The Crisis of Democracy
by Crozier, Huntington and Watanuki for the Trilateral Commission.
New York University Press, 1975
Bound by Minsky 1980
8 3/4" x 6" x 11"
Sheep, gold, barbed wire.

On exhibit in 1981 at the Allan Stone Gallery, New York City

This book was originally purchased as a paperback. The surface-dyed glazed sheepskin is abraded by the barbed wire every time the book is opened and closed, exposing the inner flesh that contrasts with the grain of the leather. The action is not so extreme as to cause the book to disintegrate rapidly, but slowly erodes the decorative surface of the skin. The 23K gold title remains bright. 

 The barbed wire springs back to form a reading stand.

The authors propose that there is too much freedom in contemporary democracies, and that it is necessary to curtail personal freedoms in order to preserve the governability of democracies. In 1980 the choice in the USA presidential elections was of three teams, all of which included at least one member of the Trilateral Commission, an organization  founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller and Zbigniew Brzezinski. I exhibited this book as a political commentary, choosing the materials to reflect the metaphor of the text.

The first Trilateral Commission member to ascend to the U. S. Presidency was Jimmy Carter, elected in 1976. For the following four decades the Presidents of the United States, groomed for the position by the membership of this group, worked toward consolidating power in the Executive branch. The terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001 precipitated the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, which had failed to pass during the Clinton administration, but was on hand for the (George W.) Bush administration to speed through Congress. 

The book was in many exhibitions throughout the United States, and was circulated through Africa and Latin America by The United States Information Agency in the Center for Book Arts exhibition Book Arts in the USA

The Crisis of Democracy was the first of many bookworks on social and political issues.

In 1993 I started work on a series of bookworks about The Bill of Rights. For the first eight years there was almost no interest in this Work.  The edition that developed was scheduled for exhibition in May, 2002 at The Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York City. By then the PATRIOT Act had passed, and public awareness of rights that were being lost was growing. The New York Times gave The Bill of Rights exhibition a six-column review.

See Also:

The Bill of Rights edition
A set of ten bookworks representing the first ten amendments to 
the United States Constitution, in an edition of 25 copies


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