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.

Fellows of The Program meet once a week for a 3-hour seminar to discuss readings and visual materials with the Director of the Program, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, and/or with a guest seminar leader. Seminar leaders assign required readings and present ideas and materials relevant to their areas of practice.

There is 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.

Topics covered include 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.

The spring 2018 term will run from January 29th to mid-June and will take place in NYC. The seminars are held at the Cornell Art Architecture Planning headquarters at 26 Broadway in New York City. The term concludes with an end-of-program retreat at Denniston Hill artist residency in upstate New York.

The Program is fully committed to freedom of expression.


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