Massive Art Auction Will Support Indicted Artist Steven Kurtz As Bioterrorism Charge Threat Returns
More benefits and donations needed
An April 17 benefit auction at Paula Cooper Gallery in NYC has attracted donations from some of the biggest names in the contemporary art world, including Hans Haacke, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler, Sol LeWitt, Rub?n Ortiz Torres, Kiki Smith, Lorna Simpson, Chris Burden, and many others. (See details at bottom or at http://www.caedefensefund.org/auction/PaulaCooperGallery.html.)
Organizers of this Sunday’s auction expect to raise at least a six-figure sum to help artist Steven Kurtz and scientist Robert Ferrell defend themselves against politically-motivated federal charges of mail and wire fraud–and, it now seems likely, bioterrorism charges as well.
If convicted of the wire and mail fraud charges, Kurtz, a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) and Professor of Art at the University of Buffalo, and Ferrell, a Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, could face up to 20 years in prison.
But worse is possible. On March 17, Steven Barnes, also a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble, was served a subpoena to appear before a Federal Grand Jury in Buffalo on April 19. According to the subpoena, the FBI is once again seeking charges under Section 175 of the US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, as expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act–charges which a previous Grand Jury appeared to reject when they handed down indictments of mail and wire fraud last summer. (See http://www.caedefensefund.org for full details.)
The addition of bioterrorism charges will add to the heavy financial and emotional burden of the defendants. But the rising cost to taxpayers is significant too. Although the New York State Department of Health quickly deemed that the materials used by Kurtz in his art posed no threat to public health or safety, and the FBI’s own field and laboratory tests showed that they were not used for any illegal purpose, the U.S. District Attorney continues to waste vast sums of public money prosecuting this outlandish, politically motivated case.
Since June 2004, public events in support of the CAE Defense Fund in the US, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Latin America and Australia, as well as thousands of individual contributions, have met the rising defense costs. But as the case moves to trial, Kurtz and Ferrell’s expenses will increase dramatically, and more fundraisers and donations will be needed. The April 17 auction organizers hope the auction will serve as a spur for people worldwide to organize new benefit events and contribute to the fund. Please visit http://caedefensefund.org for more information about how you can help publicize this auction, organize your own event, donate funds, or otherwise help support Kurtz and Ferrell in this exceedingly important case that could widely impact freedom of expression and more in the US.
When: Sunday, April 17, 2005 (viewing and silent auction 2-8pm, live
Where: Paula Cooper Gallery, 521 West 21st Street, NYC 10011, tel:
212-255-1105 / day of auction: 212-255-5247
Master of Ceremonies: Wallace Shawn
Artists who have donated work: Acconci Studio, Dennis Adams, Carl Andre, The Atlas Group, Nayland Blake, Mel Bochner, Cecily Brown, Chris Burden, Paul Chan, Jeremy Deller, Mark Dion, Sam Durant, Tony Feher, Andrea Fraser, Joseph Grigely, Hans Haacke, Ann Hamilton, Rachel Harrison, Emily Jacir, Mike Kelley, Barbara Kruger, William Pope L., Louise Lawler, Zoe Leonard, Sol LeWitt, Glenn Ligon, Sharon Lockhart, Brice Marden, Allan McCollum, Julie Mehretu, Arnold Mesches, Donald Moffett, Dave Muller, Vik Muniz, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Cathy Opie, Rub?n Ortiz Torres, Laura Owens, David Reed, Alexis Rockman, Martha Rosler, Christy Rupp, Carolee Schneemann, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Amy Sillman, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, Janaina Tschape, and many more.
To view some of the donated art works, please visit:
This benefit is sponsored by the National Association of Artists’ Organizations (NAAO) and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (Buffalo), and is supported by galleries across the US.
For more information please contact Lori at Paula Cooper Gallery, or visit http://caedefensefund.org. Press inquiries may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.