US Government intensifies investigation

On Sunday April 17, an art auction to benefit the CAE Defense Fund raised $167,700. The auction, held at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York City, featured over fifty artists who donated their work to the cause.

The amount raised was over three times more than had been raised (and spent) in the eleven months preceding the auction. Still, two to three times as much may be needed to successfully defend Steve Kurtz, a founding member of Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) and Professor of Art at the University of Buffalo, and Robert Ferrell, a Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, throughout the entire trial process.

While the auction's success demonstrates the growing support for CAE, the ordeal grinds on as the prosecution vigorously pursues its "case" and the FBI continues to expand its costly investigation against the artists' collective. Two days after the fundraiser, Steven Barnes, another founding member of the CAE, appeared before a federal grand jury in response to a subpoena which indicates that the Justice Department is again seeking charges under Section 175 of the US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, as expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act. Under advice of his attorney, Barnes is unable to speak about the grand jury hearing itself.

The benefit auction at Paula Cooper Gallery saw hundreds of people stream through the gallery all day. The event culminated with a live auction hosted by writer/actor Wallace Shawn. In his opening remarks, Shawn spoke against complacency and apathy during these very dangerous times. Steve Kurtz, who attended the auction, was unable to speak directly about the case under advice of council. He graciously thanked the crowd, obviously moved by this strong show of support.

Artists who donated their works to the auction included: 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, Mary Kelly, 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, Rubén 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.