Joan Kee on "Art Encounters Law," as guest critic in the "Brooklyn Rail."
And if disturbing the presumptive boundary separating art from everyday life was a critical priority for artists amidst intensified campaigns for social and legal reform, it was law and its violability that enabled such muddling to be visceral, rather than merely hypothetical. Travesties of justice provoked many artists into producing works that drew the notice of the legal establishment; the political efficacy of a work was often gauged by how quickly it could provoke legislatures, courts, and police into action. New laws—or the lack thereof—irrevocably shaped the production and circulation of artworks. At the same time, the fresh outrage of ethical and moral violations lends new urgency to the question of what art has to say about the law. read more