This may be the first criticism of George W Bush from an obvious liberal that didn’t make me bristle.
Of course, Jerry Saltz was offering art criticism, there – and I will say this for Mr. Saltz; he knows how to separate out his personal views with his ones on art. I think that the critic isn’t taking into account Bush’s understandable, if hopefully temporary, over-emphasis on mastering newly-learned techniques (a common enough problem for beginning artists), but that’s merely a minor dispute. Artwork intended to be a gift can be an awkward subject for analysis, particularly if there isn’t a really strong existing emotional resonance between the artist and the giftee; artifice is really to be expected. I wonder whether Saltz is being reasonable to think of the Leno picture as representative of Bush’s current level of skill.
Still, Jerry Saltz does raise a very good point: this new endeavor of George W Bush’s gives the rest of us the opportunity to see something that normally we don’t: how someone who was once the most powerful man in the world sees that world. He wants to see more of it, and so do I.