Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

April 16, 2014

House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership'

The 43rd president publicly debuts artwork

(Continued)

In the leaked paintings first revealed last year by hacker “Guccifer,” Bush seemed to be wrestling with himself. I stand by my original positive assessment of his more personal work from my Feb. 13, 2013 column, “The artwork of George W. Bush.” His imaginative subjects included: his feet sticking out of bathtub water; his partial reflection in a mirror; and a dog staring mournfully through metallic gates at the far-away White House.

Unfortunately, the Bush camp is now running away from his affecting, early period. “When asked about the bathing paintings in interviews ramping up to the exhibition, Bush distanced himself from them — and indirectly ridiculed anyone who took them seriously — by saying that he had only painted them to shock his teacher,” wrote Smith. In an April 4 “Today” show segment with Jenna Bush Hager, his daughter and a NBC contributing correspondent, when she brought up the bathroom self-portrait, he derisively compared his likeness to Alfred E. Neuman.

Per my March 27, 2013 column, “Dubya can repaint his legacy,” I still think he should auction his paintings, donating proceeds to veterans. He’s conducted similar sales before. “A pickup truck used by [Bush] at his Texas ranch was sold for $300,000 at an auction … [which benefits] the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that provides free housing for families of military service members who are receiving medical treatment,” reported Reuters’ Marcie Richter on Jan. 20, 2013. I know his paintings could easily fetch way more, especially if he took some chances.

Near the end of the History Channel video, Bush gives a glimpse into his true psyche. “I expect I’ll be painting ‘til I drop,” he says. “And my last [brush] stroke as I’m heading to grave, I wonder: what color it will be?”

Now, there’s an image.

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.

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