Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bio-art Law

The AP has a report on "the growing field of bio-art, a broad term for the blend of art, technology and science that is attracting artists, scientists and controversy." Bio-artists "use live tissues, bacteria, living organisms and life processes to create works of art." Among the artists mentioned are Adam Zaretsky (no relation) and Kevin H. Jones (whose work is included in this show currently up at Montserrat College of Art, where it's referred to as "biotech art," "an emerging and diverse field that is still in the process of defining [and, apparently, naming] itself").

But the art law connection is provided by another bio-artist:

"Steven Kurtz, a professor at SUNY Buffalo, was arrested on federal terrorism charges nearly three years ago after police discovered certain types of bacteria and other biological materials in his home. Kurtz maintains that the specimens were for his bio-arts pieces and that he has been unfairly targeted for his choice of artistic expression. Kurtz's trial is still pending ...."

Here is a Washington Post story on the arrest. Here is a piece from ArtForum. Here is his Wikipedia entry, which says that "in July 2004 a grand jury refused to indict on any 'terrorism' charges, but did indict Kurtz on federal criminal mail fraud and wire fraud charges, and he faces 20 years in jail for fraudulently obtaining biological microbes."