Critic Greg Allen pointed out the similarity between the president’s paintings and the search engine’s top results on his blog, greg.org.
“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," Allen wrote. “Many photos were taken from the subject's Wikipedia entry. Bush based his paintings on the literally first-to-surface, easiest-to-find photos of his subjects.”
It appears that Bush’s paintings of Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Tony Blair and John Howard were all done with a little help from Google.
“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,” according to Allen. “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. Instead, it seems, he Googled the world leaders he made such impactful relationships with himself, and took the first straight-on headshot he saw.”
According to its website, “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.”
[The Art of Leadership]