Re: Laura Bush at the Nasher

Some wrap-up thoughts for Those Who Care, now that I’m back at a proper keyboard.

— The only reason, really, that I signed up for this media event was to see if I’d get through the Secret Service background check. Honestly, I was a little disappointed that I did. But when I walked up to the Nasher this morning at 8, I nearly got shot (exaggeration) when I walked past the media entrance at the side and tried to go through the front door. Those guys don’t play around.

— Before Laura Bush arrived, the press corps — about a dozen strong, mostly TV camerapersons — had to line up against a wall and get wanded by a metal detector. I told the Secret Service agent wielding the wand: “I really hoped you’d frisk me.” No such luck.

— One of the TV cameramen made jokes about “shooting” Laura Bush and how he was going out to his car to get his “shotgun” mic. Hysterical stuff. One of the Secret Service guys was nice enough to laugh and say, “Hey, I’m a nice guy.” To which the cameraman replied, “Sure, you’re nice. It’s the gun that hurts.” I’m pretty sure this cameraman will be watched closely for the next couple days.

— The Nasher folks (Hi, Kristen!) were nice enough to serve us coffee, pastries, and fresh fruit while we waited for Laura Bush to arrive. Here’s a tip if you ever cover such an event: don’t drink too much coffee. Because then, when you try to go to the bathroom, several gentlemen wearing suits and earpieces will stop you and say, “Sorry, no bathrooms. They’ve already been swept.” (Laura Bush to advance team: “When I get there, those damn bathroom floors had better be immaculate!”)

— Sometime D contributor Nan Coulter was there with her cameras. You wanna know how cool she is? She didn’t have to wait with the rest of us press dorks. She didn’t have to get wanded. She didn’t even have to stand behind the roped-off area like the rest of us. She just showed up and took pictures like she owned the place. My guess is, she has top-secret security clearance.

— Laura Bush herself? She comes across like any other woman you’d see in church. Does that make sense? If she weren’t the First Lady, you wouldn’t give her a second look. I wonder if she’s ever uttered a curse word in her life.

— Oh, and one more thing: a very dapper Jed Morse was in attendance today, walking around with Laura Bush and listening as Nancy Nasher talked about her parents’ art collection. When can we take the word “acting” off of his Acting Chief Curator title? Listen, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but the guy has been doing the job now for more than a year, right? And he’s been there since the place opened. I’d say he’s familiar with the collection. He dresses well. Just give the kid a 25-percent raise, promote him, and call it a day already.


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15 responses to “Re: Laura Bush at the Nasher”

  1. DLP says:

    Just imagining a row of “mostly TV camerapersons” and there you are shooting away with your iphone….
    Standing, clapping

  2. Tim Rogers says:

    @ DLP: Mrs. Bush’s advance team woman to Tim on the phone two days ago: “So will you be bringing a camera?”

    Tim: “Uh, yeah. My iPhone.”

    Advance woman: [pause] “So you’re like a one-man team, I guess.”

    But I will tell you that when I showed her I’d already posted photos to our blog before Mrs. Bush had even finished making her remarks, the advance woman was pretty impressed. And the DMN reporter was jealous.

  3. Nancy Nichols says:

    Nan Coulter is the Annie Leibovitz of Dallas. George, the older Bush, hearts Nan.

  4. yvonne says:

    Well, i aree with Nancy’s comment…Nan Coulter is the best photographer in the USA as far as I am concerned…not just “snapshots” real pics and portraits.
    She’s an icon.

  5. Tim Rogers says:

    You know what’s cool? Laura Bush has a stenographer that follows her around. I just got a transcript of everything she said. If you’re interested:


    Office of the First Lady


    For Immediate Release September 19, 2008



    Nasher Sculpture Center

    Dallas, Texas

    9:35 A.M. CDT

    MRS. BUSH: Good morning, everybody. I’m getting a sneak preview of the show that will open tonight at the Nasher Sculpture Garden, and I want to encourage everyone in the area to come out and see these new things that have been in the home — in Ray Nasher and Patsy Nasher’s home, and now are here in the garden for — either in the garden or inside for people everywhere from all over the metroplex and all over the world, for that matter, to come see.

    I think this is a wonderful place to bring your children. You can see this magnificent sculpture behind me, “Walking to the Sky.” This is the kind of sculpture that I think kids especially would be so fascinated with.

    One of — the Nasher Sculpture Garden is a huge asset to Dallas and to Texas. And this show particularly is a more personal show. It’s more about the relationships the Nashers had with these artists, who are the greatest artists of their generation — Picasso, Rodin, Oldenburg, Matisse, many others that are in here that are really very, very important to world history, art history.

    And so I urge people to come out to hear these personal stories that you’ll be able to hear about when you see these different pieces. It gives people, especially from around here, a chance, vicariously, to imagine what it would be like to be a collector, to get to meet many of these artists, to have a friendship with them like the Nashers were able to have.

    These portraits here, the Andy Warhol portraits of Mrs. Nasher and the Nashers’ three daughters, including Nancy, who’s here with me — imagine what it would be like to have Andy Warhol do your portrait. And so I think this is a very, very interesting show that I’d encourage people to come out. It’s not just a show, it’s a reorganization on the fifth anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Garden. But I want to encourage people from around the area to come, to bring your friends and your out-of-town guests, because this is such a beautiful place to visit, and especially on perfect fall days like today.

    And I also want to thank Nancy and Jed, who’s the curator of the show, for the personal tour that I got early this morning.

    While I’m here, I wanted to just talk about one other thing, and that’s the clean-up that’s going on on the Gulf Coast because of Hurricane Ike. I know that people in north Texas are concerned. A lot of people have family members and friends who live in Houston or Galveston, and I want to encourage people from north Texas to figure out ways you can volunteer and help with the hurricane recovery.

    The Red Cross is a great way to volunteer. The Red Cross, because of all these hurricanes, some of their funds were depleted, so it’s more important than ever now to give to the Red Cross. You can go to their website at, so I urge people to do that. I know that a lot of congregations around here are doing what they can, either gathering supplies or sending volunteers to the Gulf Coast to work in shelters, or to help pass out supplies, or to cook meals for the people on the Gulf Coast. So while I’m here, I wanted to just remind people in north Texas to do what they can. I know they already are and I know they’ll continue to do that.

    So do you all have some questions? Thanks for coming out early.

    Q I understand the President was supposed to be here, but he couldn’t because of the hurricane. He’s on —

    MRS. BUSH: The President was not going to be here today. He was going to be in Fort Worth earlier this week, and instead he went to Galveston and Houston.

    Q How is the house hunt going?

    MRS. BUSH: We’re looking. And contrary to the rumors, we have not yet purchased a house, but we are in the midst of looking for it.

    Q Do you have a timetable?

    MRS. BUSH: Pardon me?

    Q Do you have a timetable at all?

    MRS. BUSH: It would be January 21st. (Laughter.)

    Q In the Dallas area, though?

    MRS. BUSH: In the Dallas area, yes. We lived here; this is where we lived when George was elected Governor. And we moved away 14 years ago to the Texas Governor’s Mansion, and then to the White House, and so now we’ll be coming home. Barbara and Jenna were born in Dallas, and so we’re — but they went to elementary school here — so we’re all looking forward to coming back.

    Q How long do you plan on staying in north Texas today?

    MRS. BUSH: I’ll leave right after lunch.

    Q Do you have a particular area — Park City or Highland Park —

    MRS. BUSH: No, we’re looking in a lot of parts of Dallas.

    Q You spoke about the Sculpture Garden, a good place to — it may be a good place to bring your future grandchildren. They’re doing construction across the street — is that part of what brought you to Dallas, the cultural part of it?

    MRS. BUSH: Dallas has a very, very vibrant cultural life, and it’s really in a renaissance right now, as you can tell, with the construction of the new performing arts center and the other buildings that are being built down here. This is a new building, as well, a new Sculpture Garden just five years old. And all of this really makes for a very, very vibrant cultural life.

    It’s a really good classroom for your children, and I don’t mean that in a boring classroom way. I mean, these are ways you can bring your children downtown to see the performing arts, to see the visual arts, to see — to listen to music, and to really — and especially in this show — to learn what artists are really like, and how people have a friendship with them, and what it means to collect art, and what it means to have these public art venues like we do in Dallas. So I want to encourage people to bring their kids down here.

    Q Did you have a favorite piece in the exhibit?

    MRS. BUSH: Well, I liked a lot of them a lot. I mean, the one that comes to mind immediately, which also was the last one we saw, is a beautiful Rodin, one — an early piece, maybe the earliest piece in the collection, 1876. It’s a plaster cast; very fragile, very beautiful. Most people would not have an opportunity to see a piece like this. People in this part of the state and all the visitors that come from around the world are very, very fortunate to have the chance to be able to see a piece like this.

    Thanks, everybody. Looking forward to seeing you again. You all will be the first to know if we buy a house — (laughter) — when we buy a house.

    END 9:41 A.M. CDT

  6. John Bacon says:

    She is also in town tending to their real estate needs!

  7. Um, we get it says:

    Hey, was Laura Bush at the Nasher?

  8. GMOM says:

    Lunch was at Goff’s!!!

  9. the cynic says:

    hate to be the party poop, but I strongly disagree that Nan is THE best photog in Dallas. Nor would I consider her anywhere near Annie L’s league. She’s good. Imo (and I’ve worked with many Dallas event and press photogs over man years), Dallas has better. I’ve seen numerous events where Nan phoned it in. Having said that, it will be interesting to see what photos Nan turns in on this assignment. Obviously, this is an A list event so one would think she would file her best work for this. You be da’ judge.

  10. Jacques Vroom III says:

    Many comments:

    Tim, I could not agree more with you about Jed. He is a great guy, knows his stuff, is a great ambassador for The Nasher, and knows how to wear a well-fitted suit. Give the guy a raise and a shorter title!

    As for “the cynic,” and his/her comments about the event and my mother, Nan Coulter, here are a few quick things to think about. First, when writing six lines of anything, please do not use abbreviations and non-words like, “photog,” “man” to mean many, and “imo.” If you have time to type six lines, you have time to type words. Nobody likes reading that stuff. Second, “nor” should only be used to follow “neither.” Third, since you were in such a rush you had to abbreviate and to lop off word endings, I suggest you stop using “in my opinion (you abbreviated as “imo”) and “obviously.” We know it is your opinion, because you wrote it. And if it is obvious, there is no need to write the thought. Third, the concept of the best artist or best photographer is absurd. I suspect the person above who suggested Nan is the best in the USA was saying that Nan is her favorite, or just being kind. Your comments suggest that you are able to determine who the best is and what it means to be the best, ridiculous. Fourth, despite your claim, Laura Bush at the Nasher is not obviously an A list event to me. But I can tell you this, if Nan’s best work comes from an afternoon podium speech with limited access to a woman whose appearance is similar to hundreds of thousands of other women in Dallas, I will unreservedly agree that Dallas has many better photographers. And fifth, the first rule when distributing criticism, especially negative criticism, is claim it as your own by using your name.

    Da’ judge,

    Jacques Edward Vroom III, son of Nan Coulter and frequenter of A list events

  11. Susie Abb Priore says:

    I’ve known Nan for almost 30 years and as her son so aptly pointed out- “best” is an opinion- taste is personal, but Nan is certainly ONE of the best “people” photographers I have ever worked with. Perhaps CYNIC needs a quick “mirror” check to see if he/she is projecting. In this nasty time of electoral politics, it seems a bit over the top to level a personalized attack on someone in an innocent blog but if you must do so, you should put your name on anything you write in public (including bathroom epithets- just kidding). Nan is a hardworking professional and a very good fine art photographer- not just a “social” shooter.
    You go NAN!!!
    Susie Abb Priore

  12. Charissa Terranova says:

    I know Nan is brilliant. And right on Bunky (Vroom da 3rd). The Cynic is a provincial anti-intellectual nitwit — the last thing we need around here.

    Charissa N. Terranova
    PhD = Harvard

  13. Yolette Garcia says:

    Who would have thunk it? That a blog posting about the First Lady would have generated so many comments about my pal, Nan Coulter. That, in and of itself, should demonstrate why Nan is cool.

  14. Nan Coulter says:

    Nancy Nichols is the M.F.K. Fisher AND Patrick Leigh Fermor of Dallas.

  15. mary brown malouf says: