October 14, 2004
If you're like me, you were impressed last night when Bush led off his closing statement with something of a mini-crit on a work of art by an El Paso artist named
Tom Lee Tom Lea, "a West Texas painting, a painting of a mountain scene." Turns out Fearless Leader is a lover of pictures. Who knew?
[*Update: Cynthia at Fresh Paint sets me and the White House steno pool straight on the spelling of Mr. Lea's name. She also points to the picture Georgie speaks of (on loan from the El Paso Museum of Art), as well as one he didn't happen to mention (or try this one on for size, more on which here). Light From the Sky, a Tom Lea retrospective, is currently on tour and is up in Wheaton, IL through October 20.]
Here are some expanded remarks from January 9, 2004 (note the courageous stand this President took against foreboding rugs):
And so if you were ever to come in the Oval Office, I want you to recognize that the office itself represents something bigger than people, bigger than an individual.
The first thing you'd notice there, I think, is a rug. It turns out each President designs his own rug. Being the delegator that I am—and I think if you were to ask any Cabinet officer and/or member of my administration he'd say, President Bush is a good delegator. Well, I delegated the design of the rug to our fabulous First Lady. (Applause.) Her taste is better than mine. (Laughter.)
But as a Chief Executive Officer should, I gave her some go-bys. I said I want people, when they walk in this office, to feel optimistic. Whereas, I didn't want the rug to be foreboding, I wanted it to be open and light and bright. And so when you come in there, you'll see that the rug looks like the sun, the rays of the sun. And that's how I feel. As a matter of fact, that's how any leader of an organization should feel. You shouldn't be leading an organization if you don't see the world as a better place. Imagine me standing up in front of the country and saying "Follow me, the world is going to be worse." (Laughter.)
I don't have to fake it though. I believe so strongly in what America stands for that there is no doubt that so long as we take the lead in matters of peace and freedom, the world will be a better place. (Applause.)
The President gets to put pictures on the wall, paintings they call them—pictures in Crawford, paintings in Washington. (Laughter.) Let me describe some of the artwork that we have on the wall.
First, there's a lot of paintings from Texas. The San Antonio Museum of Fine Arts loaned us the picture of the Alamo, of course, and Scenes of West Texas, the fabulous painting from my friend Tom Lee [sic], an El Paso citizen. And by the way, Laura's mom was raised in El Paso, and El Paso has always had a special place in her heart as a result of it. Tom Lee—it's a West Texas painting, scene. It's that part of West Texas where there's actually relief. The part of West Texas where Laura and I were raised, there's nothing but flat. This is a place where there's mountains.
Here's what he said, he said "Sarah and I live on the east side of the mountain. It's the sunrise side, not the sunset side. It's the side to see the day that is coming, not to see the day that is gone." That's what that piece of artwork said to Tom. It says to me every day I went in there. It kind of mirrors what I was talking about, about the rug.
"George Bush, Art Lover"
Posted by Dan at 11:57 AM
Adair Margo Gallery: Tom Lea Estate
El Paso Museum of Art
ExhibitionsUSA: Light from the Sky: A Tom Lea Retrospective, 1907-2001
First Division Museum at Cantigny
Fresh Paint: Tom Lea, Artist
Military History Network: Two-Thousand-Yard Stare by Tom Lea
Results.gov: The President & His Leadership Team—President Bush Addresses Members of His Team
Tom Lea: 2000 Yard Stare
Tom Lea: Rio Grande
Tom Lea: The Price
Washington Post: Transcript: Third Presidential Debate