The United States Constitution Series

The Bill of Rights

Perhaps the greatest contribution the United States of America has made to the world is its constitution. The first ten amendments, known as The Bill of Rights, have become the cornerstone of modern concepts of human rights. Their relevance in the 21st Century cannot be overemphasized. Since 1993 I have been producing and exhibiting a series of  Book Art objects to call attention to the uses and abuses of these rights, in America and elsewhere.

The first three unique objects, representing the first, second, and eighth amendments, are illustrated on this page.  The original concept was to assemble ten unique works as a traveling exhibition. 

the limited edition set

The concept has evolved. Instead of creating ten unique book objects, there is an edition of 25 copies of a set of ten works. 

The edition works are not copies of the unique objects already produced. They have been created for this edition. 

An exhibition of the complete set was at the Louis K. Meisel Gallery April 27 through June 1, 2002, and has been traveling since then. 

Click here for more information about the edition and photos of the works, information about where you can see it, reviews and more.

The First Amendment

Reliquary for the Ashes of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses

Richard Minsky, 1993
Click on the picture or title for a complete description and detail photos.

This was the first unique book art object created by Minsky in the United States Constitution series. It is in the collection of The Allan Stone Gallery.

The Bill of Rights edition does not contain copies of the unique objects. The Eighth Amendment is visually based on the unique version, but is a new limited edition of Forlorn Hope published by Richard Minsky, with additional text written by Larry Sullivan just for this Work. To the right is the edition version of The First Amendment. Here the Reliquary contains the burned book and is sealed.

The Bill of Rights
click on an amendment to see the work in
The Bill of Rights Edition

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Unique book art works in
 The Bill of Rights series

The First Amendment
Unique work
Collection of The Allan Stone Gallery

Reliquary for the Ashes of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses

Minsky 1993
19" x 8" x 11"

A Book Burning Kit, containing a copy of the First American Edition of the book, incense and matches. Lemon Gold leaf, White Gold leaf, ink and lacquer over bookbinders' board; Crystal Quartz, cut and polished Agate, emerald cut Citrine; wood base.

The Second Amendment
Unique Work
Exists in this form only on this website. The individual bindings in this work are now available.

A Force Upon the Plain
and six other books

Minsky 1996-98
43" x 43" x 10"

Seven books on the American Militia movement, the right to bear arms, and the gun culture, in a snakeskin cabinet with a Norinco MAC-90 semi-automatic rifle, three loaded clips, and a thousand rounds of ammunition.

The Eighth Amendment
Unique work
Collection of The Author

Forlorn Hope: The Prison Reform Movement

by Larry Sullivan

Minsky 1996
10" x 8" x 7"

Chain binding with handcuffs and padlock, painted in acrylic prison stripes over publisher's binding, with isbn number stamped in hologram foil, in a case with jail doors. Acrylic/latex over wood. The book was published by G.K. Hall in 1990.


The Bill of Rights Edition

A set of ten works

To continue the exhibition, click one of the sections or a button. 
Each section has several thumbnail images and descriptions of the works. You can click on any image for a page about that work, with larger pictures and details.