Student brings President Bush effigy to Mall for ‘public art’

The inflatable statue’s creator says it was not a political statement.

Michael Zittlow

In an effort to spur public debate, a University of Minnesota artist erected a statue of former President George W. Bush for about two hours Monday on Northrop Mall.
The 18-foot inflatable statue, created by art student Broc Blegen, included an inscription that called Bush âÄúone of our greatest patriots.âÄù It sat on the lawn in front of Northrop Auditorium until about 3 p.m.
University Facility Management asked Blegen to take down the statue two hours after he inflated it.
Blegen, who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, said the statue was not a political statement, but a form of public art meant to create a discussion about the role history plays in constructing monuments of public figures.
The University sophomore said he decided to inflate the statue Monday in the wake of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin LadenâÄôs death because the âÄúWar on TerrorâÄù was an important part of BushâÄôs presidency.
The statue was first assembled in Washington, D.C., at ObamaâÄôs inauguration, where Blegen was also told to take it down.