American Fundamentalists
(Christ's Entry into Washington in 2008)
by Joel Pelletier
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Politicos: David Frum
(1/02/05) "It may not please you to hear this, but I was very impressed by the artistry of your "American Fundamentalism" painting. I've bought a copy of poster, but I notice that you said you could also do high-quality reproductions of selected portions of the canvas. Would you be willing to sell me such a reproduction of the head of myself you painted? I hope you will regard this request as a compliment to your skill as a painter. Art transcends politics.

Very truly yours, David Frum"

(reply, 1/2/05) Mr.Frum,

Thank you for the note. Your inclusion in the painting was something I spent a bit of time pondering. Living in Los Angeles, I regularly heard you defending the Bush Administration on KCRW, and was aware of some of your work as a speech writer for him. For those reasons I felt it important that you be included as an "enabler" so to speak, even though it was my intention to include ONLY Americans in the work - this is, in the end, an AMERICAN issue: our history, our people, our problem. I was also aware that you later seemed to be, let's say, distancing yourself a bit from the administration, and a quote from you in your book about this being the "most political administration in U.S. history" (with all decisions seemingly vetted through Rove) and your apparent concern over this made me a bit more sympathetic. Plus the fact that I doubt you're personally excited about the idea of the Christian Armageddon...

But you didn't write to complain about your participation in the parade. I devoted some effort to faithfully represent each person depicted, and it was NOT my goal to visually ridicule the people in the painting (except for possibly two persons, whom I am sure are personal acquaintances of yours). In purposely painted it so that some of the more dogmatic players might point to the painting and say that event depicted was, in fact, a good thing (not that I am - again - suggesting you believe this). I'm proud of it and the care I took to represent the persons involved, and your validation is appreciated.

As for your request, let me make some calls this week and find out what the costs are for enlargements. I photographed detailed shots of the entire work, and I'm sure I could have an enlargement of your likeness done up to a pretty good size. What size were you thinking? I would probably want to provide it signed and framed, but would try to make the $$ as reasonable as possible.

Besides, I may need advice from a Canadian (my paternal roots, by the way) if things continue to get worse down here. Please try not to make too much trouble up there (I've heard things) - what you may have learned as effective while in the Bush Administration is not necessarily ethical or right for our country OR yours. I will get back to you this week with size/price options,

Joel Pelletier

(reply from Mr. Frum, 1/2/05) "Please don't misunderstand: I wasn't complaining about being included in the painting at all! Those are my friends, my party, my candidate for president, and my beliefs. I'm proud to stand with them, and if they are wrong, I am wrong too.

Of course I have differences with some or more or them. No thinking person in politics ever agrees with everything his party does. After all, there are 285 million people in the United States and only two political parties: It's unlikely that either of them can please all of its supporters all of the time.

However and at the same time, it's also true that 100 years from now, the political debates of our time will recede just as surely as have such once-burning causes as the free unlimited coinage of silver and alcohol prohibition. Successful art outlives its subject matter - and to the eye of this one observer, your art succeeds.

So I am delighted to learn that you are willing to reproduce a section of the painting. I'll look forward to your email and details.

David Frum"


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