Strange Culture (2007) by Lynn Hershman Leeson, 75 min, video
“A frightening and riveting hybrid documentary, Strange Culture confronts the government’s inordinate and insensitive reaction to one artist in the practice of his work. In 2004, Steven Kurtz, a founding member of Critical Art Ensemble, a collective dedicated to the advancement of social justice through cultural activities, was working with his wife, Hope, on a piece about genetic food engineering for a MassMoCA exhibition. When Hope died suddenly of heart failure, Kurtz called 911. Police arrived, became suspicious of the Kurtzes’ art, and called the FBI. The artist was detained as a suspected “bioterrorist” while federal agents in Hazmat suits sifted through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, cat, and even his wife’s body… One of America’s best known and most prolific media artists, Hershman Leeson deftly interweaves news footage, reenactments, animation, interviews, and footage of Kurtz himself in this stranger-than-fiction narrative of the law gone wild.” – MoMA
Lynn Hershman Leeson will be present for a Q&A following the screening.