Lecture by Daniel McClean. Art’s engagement with the law: from faking suicide to counting deaths

Date: May 8, 2009
Location: Magasin 3, Stockholm
Language: English
Exhibition: Santiago Sierra

Art may test the limits of social, moral and legal acceptance. Daniel McClean will through current as well as examples from the 16th century art world speculate on what the co-existence of these models of artistic production/distribution within contemporary culture says about art, the law and the relationship between them. Works by Santiago Sierra will be a natural part of the lecture.

McClean will in his lecture present how different moments in contemporary artistic production and distribution are linked to the law. He will identify and discuss three main models: the transgressive model where the law is intentionally transgressed by the artist through the artwork; the protective model where art has not been created deliberately to engage with the law, but the law is invoked by artists or galleries generally as claimants in order to protect art at some stage, and the operational model where the law is used often playfully as a tool by artists to be incorporated into the artwork and to reflect upon the rules that govern the social, economic, aesthetic and legal spheres and the law as a form of social power.

Daniel McClean is a lawyer specialising in art law, intellectual property law and medial law, practising at Withers LLP (London and New York). He acts for leading international artists and galleries including recently, the Haunch of Venison gallery against the UK Customs authorities. He has edited two publications, The Trials of Art (2007) and Dear Images: Art, Copyright and Culture (2002). He is also an independent curator. His most recent exhibitions is Offer and exchange: sites of negotiation in contemporary art (2007-2008), co-curated with Lisa Rosendahl and produced by Electra.