studioNotes Blog
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
  CounterPunch Wire: FBI Abducts Artist; Seizes Art

CounterPunch Wire: FBI Abducts Artist; Seizes Art
FBI Abducts Artist; Seizes Art
Feds Unable to Distinguish Art from Bioterrorism

By CounterPunch Wire

Steve Kurtz was already suffering from one tragedy when he called 911 early in the morning to tell them his wife had suffered a cardiac arrest and died in her sleep. The police arrived and, cranked up on the rhetoric of the "War on Terror," decided Kurtz's art supplies were actually bioterrorism weapons.

Thus began an Orwellian stream of events in which FBI agents abducted Kurtz without charges, sealed off his entire block, and confiscated his computers, manuscripts, art supplies... nd even his wife's body.

Like the case of Brandon Mayfield, the Muslim lawyer from Portland imprisoned for two weeks on the flimsiest of false evidence, Kurtz's case amply demonstrates the dangers posed by the USA PATRIOT Act coupled with government-nurtured terrorism hysteria.

[Continued on site above] 
Monday, May 24, 2004
  East Valley Tribune Online

The East Valley Tribune Online reports on a new 18-hour master's-level certificate program in public art at Arizona State University this fall. Anyone know of any other college level programs in the field? If so, please contact me. 
  Seattle Judge Bans Public Utility From Funding Public Art

King County Superior Court Judge Sharon Armstrong this week held that most of the $2.8 million City Light spent on art was impermissible, according to a May 22 Associated Press article. Because of the way in which the funds were raised, the Judge said City Light could pay for art to "beautify its own offices and customer-service facilities" but couldn't fund art displayed in other city offices or projects that have the primary purpose of improving City Light's image. Armstrong also said City Light could purchase art, but only if such spending has a "close nexus to the utility's primary purpose of furnishing electricity to ratepayers."

Former Mayor Paul Schell, a strong advocate of public funding for public art, called the ruling "absolutely ridiculous." He said, "It's in the ratepayers' interest to think more broadly than, 'What's my bill tomorrow?'"This ruling says a public utility must act only in the most narrow of selfish interests." 
Sunday, May 23, 2004
  Threatened gallery owner moves paintings

Earlier story:
www.sfexaminer.com/article/index.cfm/i/052004n_artgallery


A San Francisco Examiner article By J.K. Dineen, published on Friday, May 21, 2004 reported that North Beach gallery owner Lori Haigh has removed "a controversial painting depicting American soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners from her storefront window."

"I took it out of the window and had five or six notes saying it was about time I took it down," the article quotes the Capobianco Gallery owner as saying. "And then today I put it back up."

She had been "torn between wanting to protect her business from vandals and a desire to defend the artistic vision of painter Guy Colwell, who is currently showing his work at the gallery." The painting is based on the famous Abu Ghraib prison-abuse photos and shows Pfc. Lynndie England and another soldier smoking cigarettes and smiling as they look upon a trio of naked Iraqi prisoners hooked up to electrical wires. Except for the American flag patches on the soldiers' uniforms, which appear to be splattered with blood, the painting is black and white,

Because of the painting, the gallery has been the object of smashed eggs, broken glass and several trash cans of debris littering the entrance, and has received phone calls and letters from both critics and supporters. She said: "I am scared now for my kids. I'm getting calls at home. Can little me put my whole life on the line for this? It's really kind of scary."

Colwell, a painter who was imprisoned for two years during the Vietnam war as a draft resister, said he made the painting because, "I was very upset about the revelation of abuses and torture happening in Iraq -- so upset that I almost immediately sat down and began painting a picture, which I happen to consider to be a form of protest," according to the Examiner. "Apparently, people are quite shocked by my painting," he said. "I don't know why they are not equally or more shocked by the pictures they are seeing on television of the actual torture taking place."





 
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