[artinfo] April 17 benefit auction; new bioterrorism charges likely

CAE Legal Defense Fund auctionpr at caedefensefund.org
Wed Apr 13 01:39:54 CEST 2005

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April 13, 2005

Contact: mailto:auction at caedefensefund.org

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, RubŽn 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
auction 5-7pm)

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, RubŽn 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
mailto:auction at caedefensefund.org.

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