07/08/2011 04:04 am ET Updated Sep 06, 2011

Obama Asks To Borrow Rockwell Painting

In the art world, people habitually conflate artistic conservatism with political conservatism, and - flipping the terms - artistic originality with political progressivism.

It's an understandable impulse, since no-one can deny that the fields of art and politics overlap.

But there are those who would like them to be perfectly congruent, and they are often dismayed and confused when told that, say, their favorite avant-garde artist was adamantly against the idea of a social safety net (Francis Bacon), that the 20th century's most protean artistic inventor was an apologist for Stalin (Pablo Picasso), that their favorite Impressionists were vilely anti-Semitic (Degas and Renoir) or that America's cheesiest, most jingoistic propagandist was also a champion of Civil Rights.