This is where the post was supposed to end. Instead, through the links on Keiser's blog I discovered his other projects, and among them, a painting of fighter planes commissioned by the Naval Institute (US Navy?). And that got me mad. It reminded me of Top Gun, the Hollywood commercial for the army, and the very innocent-looking but no less present apology of the (US) military spirit. "Our brave boys." Art propaganda is propaganda. I went back to the painting-a-day and it seemed false. Cheating. Fake innocence.
Of course, Keiser doesn't say anything about the war in Iraq, the US foreign policy, or even his own political stance. He simply made a painting, and if it was an apology, it was an apology of an important instution, one that many, many people find not only useful, but crucial to maintaining stability in the world.
The problem is, I couldn't help myself. The candy-like picture was just so distant from the classic-looking daily paintings. In all its photographic naturalism it was...fake. Then I
remembered all the great (or good, or somewhat interesting) artists that have at a given point defended wrong positions, bad revolutions, morally dubious ideas, adding clear, happy, vibrant colors wherever it was necessary. Mayakovsky, Shostakovich, but also Sartre (all three at one point defending stalinism), without mentioning Leni Riefenstahl or Heidegger (both idealizing the nazi) or other stories of the sort. Today the world seems more complicated, the "sides" are less obvious (though the lack of distance blurs the image), but still, we have Oliver Stone (a Fidel Castro admirer) and several others. And we have artists who defend war, who justify (what I consider to be) injustice and who speak out in a way I don't agree with on many other issues. Does that disqualify them as artists? Never? Always? To what extent?