Friday, April 4, 2014
The Effort Outweighs the Meaning
I don't know. Art is embarrassing when it's done right, when its motives are pure and the image comes from an honest attempt to make something sincere, even sacred. In this case George Bush's desire to signify his begrudging respect/admiration for Vladimir Putin. Lord have mercy, that amateurish skin-tone, those blank third-grade eyes, the sad scratchy lavender background. This is the kind of art I always respect because the effort outweighs the meaning, and truly meaning here is pretty dumb and limited to the point it becomes profound, elegant in its monster-like simplicity. The ears have a surrealistic bent, like homosexual sea shells. And those baggy eyes, those thin lips like an obscene peanut shell. There's a sensual quality here, a school-boy's love-letter, a sketch done in secret. It's a joke, and it's not. Power and solemnity get usurped by a truly stupid intent. You can see George getting cross-eyed trying to get it right. Trying to make it look right. Trying and trying, and then one sunny morning he gets it. He comes up with this denouement, this image from a dream, this image from history.
I would love to own this godforsaken painting. It needs to disappear.