Art Law Outline
Adler – Fall 2006
Part One: ART AND THE 1
Classic censorship issues – when gov tells an artist what he can’t say
Obscenity law – filthy materials that are also “art” are allowed
Child pornography law – court has refused to make a distinction between art and other stuff
But what about artists who explore child sexuality?
Pornography – specifically how feminists have reacted to it
Critical race / hate speech – 1
Amend law has traditionally protected racist, hateful speech
What is art?
Why is it protected by the 1
Adler: verbal / textual material has more protection than visual art
Looking at photography, dance
Attenuated notions of censorship – problems of publicly funded art / public art
Culture wars of the 1990s – what is the place of art in a democratic society?
fund the arts?
Self-censorship of galleries and museums – 1
Amend “chilling effect”
To what extent does the artist become only one voice, and the curator becomes a
voice with 1
Amend rights / status?
Gov commissions and public memorials – including the controversies surrounding
How should we think about the denial of funding to an artist, from a 1
does the meaning of a work of art change, depending on how it is presented?
Wrestle with the power of visual representation, as opposed to verbal representation – art as a subset of
Deep connections between speech and identity
Stephen Greenblatt piece: awareness of the extent to which identity and speech coincide
“To be asked, even by an isolated, needy individual to perform lines that were
not my own, that violated my sense of my own desires, was intolerable.”
Can extend to art as speech
Sometimes attribute an irrational power to visual imagery – what is it about the visual that is
frightening or magical?
Exodus 20: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any
thing that is in heaven or above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth”
Plato dislikes art / theatre because it is a form of mimesis, imitation
Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Prophetic Pictures”: painter as mischievous, regarded with
awe and perhaps some fear
David Freedberg, “The Power of Images”: art elicits primitive emotions, uncultured
reactions – psychological roots in art
“Double consciousness” surrounding images
“Vital Signs”: people vacillate between magical beliefs and skeptical doubts, mystical
and critical attitudes
View images objectively – can’t let go of our own emotional responses
(wound left by a photograph) vs.
(message it discloses)
Are images resistant to meaning, or do they come alive, want to be attributed
meaning and interpretation?
“Vital Signs”: “the living image is…both a verbal and a visual trope, a figure of speech,