As an important cultural force, art has presented many regulatory problems for the law. This course asks what purposes the law has pursued in resolving those regulatory problems, what tools the law has found for resolving them, what tools the law has actually used, and how well those tools have worked. More specifically, for example, the course will investigate the issues presented by the international trade in "cultural property," by demands for the repatriation of cultural property, by the law of armed conflict applied to cultural treasures, by the peculiar nature of the market for art, by artists' claims to control the art they create after they have sold it, by challenges to principles of artistic freedom, by state support for the arts, by the administration of museums, and by conditions placed on charitable trusts.
As much as possible, these issues will be approached through case studies. I anticipate that this will include studies of the legal problems surrounding the Barnes Foundation's museum; Mark Rothko's estate: the Norton Simon Museum's paintings of Adam and Eve; the Knoedler Gallery's sale of a fortune in fake Abstract Expressionist Art; the NEA's subsidies of art; Maria Altmann's success in wresting six Klimts from the Austrian government; Greece's attempt to wrest the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum, the Brooklyn Museum's "sensational" Saatchi show, and so on. I expect these case studies to be supplemented by visits from museum curators, art dealers, and other art-world actors.
Grades will be based on class participation and a final examination.