Democracy Project by Group

Brian Wallis, Editor, Charles Wright, Designed by, Gary Garrels, Designed by Bay Press (WA) $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-941920-17-9
While this volume makes a convincing record of a complex project by a New York City art collective, the number and diversity of contributors leads to an uneven quality. The collective, Group Material, identified ``four significant areas of the crisis in democracy: education, electoral politics, cultural participation, and AIDS.'' This volume briefly describes the series of roundtables, exhibitions and ``town meetings'' (discussions open to the general public) they organized in New York on each topic. At the education roundtable, for instance, artists and educators recognize the lures that tempt students away from liberal, self-enriching studies: the street, with its own values, and big business, with its high salaries. The volume also incorporates essays on related topics, such as Deirdre English's piece on anti-feminist backlash and Gary Indiana's analysis of disturbing similarities between Oliver North and serial killer Ted Bundy. But in spite of some interesting patches,the roundtables and town meetings fail to offer coherent presentations: speakers often ignore points raised by other speakers; and one discussion degenerates into virtual advertisements for various activist groups. Illustrated. Wallis is a senior editor at Art in America magazine. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
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