging the Career of Bita Fayyazi

Bita Fayyazi’s work is disquieting; massive cockroaches swarm and inelegant thread bound heads jut from walls, smashed figures squat on low podiums and terracotta dead dogs lie on piles of dirt. Yet, almost against aesthetic reason, the pieces are utterly compelling. Her third solo outing at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde is a reinterpretation of her [...]

NX-Perspectives: Sharp New Digital Art inspired by the provocative new Lexus NX

October 23, 2014

NX-Perspectives: Sharp New Digital Art inspired by the provocative new Lexus NX

As regular readers know, FAD loves digital art, so we’re delighted to have encountered an innovative global project from Lexus called NX-Perspectives.

ARTNEWS:The Mexican Embassy And Jose Cuervo Partner To Lead ‘Day Of The Dead’ Celebrations In London

October 22, 2014

ARTNEWS:The Mexican Embassy And Jose Cuervo Partner To Lead ‘Day Of The Dead’ Celebrations In London

Jose Cuervo, the oldest tequila brand in the world partners with the Mexican Embassy to bring an art-led Day of The Dead festival to London

ART NEWS: London gallery to give away all its Art for FREE

October 22, 2014

ART NEWS: London gallery to give away all its Art for FREE

In a world first an art gallery in central London will be giving away every single one of its exhibits to passers-by (for free!) this Friday

ART NEWS: Legendary Magnum Photographer René Burri Dies at 81

October 22, 2014

ART NEWS: Legendary Magnum Photographer René Burri Dies at 81

Leaving behind a significant body of work, FAD takes a moment to remember legendary photographer René Burri

ART NEWS : “The Theory of Everything” brings NYC to Tears

October 22, 2014

ART NEWS : “The Theory of Everything” brings NYC to Tears

Stephen Hawking biopic, “The Theory of Everything” made it’s U.S. premiere at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City Monday night. The film, starring Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking & Felicity Jones as Hawking’s wife Jane, was said to leave its audience in tears as film industry darlings gathered to watch the films debut.

Don’t Miss: NON ZERO ONE as part of WHAT MARCEL DUCHAMP TAUGHT ME @FASLondon

October 21, 2014

Don’t Miss: NON ZERO ONE as part of WHAT MARCEL DUCHAMP TAUGHT ME @FASLondon

Taking you on a 22 minute headphone journey throughout the entire 5 floors of the UK’s oldest commercial dealership..

FAD DAILY

FAD DAILY

Want brilliant, exciting and interesting art and culture news in your inbox every day? Course you do. Sign up to our newsletter below.

ADVERTISING