George W. Bush's e-mail hacked, artistic ambitions revealed

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The Decider-in-Chief
  • The Decider in Chief
Politics aside, what has always struck me about George W. Bush is his apparent lack of self-reflection. He has ever appeared very much the "decider" he claimed to be, betraying no hint of doubt or hesitation. He seemed to plow headlong into history completely unburdened by the weight of self-consciousness.

In that sense, Bush is the anti-artist. All artists—and I'll stand by this claim—are acutely self-aware. The creation of art is often an effort to make sense both of the wider world and one's particular place within it. The artist's chosen subject, be it Picasso's contorted women or Damien Hirst's suspended carcasses, goes a long way in telling us how he sees the world.

In the work of an artist like Frida Kahlo, who due to critical injuries sustained in her youth was frequently bedridden, we see the world as it appears to someone who is literally trapped inside herself, one who has no choice but to be incessantly, painfully self-aware. She endured more than 30 surgeries in her life and said of her chosen subject, "I paint myself because I am so often alone, because I am the subject I know best."

Strange then that, based on a painting by the former president among the materials allegedly hacked from the Bush family's personal e-mail accounts, the artist George W. Bush most closely resembles is Kahlo. Suddenly I'm left to wonder what it must be like for Bush now, left in the wake of history, surrounded by the silence of self. And I wonder what, if anything, bobs just beneath the surface of these waters.

Frida Kahlo
  • Frida Kahlo
George W. Bush
  • George W. Bush

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