Hope Kurtz (19592004)
Hope Kurtz, original member of internationally renowned art collective Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) is to be included in the 2005 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium, along with Josephine Baker, Samuel Beckett, Emma Goldman, Francisco Goya and a pantheon of other radical cultural and political heroes. In it, Hope is described as a "Loyal comrade/anarchist/radical poet, writer, and brilliant editor."
Hope Kurtz worked behind the scenes of the CAE collective by contributing to the conceptual basis for their work. It is through her brilliant editing that their work articulates challenging concepts to a multifarious audience—many of whom might not otherwise come into contact with such radical thought. The Ensemble collectively authored several books including Electronic Civil Disobedience and other unpopular Ideas, The Molecular Invasion, and Flesh Machine, all published by Autonomedia and distributed under an "Anti-copyright" agreement.
Though I have only my friendship with Hope on which to base the following assumption, I suspect that it’s in large part Hope’s influence that makes CAE’s writing so accessible to people like me: people who might otherwise blanch at the first sighting of a word like "pancapitalism." Were it not for the clarity of the context in which a word like that appears within CAE’s writing, I for one might give up my attempts to digest contemporary theory on the spot. As it is, Hope’s motto "Never Surrender" might well describe her commitment to equality and justice, as well as her commitment to reaching those who are apt to give up in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles to our own intellectual growth: obstacles such as oppressive regimes, FBI investigations, copyright and IP claims (as well as the occasional complex, challenging idea embodied in a single word like "pancapitalism").
As a friend who will miss her dearly and one who was profoundly influenced by her creative work, I would like to add the following items to this portrait of Hope Kurtz, brilliant editor, poet and anarchist:
Hope was a fiercely loyal friend who had a wicked sense of humor, which she made all the more effective through careful administration of it in highly potent, homeopathic doses.
Hope was the only person I ever knew who truly hated sunshine (though she loved the things that thrived in it, gardenias, orchids, and cats among them). Once, I picked her up for lunch at her house on Wilkins Ave. in Pittsburgh, on what was a classic Pittsburgh day: dark and rainy. I was wearing sunglasses even though it was dark out and explained that past eye surgery sometimes made my eyes sensitive to daylight. It was then that Hope told me, rather emphatically, how much she hated the sun. The look on her face was enough to prove to me that she was not simply placating me through expression of an insincere alliance. No, she really hated the sun, and it seemed as if she hated it all the more because it was causing me pain.
Hope wore a lot of black, stomped around in good moods and bad, and refused to conform with either her body or her mind to any force of nature or culture which might oppress or obscure the truth and complexity of who she was, and what she believed. She dyed her hair black before she went gray and then stopped dying it once she acquired enough silver strands to visually announce her presence as the brilliant and wise woman she actually was.
She could burst in to tears at the thought of any cat’s suffering. She yanked the pieces off of her Purple Heart plant in an attempt to contain it to its small pot and cursed it for growing so rapidly.
She lined a shoebox with warnings taken from patient inserts from the various medications she took and gave it to her best friend as a gift.
Hope Kurtz ate countless meals at the local Eat ’N Park restaurant because it made her husband and fellow CAE collaborator Steve Kurtz happy and not because she herself enjoyed them. I will miss her and to quote her husband Steve, "I don’t know how we’ll manage without her."
—Christina Hung, Baltimore 2004
No W here: Alice Hope, Bastienne Schmidt, Toni RossBy Amanda Gluibizzi
JUL-AUG 2021 | ArtSeen
As they were planning their joint exhibition at Ricco/Maresca, Alice Hope, Bastienne Schmidt, and Toni Ross agreed to choose an evocative object from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that would serve as an organizing principle for each artists portion of the show. To their surprise, all of them chose the same piece.
The Artist and the PoetBy Edouard Kopp
FEB 2023 | Critics Page
Throughout his life, Robert Motherwell had a deep passion for poetry, which informed his aesthetic and nourished his practice as an artist.
Editor’s NoteBy Will Chancellor
FEB 2021 | Fiction
This month were pleased to publish an excerpt from Vesna Marics The President Shop. The novels backdrop is an allegorical country, The Nation, steeped in tyranny, but the focus is on the human rather than the trappings of propaganda. I was struck by the young woman, Mona, decoding the timelessness thats always present, even as we pass through moments that are consciously historic. Symbology, by Betsy M. Narváez, abounds in images, meanings, dreams, and visions. Here, theres no official, waking world, little external at all. Narváez gives us resonant moments over coffee of a mother and a daughter unpuzzling the language of dreams. Were also tremendously fortunate to have Maisy Card stepping in as co-editor of the fiction section of the Brooklyn Rail. Her debut novel, These Ghosts are Family, masterfully courses through the history of a family while communicating the texture and hunger of life as it was lived.
Hope after TragedyBy Noa Weiss
DEC 22–JAN 23 | Dance
Vanessa Anspaughs mourning after mornings offers a sprawl of unruly movement and intergenerational tenderness at New York Live Arts.