- Department: History of Art
- Module co-ordinator: Prof. Michael White
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: I
- Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
- See module specification for other years: 2023-24
This module introduces students to the field of Art Law, covering a wide range of topics within it, from intellectual property rights to the functioning of the art market, museum practice and cultural heritage protection.
|Semester 1 2024-25
The number of legal practitioners specialising in art-related matters has grown significantly in the last few decades, in relation to the expansion of the art market internationally, its increasing value and its complexity. Meanwhile, anyone involved in making, buying, selling, reproducing and displaying works of art will confront legal considerations on a day-to-day basis. While the amount of legal statute dedicated specifically to art is small, the peculiarity of the application of standard areas of law (such as property law, criminal law and contract law) to art-related contexts has led to the emergence of what has come to be known as Art Law. This module introduces students to its major considerations as a preparation for work in any part of the museum and heritage sector, art trade or legal professions.
The structure of the module is based on a notional life cycle of a work of art, beginning with the problem of the very definition of art in the first instance. It then moves on to consider issues affecting the creation of art, such as copyright and freedom of expression, to the sale of works of art, including artists’ moral rights and resale rights, the laws of agency in respect to commercial organisations, such as auction houses, and trust law in relation to museums. The later part of the module examines art crime, including fakes and forgeries, stolen art and looting, and the module concludes by investigating what, if anything, protects art from destruction.
By the end of the module, students will have acquired:
knowledge of the major legal areas of concern to the art world.
an understanding of the particularity of the application of law to art-related contexts.
an understanding of what it means to treat works of art as property.
an awareness of how the art market functions.
an understanding of the legal and ethical obligations of museum and heritage organisations.
|% of module mark
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