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Re: [BKARTS] Patriot act takes an artist (good!)

DT Fletcher wrote:

Kurtz was not put into prison, in fact, he hasn't even been charged with anything, yet.

I stand corrected. He was merely forbidden to enter his own for two days and had to mourn his wife's death in a hotel room, not to speak of having his life's work confiscated. In your view, he deserved this because artists should not make political statements, especially not about terrorism.

However, there is a grand jury investigation. Which is great. Any nut producing biological agents in his home needs to be investigated.

Unfortunately for the rest of your case, no biological agents were discovered, nor were any produced in Kurtz's home as far as I've been able to determine.

According to the Christian Science Monitor,
<http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0607/dailyUpdate.html> "Eventually his
home was declared 'not a danger to public health,' but the FBI did not
return his equipment."

The Monitor also reports, "Ms. da Costa [a colleague] told the Times
that the bacteria was produced legally in "cooperation with a
microbiology lab in Pittsburgh to create a transgenic E. coli that was
completely harmless."

You keep using the term "nut" to describe Kurtz and other artists. I
find it baffling that anyone who would use that kind of insulting
language describe an artist would be a subscriber to this list, some of
whose subscribers are famous for producing works that they would be only
proud to describe as far-out. As mentioned in an earlier post, much of
Richard Minksy's brilliant work is forthrightedly political in nature,
among other politically motivated works produced by artists on this list.

I administer newsroom-l, an email discussion list for journalists. The
discussion is unmoderated and subscribers talk about pretty much
anything that's on their minds. But the list policy explicitly forbids
personal insults. If you were to call anyone on my list a nut, you'd be
warned, then suspended for seven days if you repeated it.

It's obvious that none of his colleagues considered Kurtz a nut. His
works have been widely exhibited. There's ample evidence that he is a
serious artist. To me, your insulting remarks are a very significant
breach of list courtesy and deserve a reprimand from the list owner.

If other "artists" find this chilling, good!

Excuse me while I go talk to Ralph on the big white telephone.

Being an artist is not a license to produce biological agents at home.

What biological agents?

The guy's 45-year-old wife suddenly dies in the same house where this nut is producing biological agents (to make a polictical statement.)

What biological agents?

To not investigate would be wrong.

No one has yet argued that it was wrong to investigate. The investigation produced no evidence that he had broken any laws. The issue is why the subpoenas were issued when no evidence of illegal activity was found, and why his materials have not been returned.

The clearest view of this story, without the political garbage, can be found

Nothing in the article supports your point of view, not even your
assertion that it contains no political statements, nor does it demean
Kurtz's status by using quotation remarks around the term artist.

---Begin forwarded text---


Artist's biological props spur terror probe

By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press | June 6, 2004

BUFFALO -- Steve Kurtz's artworks look more like science projects than
museum pieces. They offer social commentary with objects such as corn
plants and bacteria-filled petri dishes.

"It's not pictures on the wall," said Adele Henderson, head of the art
department at the University at Buffalo, where Kurtz teaches.

And it's certainly not terrorism, the artist's friends say.

Crews in protective suits spent two days removing materials from Kurtz's
Buffalo house while he waited at a hotel. Testing for ricin, anthrax,
and plague turned up negative, according to the Erie County Health
Department, which has since pronounced the house safe.

"I really believe that this is a total, paranoid overreaction," said
Henderson, who has been interviewed by the FBI and subpoenaed to testify
before a grand jury.

The DNA equipment seized by police was being used to test food for
contamination with genetically modified ingredients, said Beatriz da
Costa, one of Kurtz's colleagues.

JULES SIEGEL Apdo. 1005 77501-Cancun Q. Roo Mexico

Newsroom-l, news and issues for journalists


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