Art critics say 30 oil paintings of world leaders created by President George W. Bush bear a striking resemblance to the first image that pops up when searched for on Google.
“This is as good a time as any to point out that Bush painted his portraits, not just from photographs -- a common enough practice as well as a long-established conceptual strategy, though I think only the former pertains here -- but from the top search result on Google Images," wrote art critic Greg Allen.
“Many photos were taken from the subject's Wikipedia entry,” Allen added. “Bush based his paintings on the literally first-to-surface, easiest-to-find photos of his subjects.”
“Is this meaningful in any way? If he had one, it would mean Bush's studio assistant is very, very lazy. But in all his discussion of it, Bush's painting practice appears to be a solitary one,” Allen said.
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He believes it’s strange that Bush wouldn’t ask one of the many professional photographers who followed him during his 8-year presidency for access to images of world leaders.
“He apparently did not tap the enormous archive of photos, taken by the professionals who followed him every day for eight years, which are contained in his giant library," he said. "Instead, it seems, he Googled the world leaders he made such impactful relationships with himself, and took the first straight-on headshot he saw.”
The collection, “The Art of Leadership,” examines “the relationships that President George W. Bush forged with world leaders to shape international policy and advance American interests abroad,” according to the Bush Center website.
It is unclear whether any of the reproductions are in violation of copyright. Infamous ex-neighborhood guardsman George Zimmerman was slapped with a cease and desist after he attempted to sell a painting earlier this year that was a reproduction of an Association Press photo he didn't have permission to use.