In 2013 photographs of two self-portraits
painted by former President George W. Bush,
one showing him naked from the waist up
standing in his shower, the other soaking
in the bathtub with the water running,
were stolen from his sister’s email account
and posted on the internet.
Below, an art critic wades in:
Yes, their provenance is problematic, illegitimate even,
but the sheer, dare I say it, shock and awe of these two
visionary works by the artist known only to the world as W
compels us in the rarefied thin air of high art to finally,
gratefully pay homage to a muscular primitivism
that seeks to wall-slam our ossified notions of artistic talent,
technical skill, as well as good taste into a state
of medically supervised unconsciousness.
To my fellow art critics nearly drowning themselves
in tortured psychoanalytical twaddle
about deep seated desires for cleansing
or metaphorical conversations with waterboarders,
I say your contributions to the field of art criticism are unacceptable.
It’s not that a self-portrait of the artist standing nude (easy on those flesh tones sir)
in his own shower contemplating his expressionless face
reflected in a shaving mirror, or the other soaking his child-like bow legs
in the bathtub are awkwardly weird, it’s that they’re so weirdly awkward.
To the haters who have despised and dismissed W’s creative legacy
because “his hands were stained with blood,” I say: Caravaggio
was a murderous psychopath who literally did have blood on his hands
and you still showed up to his art shows, hypocrites.
We’re talking regime change folks!
Antiquated are the tobacco-colored horses and teepees of U.S. Grant.
Passé is the drunken Cézanne wannabe post-impressionistic drivel
Churchill excreted ad nauseam.
Out of season are Ike’s Hallmark Christmas card “daubs.”
This is edgy outsider art that thumbs its nose at elitist cultural fascism.
This is art in all its misunderestimated queasiness.
This is George W. Bush In His Bathroom: A Retrospective.