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Having lived with portrait painter Angelica Westerhoff for ten years, I find it little short of disgusting the attention George Bush receives from the world’s press for what can only be described as his childish daubings of world leaders.
The fact he doesn’t realise just how terrible he is, only goes to show how deluded and vain he has always been. Yet the world press, slavish as ever – even though much of it is tongue and cheek – gives more column inches to the dopey doodles of a man, who is regarded by many international lawyers as a war criminal, than it does to professional artists. Bush cannot even be described as a talented amateur.
Even worse, New York Times art commentator Roberta Smith actually takes the works seriously, bringing her own qualifications into question. Her remarks demonstrate how low some critics in the media are willing sink to curry favour with the rich and powerful.
Would we hear opera critics pour praise on him if Bush sang in the Metropolitan Opera House? Or if he picked up a violin and began to saw out Tchaikovsky? Would sports writers applaud him insisting on playing in a match for the New York Giants? Or would you welcome him practising open heart surgery on your body?
Well, artists, art lovers and students of art don’t like to see Bush parading his ‘work’ as representative of the contemporary art scene either. With far too many hobbyists splashing paint about here and there already, life as an artist has become hard enough. The last thing needed is frauds like the ex-president of the USA bringing real art into further disrepute.
If you want to see how bad he is look here: George Revealed George Bush’s art of leadership as ex-President paints former and current world leaders. And if you want to see how good Angelica Westerhoff is, by comparison, click here and scroll down.
As talented artists struggle to scrape by, newspapers think it’s a joke to give this evil joker ill-deserved, free publicity. The real art world consists of hard-working individuals devoted to their work while earning scant reward. However good that work may be, the majority will never receive much recogntion during their entire lives, if any at all.
Art is a vocation, and certainly not a viable business for most artists. Yet, whether in local public galleries, newpapers or museums, they are usually judged by amateurs, who can’t even draw. Normally, these amateurs have no training in art whatsoever, and very little understanding of it. Like the man in the street ‘they know what they like’. However, for knowing what they like, they make far more money than the artists, who do all the work. Meanwhle, the few artists, who do manage to make a good living, are often made to sacrifice their integrity on the altar of commercialism in ways no other professional would stand for. But just as many are mere charlatans, hitching a ride on the bandwagon of fashion.
The parasites, who leech off the art world by hyping up the flavour of the month, include journalists, auctioneers and art dealers. Not one can give you an adequate explanation as to why art goes ‘out of fashion’ or why it comes in. Not one will be able to tell you why Van Gogh never sold a painting during his entire life, yet now his paintings are amongst the most sought after in the world. I can. It’s because of them, and the people like them, who preceded them. The unqualified spongers; the self-appointed judges of taste, who decreed Van Gogh’s paintings were no good when they were painted in the 19th century. And people believed them. Only for another generation of similarly self-appointed bloodsuckers to pronounce them some of the best paintings in the world less than a century later. And people believed them. The paintings were exactly the same. Nothing had changed. Except for ‘expert’ opinion, which dictated a Van Gogh worth nothing in the second half of the 19th century, was worth the equivalent of almost $150 million in 1990. No painting is worth that. Not one artist received a cent from the sale. The painter had been dead for almost exactly one hundred years.
The art world has been treated like a joke for far too long by journalists describing themselves as critics pushing forward the latest fad. Too fearful of being labelled philistines they lend their names to pseudos, posing as leading lights, when they often have no idea whether a piece of art is a can of shit, or a masterpiece. Literally. In 2007 a can of shit entitled Merda de Artista (Artist’s shit) by Piero Manzoni sold for €124,000 at a Sotheby’s sale, read here. To resort to the vernacular, somebody has to be be taking the piss.
George Bush certainly is, and if he isn’t, he’s having the piss taken out of him. But the real victims here are art and artists.
While Angelica Westerhoff struggles to make a living, despite working seven days a week, often till late in the night, George Bush swaggers into a gallery pretending to be a sensitive artist, and the mainstream media queue up to add their own “fuck you!” to artists everywhere.
It is not only demeaning to art, it’s demeaning to all the poor of the world, when grovelling lickspittles tell billionaires in which paintings they should invest their plundered wealth. It’s an insult to those who can’t afford to feed their children, and it’s an insult to everybody’s intelligence.
No doubt thousands will turn up to view Bush’s turdishly amateur daubings to proclaim the talent he has been hiding under the…well, under the bush that should’ve been burned.
But Bush isn’t putting these paintings up to be judged, he’s so supremely arrogant he’s already told us he’s so good he deserves an exhibition. And so have his arse-licking toadies. He’s a graduate of the contemporary ‘anyone can draw’ school, whose adherents have no idea of what art is at all. He paints the type of decadent and degenerate images that heralded the fall of the Roman Empire. And as then, the Emperor has no clothes. He didn’t have any when he was president, and he doesn’t have any now he’s morphed into a painter.
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
I will be devoting a future post to the work of Angelica Westerhoff with a short biography of her life as an aritist.
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