The making of
Freedom of Choice
Three Poems of Love and Death by Lucie Brock-Broido
Richard Minsky, 2009
73" x  26" x  24" 

Solid oak was not available. Here 1x4 oak planks are laminated for the legs and arms of the chair.

The wood is then trimmed to the correct widths, power-planed, and cut to the proper lengths.

The edges are routed, back pieces assermbled, and restraint attachment mortised.
The chair is then pegged and glued.

The cabinet and all parts are then secured with Kreg-system pocket screws. The oak is finished with Minwax Golden Oak oil base stain followed by three light coats of sprayed lacquer. The leather restraints are secured with steel plates. The book is printed inkjet on 1976  J. Barcham Green handmade paper, bound in dark teal goatskin with 23K gold title, and attached to the chair with steel chain. The wiring is completed and the tools are fitted into the cabinet. Tempered glass is secured to the cabinet. 


On the inside of the head restraint are three electrodes, and one electrode goes to the leg. An MP3 player on the head restraint plays Minsky's reading of the three poems, two of which concern shotgun suicides and one an electrocution. On the back of the chair is a cabinet containing a 20 gauge shotgun, a Manila hangman's noose, a wakizashi sword, razor blades, poison and a hypodermic syringe. A deep-cycle marine battery provides portable lethal power.  The unit can also be operated on a 40 amp 220 volt line with a conversion kit. The cycle for execution is 2000 volts at 5 amps for 15 seconds, followed by 400 volts at 1.5 amps for one minute.

When the MP3 player is turned off its screen says 

This Work was developed for the exhibition Somewhere Far From Habit, sponsored by Longwood University. Five copies were printed inkjet on J. Barcham Green 1976 handmade paper. Copies Numbered 2 to 5 are bound in limp leather with gold title, no chain or chair. 

Read (PDF): Three Poems of Love and Death by Lucie Brock-Broido

Copy No. 1, in chain binding with chair and accessories, was in the exhibition at
The Pierre Menard Gallery, Cambridge, MA, November 6–December 5, 2009
Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, Farmville, VA, January 22–March 19, 2010
Yale University, New Haven, CT August 2–November 29, 2010

Copy No. 1, as seen above, has been acquired by a public collection. An announcement of the details will be forthcoming when the installation plans are finalized.

The remainder of the edition, in limp leather, is sold out.

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