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Who should have the authority to determine what is art: artists, critics and curators, or lawyers, judges and juries? Should artistic expression always be immune from legal and ethical constraints? Should the law always protect artists and art works? Since the Renaissance, artists have been involved in trials both as claimants and defendants. Artists have appeared in trials in order to assert their rights (from Albrecht Dürer to Constantin Brancusi to Richard Serra) and as violators of the law (from Michaelangelo to Honoré Daumier to Jeff Koons).
Inspired by important trials during the modern period in which artists and art works have acted as protagonists, this anthology of essays from fourteen leading academics and lawyers examines the ambivalent encounter between art and the law.
In considering these issues, the book illuminates how the art trial has been instrumental in the development of art and the shaping of the law, and reflects upon wider issues; the position of the artist in relation to society, the power to determine how images are created and viewed and the struggle between individual expression and collective beliefs.