Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento is an artist who practices art law. He is interested in the relationship between contemporary art and law, with a primary focus on copyright, moral rights, free speech, deaccessioning, and nonprofit arts organizations. He currently practices out of his law office, The Law Office of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, and teaches contemporary art and law at Fordham Law School. He received his BA in Art from the University of Texas-El Paso and an MFA in Art from the California Institute of the Arts. He was a Van Lier Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art in 1997-98, and received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2006.
Sarmiento is a member of the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association and serves on the advisory board for three nonprofits, Denniston Hill Artists Residency, The Nietzsche Circle and The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. From 2006 to 2012, he was Director of Education and Associate Director for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in New York City, where he advised and represented visual and performing artists and arts organizations. In 2010, Sarmiento founded The Art & Law Program, the first residency of its kind, as well as the Law School for Visual Artists.
His legal experience includes advising artists, galleries, and arts organizations on matters involving copyright, trademarks, moral rights, free speech, and artist-gallery disputes. He has recently worked on an important appeal under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 on behalf of the Swiss installation artist Christoph Büchel in the artist’s highly-publicized dispute with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. He has also co-written amicus briefs for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court regarding another high-profile moral rights case, Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District, in support of artist Chapman Kelley.
Sarmiento has taught in a number of universities and art schools, including NYU, Harvard University, the University of Southern California, University of California-Irvine, Occidental College, CalArts, Hofstra University, and Brooklyn Law School. He has presented talks and participated in panels and symposiums at a number of institutions, including Brown University Department of Visual Art, UC Irvine Department of Art, New York Law School, Yale Law School, Florida Atlantic University, The Drawing Center, The New York State Bar Association, NYU School of Law, McGill Faculty of Law, Dia:Beacon, Fordham Law School, The International Center of Photography, Pratt Institute, SUNY-New Paltz, The Bronx Museum, The Yale School of Management, The School of Visual Arts, The Vera List Center for Arts and Politics at The New School, Creative Capital, Columbia University School of the Arts, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, Six Points Fellowship, The Writers Guild of America, Bard College/ICP, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Parsons The New School for Design, the El Paso Museum of Art, The El Paso Bar Association and Federal Bar, Columbia Law School, Cornell Law School, Harvard University, and the Centre Sociologie de l’Innovation, Ecole des Mines de Paris. He was a mentor with the Kennedy Center’s Arts in Crisis program in 2009-2010. From 2008 to 2010, Sarmiento served as a New York State Council on the Arts panelist for state and local partnerships.
His art projects have been shown in international exhibitions, including Mexico, Germany, and Spain, and nationally in Dallas, New York City, and Los Angeles. He has published essays and projects in Five Continents and One City Exhibition (catalogue essay, Mexico), Capital Art: On the Culture of Punishment (catalogue essay, US), Cabinet Magazine (US), Law Text Culture (Australia), Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, Canceled: Alternative Manifestations and Productive Failures (catalogue essay, US), Art Asia Pacific (Asia, The Pacific, Middle East).
He was a resident of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Windows of the World studio program in 2000. From June through August of 2012, he was an artist in residence at Denniston Hill artist residency. A selection of his art projects may be viewed on Clancco’s Projects page.
For more information on select institutions and journals where papers, projects, interviews and talks on art and law have been presented, please view Clancco’s Bibliography page.