1990, Oil on canvas
70" X 40" / 178 cm. X 101.5 cm.
George Bush peers out of rose colored lenses into the chaos that surrounds
him. His shirt pocket bears the initials "J.B.", the Spanish
initials for his name, a reminder of his Latin American adventures.
Wrapped in the American flag, he puffs with patriotic pride ignoring
the ominous signs. He doesn't notice. His is not "the vision thing".
Over his head, nine hooded figures, his Court, look down on him. Two
play with the balance of justice. By his face hangs the victim of some
racist lynching. Juvenile crime and capital punishment on the rise,
a child sits on the electric chair just below. The clothes hanger is
his solution to unwanted pregnancies.A homeless man huddles behind him.
"It's our pleasure", reads the advertising on his beggar's
cup, for there is such freedom in America that people are free to live
on the streets if they choose.A stethoscope on the ground reminds us
of the lack of comprehensive health care. It rests on a pink triangle,
the raging AIDS epidemic. A casualty of anti-labor policies, an Eastern
Airlines logo lies discarded next to it. The imperial fasces has tumbled.
His world is upside down.
Art, music, literature, drama are under attack for political expediency
and in disarray. Tragedy stares up at el presidente. Comedy laughs at
assault rifle tells of escalating criminal violence. The junkie behind
it shows us why. A child wearing a dunce cap, his back to us, sits on
a stool. With 60 million functional illiterates, the education system
is a demonstrable failure. The child looks on through the toxic fumes
to a polluted horizon where evidence of foreign economic superiority
looms ever nearer. Our fearless leader remains oblivious to it all even
as a banner bearing a biblical proverb winds around his legs about to
trip and bring him down. "Where there is no vision the people
perish." But patriotism is, indeed, the last refuge of the
scoundrel. He prefers imagery to reality. His is not "the vision
thing". He is the illusion king.