Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

George Bush insults art and artists


Conrad by Angelica Westerhoff. I refuse to illustrate any of George Bush’s ‘work’

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.

Sol WP

Angelica Westerhoff self-portrait

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.

16 comments on “George Bush insults art and artists

  1. Moss
    February 21, 2016

    Bryan Hemming, you are the arrogant one. Now you need a license to express yourself artistically? Do we need one to be human, too? Let me guess. You are part of the liberal police, trying to erase all of Our freedoms. That wasn’t a question. A natural conclusion based on your tight ass attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jenni
    April 7, 2014

    I too was appalled at the way George Bush gained aclaim for work that was on par with paint by the numbers and I can appreciate the difficulty experienced with artists who work extremely hard to make a career out of something that is so subjective. Trends come and go and are initiated it seems more by ‘critics’ rather than the artists themselves. I doubt we’ll ever again see the kind of trends produced by differing artistic groups or writers in past centuries.

    The pieces you have displayed here show life and emotion that evokes quite a distinct response. Thank you for sharing these and your words on the topic. Jenni


    • Bryan Hemming
      April 8, 2014

      Great to hear, Jenni, but not so great to hear you’re not feeling so good today. Hope you get well soon, Bryan.


  3. Korinthia Klein
    April 7, 2014

    My parents are artists and ran a gallery in the Detroit area for 40 years, so I know how hard artists work and for how little public reward. I feel the same frustration about people paying so much attention to Bush and his meager attempts at painting while someone like my mother, whose work is underappreciated and equisite, struggles on. LIfe isn’t fair.


    • Bryan Hemming
      April 7, 2014

      With painting, Bush is allowed to get away with it, but imagine if he tried something like opera singing. He’d immediately expose himself for the clown he is.

      The general public remain genarlly ignorant about art, and that’s how the art establishment likes it. It’s no different from banking, in that the rich see it as solely as an investment market where they can pump up the prices at will, to reap the rewards at the right moment. Like pass the parcel played backwards, the mug is the last one caught holding the painting.

      At the moment art is seen as a safer bet than cash, but only the art the establishment chooses.


  4. evelyneholingue
    April 6, 2014

    The same can be said about the celebrities who publish picture books for children. Hard for “normal” writers and artists to compete in this “league.”..


    • Bryan Hemming
      April 6, 2014

      Agreed. However they appear to want to be perceived they seem to want a piece of eveything.


  5. raeperry
    April 6, 2014

    Hear, hear!


  6. whimdesigns
    April 5, 2014

    I actually do not agree with you and I think that George W. Bush being an artist is a good thing! It will bring about talk about funding the arts again, how celebrity and fame brings one opportunity that others do not get, an I see that you are using this as a way to promote an artist you think is better. If George didn’t paint and have this to debate… no one would be learning about Angelica W. Great marketing ploy – I may take a similar approach!


    • Bryan Hemming
      April 5, 2014

      Thank you for contributing to the debate. Nevertheless, George Bush does not paint because he has any interest in the art of others, and neither has he made such a claim. If he did, he would understand how his self-promotion damages the public perception of art.

      There are plenty of ways for politicians and wealthy benefactors to promote the arts that do not involve promoting themselves as artists. Many set up trusts and funds for students.

      Already there are critics trying to suggest he is a naïve artist without understanding the term. He is neither naïve nor an artist. It is they who are being, either naïve, or cynical, to suggest such idiocy.

      We all use blogs to promote the ideas of others, their ideals, our ideals, our friends and ourselves. That is the whole point. And that is why you have the right to comment.

      As the invitation to the comments section states, please feel free to leave a link to any of your own posts. So get in on the publicity.


  7. colltales
    April 5, 2014

    It’s really beyond embarrassing witnessing yet another one of Bush’s insulting actions getting wall to wall media coverage. And it happened in the same week when another former president, Jimmy Carter, himself unfairly taunted for outfitting the WH with solar panels, for instance, (oh, that fool) and who went on to become the only U.S. president not to have ever allowed a military strike during his term, and who practically defined the dignified role ex-presidents should play, just released another book, one the oppression of women, no less. You don’t need to guess who got the most attention, of course.
    As for the beautiful work of Ms. Westerhoff and so many true artists who’ve struggled all their life not by choice, for art is not something one picks as one’d choose the color of a sofa, and hardly if ever got any recognition, well, what can I say, it’s a deeply flawed world the one we live in, unfortunately.
    It’s also unfortunate that the Obama administration is going on record for becoming far from radically different from Bush’s as we all once wished, despite all redeeming qualities and exceptionally adverse conditions he faced for being an African-American.
    But we do hope the latest revelations about CIA’s torture tactics and inefficiency at protecting Americans get traction in the court of public opinion and leads to the prosecution of those who ordered this scourge, all the way to the highest echelons of power. Personally, though, we doubt it ever will.
    Thanks for this post, Bryan.


  8. Wendy Kate
    April 5, 2014

    Oh dear, yes, they ARE pretty bad…..


  9. eremophila
    April 5, 2014

    I’m drumming my heels and cheering you on Bryan!!!!!
    Keep telling it like it is mate!


    • Bryan Hemming
      April 5, 2014

      Thanks, the idea of Bush as an artist had me so angry my keyboard almost caught fire. I studied art at college, albeit graphic design. In those days you had to learn how to draw. I used to go to countless exhibitions and love art from all ages. There aren’t so many good exhibitions round here so I don’t get to see so much these days. I miss it.


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This entry was posted on April 5, 2014 by in Art, Articles, Review and tagged , , , , , , .

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