Go to online Help and search for 'compound path'.
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You can also use the Live paint group feature. you can look for the online help for that as well hey have tutorials as well.
Essentially this way you make the art a live paint group and fill the path with no fill.
You can also use the Pathfinder tool to minus the front object.
You should read the help files. Most of your questions can be answered there and you won't have to wait for a response.
thank you, the compound path pointed me to the pathfinder. (yeah, I'm really a newbee here)
and there it was, "minus-back"
Very easy, just had to know where.
 @wade_zimmerman, thanks, I just read your post after I posted this reply.
The replies were very quick, As I read the word "compound shape" I knew where to look and as soon as you know where to look, the helpdocs and tutorials are realy helpfull.