American Studies HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

BA Course

Elective Course
AMER2058 Art and law in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
6 credits
Art and law (Art + Law) is distinct from the practice of art law. While the latter occupies the field of art business, the former considers how art and law might be mutual endeavors, one informing the other. This class focuses on the former, considering how artists have provoked, represented, wielded, refined, tested, expanded, and unconventionally complied with private and public law. This intersection of art and law invites questions: Who or what authorizes or bestows the label of art? What is the basis for this authority and how are artworks influenced by, and/or function in opposition to, such authorizing forces? Can and how has the law been represented in art? How have artworks and artists disrupted legal regimes through civil disobedience (the breaking of a law); and how has dissent been expressed through uncivil obedience (the following of a law in a hyperbolic, literalistic, and unanticipated manner)? Although global in outlook, the cases under discussion are largely (although certainly not exclusively) Western in focus. Yet, the topics considered in this class might be applied to any number of geographic and cultural arenas. This course is not a history of art law, and neither is it a history of art symbolically looking at law; rather, this class examines the mutually influencing spheres wherein art activates, images, provokes, interacts with, and even interferes with the law.
Prerequisite: Nil
Assessment: 100% coursework
(Offered in 2021/2022)


American Studies HKU