We Need to Talk About This Painting of Jeff Bezos



It is pretty intense.


You neglected the hands. But that's being nit-picky.
Actually that is darned good art criticism.


Wealthy and powerful people don't already get enough attention I guess


It would be awesome if Bezos went to the moon and stayed there.


I think photorealism being the style of painting that requires the least amount of imagination also says reams about the subject at hand.

It's a simulacrum of a photograph, ffs. Removing the tekné from the artistic process doesn't make it any more "organic", or less sterile.


To me, it just looks like he wants, but can't quite manage, to fart.


Jasmyne, yes, Bezos is white, and successful. Jealous much?

Your preoccupation with whiteness has cultivated a level of toxicity that permeates every molecule of your being. I’d recommend getting help, but you will find no peace in the depth of deprivation you have frenzied yourself into.


"Commissioned by Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in Washington, D.C."

My place is a block away from this museum, which no one in DC refers to as "NPG". It's the Portrait Gallery to locals, and to journalists and critics on second reference.


By "modern" perhaps the meaning was "contemporary,' not the art movement that passed into history almost half a century ago. And that is what will date both the image and the ideals of the man portrayed. Look back to the early 20-century photos of arch-segregationists such as Senator Theodore Bilbo: stiff, jaw-scraping wing color and cameo-pinned narrow knot/wide tip tie. Nobody dresses like that nor (at least not openly and respectably) thinks like that. Bezos in his splay collar and power tie, wearing the dress shirt with no jacket that's supposed to embody a traditional hierarchy but get-it-done attitude (but is now just the uniform of assholes like Jim Jordan). These are clothes that will not be worn much longer: as irrelevant in the future as Imperial Austro-Hungarian bicorns with ostrich feathers are today; along with the contents of the skulls they covered.


I wonder if he was on meth in South Dakota when they painted that.


The rich should be taxed for being alive - Dororthy Parker.

Not only that, there needs to be an onerous "death tax" and some sort of burdensome "birth tax".


This is some of the best writing about art in The Stranger since Jen Graves.


Wow, what a crappy painting. Indistinguishable from a poster. Art!


@14: Agreed. I love Jasmyne's eye.
@8: Maybe a little more coffee for you? I mean so you can take shit instead of talking it.


I speak from experience here. Photorealism is something I do well and sold internationally so this is my take on this painting:

it is proper that he be painted from a photograph and copied in this pose.
Adding any intent to brushstrokes or any information that gives a narrative would make this man seem like he has some character. But he doesn't! The photorealism chosen for this subject is to get us to look closer and pay attention but not because of the subject but because of the technique and illusion.
It is not easy to do photorealism and many can do it. It is direct copying of a photograph, which, prior to the camera was just called painting, even if using "camera Obscure".
The direct copying of a photograph especially if the background is eliminated can lend no emotion to an image, it becomes documentation. In regards to how paint is handled there is little flair or expression in brush strokes with this style of painting. You let the pose and content try so hard to do all the speaking but all the technique use applying paint ends up upstaging the subject spectacularly.
This one is done well, and because of that wows the audiences. But as with most photorealism it is not about the subject but the actual illusion of a photograph. The subject is secondary it has be upstaged.
having said that it lends it's self well to this portrait of this guy. It is corporate, boring, stark, all business with no warmth. If it was just a photograph maybe it would not have been as interesting but it is a painting and painted and crafted intensely which upstages it's subject completely because of it's illusion.
So the words most will say when looking at it is not about "Jeff Bezos" but:
"it's not a photograph?" or "OMG that is a painting" or something to that effect. If the artist is present it will be "how long did it take you to do "that"?"
It could be a painting of anything and the reaction will usually be about the illusion but not much to do with the subject. Photorealism always upstages the subject and can come across as cold and without feeling so this technique is perfect for this subject because it shows reality and the plain boringness of the subject but it is elevated higher than a photo because it is crafted from paint, which outshines the subject and so it should because the subject is plain and boring and there needs to be something to talk about. So the illusion of a photograph upstages, takes centre stage and becomes far more interesting.


The lack of humanity in his perfectly rendered portrait is striking, and also quite boring. He's just like every executive I've ever come across... devoid of anything other than ambition.


@18 -- "He's just like every executive I've ever come across... devoid of anything other than ambition."

And how do we reward him for his talent/Obsession for success?

Why, we let him buy as many U.S. Newspapers or TeeVee and Radio Stations / mass media as he pleases. It's YOUR oyster, Mr. Bezos (or Murdoch, whichever). And if he's a Benevolent Billionaire, perhaps the We, the Citizenry do okay.

If he's the Devil, we're Fucked.*
Is this really how we wanna run this Planet?
Biggest psycopath takes ALL?

Seems like we might wanna
think this thing through, a little better...

(I still say, the pic's incomplete, needs perspective --
make him Washington Monument proud, and
superimpose his giant glass balls behind him.
A halo'd be nice, too.)

*see: Australia caves to a Murdochopia


I love that photo of Bezos intently staring at the picture as he secretly plans to have one of his shell companies buy it for the safe room in his house.