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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Patricia A Failing
ART H 509
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Special Topics in Art History

Specific focus changes from quarter to quarter.

Class description

Legal and Ethical Issues in the Visual Arts

This seminar reviews topics of major significance for artists, art historians and museum professionals. Among the subjects covered: artists' moral rights laws and the U. S. Visual Artists Rights Act of l990; California's resale royalties law for visual artists; copyright law as it affects visual artists, art historians and art museums; fine art prints legislation; the ethical reproduction of sculpture; the College Art Association's code of ethics for art historians; legal responsibilities of museum curators and trustees; curator collecting; museum deaccessioning and acquisition policies; national patrimony laws; illegal sale and export of works of art; repatriations from museums; Occupy Wall Street critique of art museums. Students also investigate topics of particular relevance to their own fields: examples of past student research include local censorship of public art; "authenticity" and the marketing of African and Chinese art; plagiarism and the use of "found" imagery; conflicts of interest in curator and trustee collecting; the ethics of conservation; looting of Native American archaeological sites; the history of the federal Visual Artists Rights Act; Washington and Oregon's art dealers consignment laws; legal action against museum trustees and curators; Jewish collections looted by Nazis; ethics of museum display; repatriation of illegally exported art by U.S. museums. For further information, contact the instructor -failing@u.washington.edu

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Patricia A Failing
Date: 10/21/2011