Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts

The striking Gustav Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907), sold last year for the massive sum of $US135 million, features on the cover of the fifth edition of Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts by John Henry Merryman, the late Albert E. Elsen and Stephen K. Urice. This work is published by Kluwer Law International and you can get its details online from the Aspen website here.

What the publisher says:
"Since its first edition in 1979, Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts established itself as the leading art law text among law professors, students, and practitioners. This new and newly illustrated, fifth edition, revised in collaboration with Stephen K. Urice, incorporates recent changes in treaty, statutory, and case law. It includes discussion of recent developments from the resurgence of iconoclasm to military conflicts' depredations on cultural property. As in earlier editions, the authors present legal issues in their historical contexts.

The broad range of topics addressed in the 5th edition, makes the text especially adaptable for use in multiple classroom settings. These topics include:

* U.S. museums' return of works of art and antiquities to claimants such as Holocaust survivors and foreign nations
* Artist's rights such as copyright and moral rights
* International movement of art and antiquities
* Fakes and forgeries in the art market
* The inner workings of art auctions
* Plundering and destruction of works of art in times of war and military conflict
* Censorship of obscene or politically challenging works of art ...".
What the IPKat says: This is an impressive work which incorporates a vast amount of scholarship and information. It is however emphatically not a legal reference work for the practitioner in the conventional sense; nor is it didactic. It is in effect a giant source book, containing large quantities of primary and secondary legal sources and materials (including quotes from books, articles and even correspondence). The authors adopt a modest pose behind their contributions, which are carefully flagged "AUTHORS' NOTE" - but the relatively sparse nature of their input is in fact the book's great strength and its eloquence: the authors guide the reader through the issue while leaving the reader free to form his own opinions, rather than drag him through them in their pre-digested form.

Bibliographic details. Hardback US$352/euro €275. ISBNs 9041125183 and 13 9789041125187. xxix and 1324 pages. Also available in paperback at US$128/euro 100. Rupture factor: severe to crippling (lots of pages; heavy paper).
Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 Rating: 5

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