Wednesday, January 19, 2022
 

Why the Resurgence of the Artists Rights Contract?


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!

 

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