Bookforum review of On Democracy by Saddam Hussein
Alan Gilbert reviews On Democracy in Bookforum. He writes, "On Democracy is the project of an art book publisher. Badlands Unlimited was founded by artist Paul Chan, who spent a month in Iraq with peace-activist organization Voices in the Wilderness right before the U.S. invasion in March 2003, which is partly how Hussein’s text ended up in his hands. Throughout his career, Chan has intermingled art and politics in provocative ways. His drawing of Hussein after the latter’s capture by U.S. forces appears on the book’s front cover. In previous exhibitions, Chan has used the same charcoal-on-paper medium to render the nine Justices of the US Supreme Court who in a split decision undemocratically appointed George W. Bush president at the conclusion of the disputed 2000 election. It’s not a stretch to imagine Chan metaphorically linking Hussein’s portrait with theirs as figures who didn’t honor the will of the people, despite speaking otherwise. Along with his depiction of the bushy-bearded and subdued Iraqi leader, the book reproduces other black-and-white drawings by Chan of Hussein, the US-established Green Zone in Baghdad, Abu Ghraib, bleak landscapes, etc." Read the rest on Bookforum.