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 13: Classifying art in diverse legal regimes: the function-aesthetic divide and the public interest

Marta Iljadica


This chapter examines UK courts’ classification of artistic objects in land, heritage, tax and ecclesiastical law disputes. It does so in an effort to identify themes common to the classification of objects across this diverse sample of legal areas. In interrogating specific examples, the chapter shows that a number of common themes emerge: the relevance of the art object’s placement within a particular space and, the maintenance (typically) of a distinction between utility and aesthetic enjoyment as the primary means of classification. The application of these rules to works of art have implications beyond the parties involved in a dispute, affecting the broader community, or communities, that may have an interest in preserving these art objects in a particular location.

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