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Critics Page

Art Law & Art and the Law: A Dialogue Across Disciplines

The practice of art law has continued to develop rapidly in recent years, as stakeholders in the art world have come to realize that the innovative practice of law can support and protect artistic creativity. In developing the Critics Page for this issue, I wanted to highlight the importance of, and the challenges posed by, legal structures and frameworks in artistic practice. This Critics Page highlights many of these innovative art law issues that sustain (or contest) contemporary art practice today, bringing together several of the leading lawyers in the field alongside groundbreaking artists who use legal frameworks as their medium.

In Conversation

The Seduction of Systems: A Conversation with Jill Magid

Rail contributor and interdisciplinary artist advocate Yayoi Shionoiri in conversation with artist, writer and filmmaker Jill Magid.

Public Art as Political Bargaining Chip: When Site-Specificity is Both Potent and Powerless

Throughout history, art has played a critical role in expressing community sentiment and galvanizing political action. This is particularly true for public art, which by its very nature can become an integral part of its site’s cultural fabric, while simultaneously drawing broader attention to its message.

Empowering Creative Uses of Nonprofit Legal Structures

The legal intricacies of nonprofits are now becoming parameters to exploit rather than obstacles to artists and other members of the art community as they seek to implement their transformative ideas, effectively create change, and draw attention to their cause.

Singapore and the Region: State of Art Law or Art Law of the State?

In the last thirty years, the countries of Southeast Asia which surround Singapore have largely modernized, driven in part by political will, especially during intermittent moments of stability. While the precarity and haphazardness of the region has been described as “building an airplane while in flight”, this dispatch aims to shed light on the state of art law and the art law of the state—of Singapore and the region.

Slowed Citizens

In May 2022, we had the privilege of visiting the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile and collaborating with the local community on a project that involved the land and its resources. Our resulting work, Messa in Luce, features fourteen clay tablets sourced, shaped, fired, and sonified with sounds recorded during our research expedition. This account documents our personal experience of collectivity, exchange, and nonlinear passages of time in the Atacama region as temporary cohabitants.

Artist Worlds and Indigenous Cultures: How Expanding Notions of Intellectual Property are Changing the Game

The number of artistic projects which engage with simulated realities, immersive story-telling, and virtual world-building has surged over the past few years.1 With this growth has come an increase in the types of legal complexities of artist-led world-building projects. One complexity that hasn’t received much airtime to date is how Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) and cultural lore can be celebrated in, or conflict with, such projects.

Passive Acceptance and Our (Dis)Consent

In all likelihood, we don’t actually know what, exactly, we’re signing up for when we use the internet. We do now know, in broad strokes, that technology companies build their wealth on selling user data to advertisers; as the saying goes, “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.” While some might find that a bit reductionist, we cannot deny that we have lost control over what we are giving up when we use digital platforms. Our passive acceptance of these terms and conditions paves the way for constant surveillance, and for the warping and shaping of our online behaviors and identities to match what is deemed profitable and usable to others.

Establishing New Paradigms Through Contract

With little to no resistance, US courts and lawmakers have all but undone more than three hundred years of precedent in a stealth move to protect US dynastic wealth and fuel the rise of fine art as an asset class.

Jonas Lund

Images by Jonas Lund.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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