Research Handbook on Art and Law
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Research Handbook on Art and Law

Edited by Jani McCutcheon and Fiona McGaughey

Featuring international contributions from leading and emerging scholars, this innovative Research Handbook presents a panoramic view of how law sees visual art, and how visual art sees law. It resists the conventional approach to art and law as inherently dissonant – one a discipline preoccupied with rationality, certainty and objectivity; the other a creative enterprise ensconced in the imaginary and inviting multiple, unique and subjective interpretations. Blending these two distinct disciplines, this unique Research Handbook bridges the gap between art and law.
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Chapter 3: Regulating the artist: laws, norms and practices

Chris Dent


Regulation is the broad term for attempts to control or delimit the behaviour of individuals. When it comes to regulating the work of visual artists, there are a number of legal regimes that impact on what a visual artist may create – including copyright law and contractual obligations. These regimes can be understood in terms of normative practices. Other normative practices also bind the behaviour of visual artists, some of which stem from their discipline, others are simply societal. In order to consider the role of these systems, a multi-dimensional approach will be used. First, there is Julia Black’s theory of ‘decentred regulation’, infused with the work of Michel Foucault, and secondly, there is the notion of ‘motivators’ as adapted from behavioural economics. Taken together, these complementary frameworks facilitate a more complete understanding of the intersection of the work of artists and the law.

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