Friday, September 22, 2023

Why the Resurgence of the Artists Rights Contract?


The use (or absence) of contractual agreements in the so-called artworld has always been a discussion. But recently there has been a resurgence in the analysis of how the use of the contractual agreement impacts the practical, historical, and theoretical fields of art. Why the sudden interest in the written agreement, and specifically, the Artists Rights Transfer Agreement drafted by Seth Siegelaub and Robert Projansky?

I am currently working on an essay that touches on this issue. There are also a growing number of historians and academics researching this very topic, such as Maria Eichhorn and Joan Kee, and more specifically on Siegelaub and Projansky’s and artist contracts, art historian and curator, Lauren van Haaften-Schick.

In this limited space (this is a blog, after all), I will say that there are artists that use the written agreement as medium, some more successfully than others. The unsuccessful ones tend to use law (and the contract) in mostly symbolic form. Then there are artists that use law (and the contract) in a more, what I call, speculative form. These are the successful ones. For a detailed analysis on this topic you’ll just have to wait for my essay.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting Hyperallergic review of a current NYC art exhibition titled, aptly, The Contract. Note how, according to the article, all sales from The Contract exhibition require the buyer to sign the Artists Rights Transfer Agreement. Interesting, indeed!


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


No comments so far.
  • Leave a Reply
    Your gravatar
    Your Name


Clancco, Clancco: The Source for Art & Law,, and Art & Law are trademarks owned by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento. The views expressed on this site are those of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and of the artists and writers who submit to They are not the views of any other organization, legal or otherwise. All content contained on or made available through is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to treated as confidential.

Website Terms of Use, Privacy, and Applicable Law.

Switch to our mobile site