Art you’re not supposed to see

John Aaron is ready to hit the road. Like other Americans angry at the Bush administration and eager for change, he wants to travel around the country to spread his message to Democrats, Republicans and anyone else who will listen. Aaron, however, will have considerably more luggage than the average activist: he’s bringing a porcelain wall sculpture that is about 13 feet long.

Aaron, the owner of the Arlington Museum of Modern ARF, has created a glazed sculpture depicting an overview of the Bush Administration’s actions over the past four years.”People have to digest it because there’s nothing else like it,” Aaron said of the sculpture, which took him 1,400 hours to create. He plans to take “Bush League: The Past Four Years” around the country on the “40 Days and 40 Nights” tour, for which he will be stopping in various cities for three days apiece. Many of the states he plans to visit are battleground states and college towns, where he hopes to motivate young people to vote in the upcoming election.

“The youth vote, courted by the MTV’s ‘Rock The Vote’ program for years now, succeeds in raising money for the party, but rarely raises the percentage of young voter turnout,” Aaron said. “It is important to explain to young voters that the future depends on them … I have a lot of friends that have kids that are draft age, and I don’t want to see them going to a war that I think is ridiculous.”

The sculpture was inspired by a previous wall sculpture entitled “Pantheon of Scoundrels,” depicting the notable figures in the Enron crisis. Commissioned by a collector, Aaron began to sculpt “Follow the Yellow Cake Road,” a sculpture of Dick Cheney; “People are Fungible” of Donald Rumsfeld”; “Holy Shi-ite!” of Abu Ghraib prison; and “Big Bad John: Let Us Prey” of John Ashcroft, next to an unclothed Lady Justice statue. These were followed by a statue of President Bush as “The Thinker,” sitting on a toilet that spills out “a roiling ocean of shit” that is the national debt, and flag-draped coffins labeled “The Art You’re Not Supposed to See.”

Aaron hopes the Kerry campaign will notice his sculpture, along with posters he has created with the saying “Kerry On!!” that line the windows of the museum and surrounding storefronts in Arlington.

“My greatest fear is that the Democrats haven’t come out with enough of a message,” Aaron said. “I want Kerry to start punching – he’s getting kicked in the you-know-what. He’s like the northern gentleman fighting the Texas wrangler – he needs to get down and dirty.”

All the reactions that Aaron has received so far have pleased him. “A member of the State Department came in to see the sculpture, and he stared and said, ‘Is that what we’ve done?’ And then, a man who looked like he was a veteran came in, and he said to me, ‘You’ve got a lot of hate, you’ve got a lot of hate – this is beautiful.’ And I was just startled by how he changed in the middle of his sentence,” he said. “This piece somehow gets to everyone, whether they agree with it or not.”

“Bush League” can be viewed at the Museum of Modern ARF until October, at 1116 N. Hudson St., a block from the Clarendon Metro.

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