Comparing George W. Bush to Edgar Degas

Don’t laugh. Morgan Meis knows more about art than you do. No? Well, he has founded more New York-based arts collectives than you have. And Meis sees some similarities between the paintings of W and Degas.

Comparing the paintings of George W. Bush and Edgar Degas is an absurd undertaking if we are talking about quality. We would be comparing a hobbyist with one of the great masters. But I am not suggesting that we compare in terms of quality. I am suggesting that we can learn something about the Realist mind when we look at the art of George W. Bush as well as that of Degas. The Realist is often forced to the side, to the oblique angle, to the unusual vantage point precisely in his attempt to get at the truth. The truth of a scene doesn’t always reveal itself right away. The Realist must hunt for the right spin with great confidence. The Realist believes in his or her capacity to see rightly. The Realist cares nothing for multiple points of view. The Realist cares only for the correct point of view, the view that reveals the most truth. That is to say, Realists in painting (or in anything else) have an in-built arrogance. It is an arrogance born of the idea that Realists are uniquely able to see things the right way.

Read the rest of Meis’ essay. Good stuff.

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