The gargantuan art force that is the Gagosian Gallery exhibits some of the most enigmatic and masterful artists in history: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg... George W. Bush?
We could hardly believe our eyes when we stumbled upon this flyer, advertising a Bush-centric exhibition at the titan of all art galleries. Dubbed "American Legacy," the show ostensibly would exhibit the series of Bush's paintings which were recently a viral hit online.
Okay, so Dubya is not actually showing his bizarre oeuvre of fluffy critters and nude self portraits. The faux flyer hit the web in a fake article made and circulated online by Damien Crisp, an artist and blogger who can claim Jerry Saltz as a fan. Crisp, who has previously circulated stories such as "The Death Of Jeff Koons," invents stories online as a form of artistic expression. He even made Gagosian a fake Facebook for the hoax.
Yet the flyer itself was made by Joshua Saunders, an Austin based artist with no relation to Crisp. "We didn't know each other. I just randomly saw the photograph," Crisp wrote to the Huffington Post in an email. Saunders explained the motivations behind his art prank in a statement:
"It would be amazing to get as much circulation out of it as possible because think about, what if somehow W actually heard of this meme? How would he feel? And Gagosian as well, and then what if they ended up doing it...I just thought it was funny and kind of humorous crit of the business of art...It is so close to reality; Gagosian already showed Bob Dylan."
The nonexistent exhibition is actually not too hard to imagine. We can just see the former president talking shop with Larry Gagosian and Jeff Koons, can't you? Not to mention Bush has received unexpected praise from a range of art world big shots; the New York Magazine critic deemed his paintings "'simple' and 'awkward,' but in wonderful, unself-conscious, intense ways." The critic even went so far as to suggest that "The Whitney Museum of American Art should get on the stick and offer this American a small show."
What's next for Dubya? Sleeping in a box? In the meantime, check out some art world reactions from Bush's surprising "outsider" artworks: