We were browsing at Chelsea's Mixed Greens gallery this week when we were struck by this particularly poignant portrait: a latched-hooked rug depicting Tim Russert. Created last year by artist Rob Conger, the 56-by-36-inch piece is made of woven acrylic yarn and is part of a series that includes portraits of Alan Greenspan and Wal-Mart's Sam Walton. "In the nineties, when everyone was gung-ho about money, like, who's the person? The person is Greenspan," he told us yesterday afternoon. "And now everyone is political, because they realize what they did by not being political for eight years, and now it's like, who's the person? And the person would be Russert."
Conger said he was a regular viewer of Meet the Press, and yesterday he wrote a post on the gallery's blog titled "Remembering Russert — And the apparent Conger Curse," in which he discusses the various people who died not long after he created a rug in their honor (Mr. Rogers, World's Strongest Man Johnny Perry). "I watched [Russert] religiously," he wrote. "I was looking to him as the 'mainstream needle' that gauged zero on the political spectrum … I thought that my show at Mixed Greens was going to foreshadow the elections as more and more people switched off American Idol (as well as Fox News, and Keith Olbermann) and turned to Meet the Press to see what 'normal' meant." For now, the rug, as well as a smaller version featuring Russert behind the Press desk, remains in the gallery unsold. —Lori Fradkin
Remembering Russert — And the apparent Conger Curse [Pit/Mixed Greens]