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Providing legal analysis and touching upon social history and art history themes, this work offers an objective review of five art trials. Spanning the last 20 years, specific areas of law are examined with each trial: First and Fifth Amendments, copyright law, contract law, valuation of art, and misrepresentation. Art, outside of the legal vacuum, has been embroiled in a battle initiated by social conservatives to promote decency. Three trials involving this struggle and the National Endowment of the Arts are analyzed.
The valuation of art is examined in the context of Andy Warhol's estate and copyright law is considered because of the appropriation of contemporary images by Jeff Koons. Although each trial is reviewed distinctly, all are interwoven to present major issues relating to contemporary art.