Farewell, Dickhead


Robert Arnesons General Nuke

Now that President Bush has made his final grope for the exit, The Rumpus asks a few artists, curators and friends to tell us which work of art best personifies the Bush legacy for them. (On the left Robert Arneson’s “General Nuke”)

From painter and porn star Zak Smith: “This picture is by Sean McCarthy. He is from Texas, and is a reasonable man. A subscriber to Harper’s and The New York Times, a fan of Melville, Darwin, Kafka, history, philosophy, a university professor, a man whose art requires precision, patience, rulers, and tiny ink pens. Despite all this, the years 2001-2008 nearly ruined him, humanly, and saw him produce nothing but pustulent nightmare-pictures of omnivorous, drooling monsters. Like every reasonable man at that time, at a certain point, after some headline or court decision or law or press conference, the notion of ‘Why?’ disintegrated for Sean McCarthy and was replaced by a hypnotizing medieval moan: ‘…of course, of course, of course…’  Here, McCarthy gives us the only political cartoon those years of total anti-reason will ever need: a wailing chimp–its head fixed, left and right, to staring predators–atop a moronic, gigantic, enraged, bewildered beast, and all the while steering and/or choking and/or fondling it with armored claws.”

Sean McCarthy. Haborym, 2007. Ink and graphite on paper: 9 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches

Sean McCarthy. Haborym, 2007. Ink and graphite on paper: 9 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches

Interestingly, in the same primatological vein, Ron English sent us one of his own images:

From Andrew Hosner, co-owner and curator of Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles: “I chose this image as, well, it speaks for itself. Only Bush’s own self-inflated ego can compare. His last speech was a JOKE.”

Paul McCarthy's "Complex Shit"

From Chicago-based painter Cameron Harvey: “I would have to say a clown velvet painting. They are sort of funny and scary at the same time. It is unbelievable that people like and collect something that they call art, which is so bad. Like how people elected Bush, and he was so bad…and then you are stuck looking at him in your living room, not sure why you bought it ….all are beautifully simple and misunderstood as well…Wikipedia, under velvet painting, says that black velvet paintings originate in ancient Kashmir, how appropriate if you really want to get into it… funny funny.”

From artist and writer Lea Feinstein, San Francisco correspondent for ARTnews magazine and a former director of the HANG Gallery: “Anselm Kiefer is a post-WWII German artist whose work reflected the devastation he saw in Europe growing up. Any of Kiefer’s work would be a good representation of how I feel about what Bush has done to America, civil and human rights at home and abroad, not to mention the US economy. How much damage can one person and his cronies (led by Cheney, Rove and Wolfowitz) do? A lot. If Obama visualizes this scene as a field to restore and cultivate, he will not be far wrong.”

From painter and gallery owner Eleanor Harwood: “These are the first bombs exploding over Baghdad.  I took the image from a photograph I took of CNN’s broadcast of the bombs we dropped March 20th 2003.  I took me until the fifth anniversary of the start of the war to finally make it a painting which was my intention all those years ago. Lara Logan is a reporter that fearlessly has continued to report from Baghdad during the entire war. I dedicated it to her as she has been one of the few sources that has remained stationed in Iraq for the full five years.”

For Lara Logan 3-20-2003 acrylic on wood panel 24 x 24

"For Lara Logan 3-20-2003" acrylic on wood panel 24" x 24"

Julie Greicius was Art Editor for The Rumpus when it launched in January 2009. One year later, she became Senior Literary Editor, and later, Senior Features Editor. Julie also co-edited the first book published by The Rumpus, Rumpus Women, Vol. 1, featuring personal essays and illustration from twenty kick-ass contributors. Her writing been featured on The Rumpus, Midnight Breakfast, Stanford Medicine Magazine, and BuzzFeed, as well as in the anthology The 27th Mile. She lives in California and is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board. More from this author →