The Art & Law Program is a seminar-colloquium that focuses on the study of law as a linguistic system, institutional force, and power structure, with a particular focus on how the discourses and practices of law and visual culture impact each other, self-governance, history, and culture.

The Program consists of a nonpartisan community that aims to attract individuals in the areas of visual art, architecture, criticism, art history, curating, and film. This list is non-exclusive. Artists with non-traditional cultural practices are especially encouraged to apply, as are cultural producers interested in the cultural effects of law.

Fall 2019

Taking into consideration recent socio-cultural and political-economic developments in art, law, and education, starting in the fall of 2019 the Program will transition to an intensive three-day colloquium that will focus on specific art and law topics.

For the fall 2019, the Program will examine artists’ legacies and artists’ estates through the lens of tangible and intangible property, contracts, moral rights, and corporations. This will allow us to examine how sectors of the art industry— such as academia, the gallery system, for-profit and non-profit museums, curatorial approaches, and law—impact the practices, definitions, economics and controversies of contemporary art and culture.

The fall 2019 three-day colloquium will take place on the weekend of October 25, 26 and 27, each day from 9am to 6pm, and will be held at the Cornell Art Architecture Planning headquarters at 26 Broadway in New York City. For more information on the fall 2019 intensive three-day colloquium please view our application page.

Pedagogical Philosophy

The Art & Law Program places a particular emphasis on the understanding of legal cases, texts and materials through a Socratic method of interpretation. Through a close analysis of legal texts, legal structures, and legal modes of thought, the Program aims to critique current artistic, curatorial, theoretical and art historical practices and discourses. Conversely, the use of law and jurisprudence as theory, practice and medium is explored.

We believe that the study of art and law includes, but of course is not limited to, territoriality and space, legal structures and systems, law as medium, crime, culture and justice, freedom of expression, tangible and intangible property, language and contracts, authority and authorship, markets and transactions, systems of value, morality and law, corporate entities, sovereignty and international law.

Please note that the Program does not focus on traditional and conventional critical theories (e.g., Marxism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, psychoanalysis, etc.), but rather investigates how the philosophy and practice of law disturbs the critical theory establishment and creates a new space and discourse for aesthetic, cultural and intellectual practices.

Applicants and admitted fellows shall take note that the Program is fully committed to freedom of expression.


The Art & Law Program, the first of its kind, was founded in 2010 by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento.


The Art & Law Program is privately owned and funded by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, as well as by private donations and participation fees. The Program is not a foundation, is not registered as a 501(c)(3) under the US Internal Revenue Code and does not receive governmental assistance.