Bush, Unabashed 

Some last artistic stabs at our no-longer-comic Caesar.

"Was it all a dream?" Michael Moore asked in Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004, and the succeeding (insert bitter laugh) four years have only gotten weirder and worse, culminating in the financial meltdown and bailout. And we thought it was bad when the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, FBI, and CIA all lied repeatedly, 935 times or more, in fact, in favor of a $400,000,000 a day unnecessary war! How "naive" we were, indeed, Senator McCain — many of us, anyway.

A current show entitled The Final Days of George W. Bush at Inferno Gallery takes the measure of this egregious administration with works by Aymar, Eric Bakke, Linda Bakke Hughes, Liz Berg, Lorely Bunoan, Jan Dove, J.C, Garrett, Deborah Hayne, Art Hazelwood, Jaz Fabry, Suzanna Israel, Bill A. Lassell, Susan Liroff, Tony Huynh, Barbara Millman, Bobie Pires, Gary-Paul Prince, Daniel McGrath, K. Max Mellenthin (curator), Saovany Phixitxnonh, Margo Rivera-Weiss, Barbara Rogers, John Sheridan, Ehren Tool, Pearl Jones Tranter, Mimi Vitetta, and Michelle Waters. The show is part of the national Art of Democracy coalition, like the Banned and Recovered show covered here several weeks ago, and the War and Empire show now at SF's Meridian Gallery (in which this writer played a small role); other regional venues are listed on the AOD website.

A few examples follow. Rivera-Weiss's "Hamsa Against Evil," a stylized mosaic resembling stained glass, employs the Arab eyed-hand charm against enemies of all true spirituality regardless of religion. Millman's "Exciting Job Opportunities" depicts doll-like US soldiers at their manly work, like Assyrian legions subduing Hittites. Waters' "Shock and Awful" depicts a gigantic black cloud of bombs and body parts rising over the Middle East; her "American Nightmare" depicts the life-support system of the SUV Society. Garrett's "Relic (the Candidate)" portrays a gigantic Palin head about to be hoisted into position by the cranes of media conglomerates. Rogers' "Blackwater New Orleans" depicts a vortex down into which human skulls swirl. Hyunh's "What a Mess" expresses our national dismay and shock — and perhaps our civic immaturity. Prince's anxious-eyed military helmet looks toward a dismal, dangerous future. Sheridan's pop-inspired collage depicts the American mind — a tabula rasa overwritten by continual media barrages. Aymar's "A Creepy Gift from Dubya" takes casts of the gold medallions Bush gives cronies and melts them into post-imperial dross. Through November 4 at Inferno (4401 San Leandro St., Oakland). InfernoGallery.com or 510-433-4843.

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