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Scandal! Did George Bush Use Google Images as the Source of His Paintings?

Former President George W. Bush recently made headlines for opening a new art exhibit, showcasing his paintings of various world leaders. But, as art critic Greg Allen points out, all of the works at “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy” at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas appear to have been lifted from online photographs—many, the first ones to appear in a Google Image search of the leader. Though most of the images seem to be the Wikipedia photo of the subject, as Animal New York (who compiled the comparisons in the image below) points out, at least one is owned by the AP. And, as you may remember, that company sued artist Shepard Fairey after he used an AP-owned image as the inspiration for his iconic “Hope” portrait of President Obama. Though it’s pretty unlikely that the Associated Press would sue a former president for a painting based on one of their images, the whole case does raise a lot of questions about ideas like appropriation, sourcing and the copyrights of art in the age of the Google Image search. If writers needed a compelling plotline for the next season of Scandal, than they need to look no further. If this wouldn’t keep Olivia Pope busy, we don’t know what would …

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