Artistic Rivalries

05.12.15 6:00 PM ET

Dr. Kanye West Mocks George W. Bush—Bush Center Giggles

The newly-crowned honorary doctorate took a shot at 43 during his degree acceptance speech in Chicago—and even the Bush Center is amused.

“Dr. Kanye West!!!!!!! I’m so proud of you baby & I know your mom would be so proud too!!!!”

That was Kim Kardashian gramming in excitement on Monday when her husband received an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, painted by former U.S. President George W. Bush, is displayed at "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" exhibit at the Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas April 4, 2014. Former U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday revealed a series of portraits of world leaders he painted in a new pursuit. The exhibit opens Saturday and will feature Bush's paintings of some two dozen world figures he worked with during his 2001-2009 presidency.

Brandon Wade/Reuters

“I am a pop artist,” Kanye said in his brief remarks. “So my medium is public opinion and the world is my canvas.” During his acceptance speech, the hip-hop artist also couldn’t resist taking a lighthearted shot at an old foe: former president George W. Bush.

“George Bush… has some very cool self portraits,” he said to a tittering crowd. “I didn’t know he was an artist!”

You can watch Kanye’s short, mellow speech below:

The rapper was, of course, referencing the 43rd president’s well-publicized penchant for painting (cute dogs, himself, foreign leaders, the works) in his life out of office. He was also likely giving a nod to his own past comments about Bush, specifically how the Republican president didn’t “care about black people” in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (Years later, Bush would refer to Kanye’s criticism as a memorably “disgusting moment” during his presidency.)

Bush’s debut art exhibition, titled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened last year at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. It showcased 30 oil-on-gesso-board portraits of world leaders, and coincided with the kick-off of Dallas Arts Week. The Bush Center is aware of Kanye’s recent comment; when reached by The Daily Beast on Tuesday, spokeswoman Hannah Abney laughed and said that she had heard the news Tuesday morning. “We have no comment on this, but thanks for asking!” she said, continuing to chuckle.

Portraits of world leaders (clockwise from top-left) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, former French President (2007-2012) Nicolas Sarkozy and former South Korean President (2008-2013) Lee Myung-bak, painted by former U.S. President George W. Bush, hang on display during "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas April 4, 2014.

Brandon Wade/Reuters

Bush isn’t the only POTUS at whom Kanye has lashed out. In November 2013, he vented about how President Obama (who Kanye endorsed) had “used” him.