Models of Integrity: Art and Law in Post-Sixties America (Hardcover)
Models of Integrity examines the relationship between contemporary art and the law through the lens of integrity. In the 1960s, artists began to engage conspicuously with legal ideas, rituals, and documents. The law—a primary institution subject to intense moral and political scrutiny—was a widely recognized source of authority to audiences inside the art world and out. Artists frequently engaged with the law in ways that signaled a recuperation of the integrity that they believed had been compromised by the very institutions entrusted with establishing standards of just conduct. These artists sought to convey the social purpose of an artwork without overstating its political impact and without losing sight of how aesthetic decisions compel audiences to see their everyday world differently. Addressing the role that law plays in enabling artworks to function as social and political forces, this important book fills a gap in the field of law and the humanities, and will serve as a practical “how-to” for contemporary artists.
About the Author
Joan Kee is Associate Professor in the History of Art at the University of Michigan. Formerly a lawyer in Hong Kong and New York, she is the author of numerous articles on contemporary art and law as well as a widely reviewed book, Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method.
"An absorbing and rigorously researched new book. . . .Kee does more than provide a recent history of collisions between art and the law. She overlays developments in the two fields, and argues that each one can help us better understand the other. . . . Models of Integrity reads as a compelling call for artists, arts professionals, and viewers to work more ambitiously, and to think with more nuance."
— Andrew Russeth,
"Kee’s book is a welcome primer on the myriad ways artists have engaged with the law over the past fifty years. What sets it apart from earlier literature is the intricacy with which Kee weaves together art and legal history as mutually informative, arguing that it is because artists are legal subjects within society at large that they have been able to so adroitly critique and illuminate law’s logics. . . It also inspires us to pursue Kee’s revelatory art-historical inquiry into how, when, and why legal conditions influence art."
— Burlington Magazine
“This wide-ranging volume offers insights into issues (of certification and distribution, for instance) that shaped Conceptual art.”
"Meticulously researched and lucidly written, Models of Integrity demands that we take the law seriously as one of many structural factors that impact art in complex ways. Kee’s interdisciplinary approach often yields a fresh perspective on her objects of study, assessing them through an underexplored lens and situating them firmly within an expanded social context. And while many people view the law as a dispassionate arbiter of clearly defined rules, Kee reminds us that ambiguity and inconsistency are deeply embedded in the American legal system. Although as a practical matter these uncertainties can chill what may in fact be perfectly legal creative acts, Models of Integrity provides an engaging account of a disparate group of artists who jumped wholeheartedly into the fray."
— Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art
"The ‘models of integrity’ in Kee's fascinating account are articulated in the intersection of individual codes of conduct, art world conventions, and the range of activities that are both facilitated and enjoined by legal protocols. Taking full advantage of her double background, as a practising lawyer who subsequently turned her attention to art history, Kee examines many telling points of comparison between the two fields while also drawing on a wealth of archival research."
— Art History
"Adds a novel perspective on art law, highlighting how both law and art can serve as sources of creative thinking. Illustrations and scholarship form an integral part of the book, and constitute an unconventional and much needed artistic take on the law [putting] six post-sixties artworks in their legal, historical, political, and artistic contexts."
— Center for Art Law Blog
"Brushing with critical intersections of law and contemporary art, this book explores concepts of integrity as mediated and represented through artworks of the 1960s and onwards. Dancing fuidly between historical context, art theory, and legal theory, each piece of art is grounded in the legal developments of the time: questions of integrity for law and artists, the creation of artistic ownership rights, the constitutive power of property, and the emergence of art forms not yet recognised as art. Through art, Kee opens up vital spaces of legal discussion through depictions of (and participation in) authority, power, disobedience and other possibilities beyond compliance and consensus."
— Journal for the Semiotics of Law
“The book speaks to a variety of audiences: those interested in post-1960s art of the United States; in the intersection of art and law; in the history of law and its intersections with art; in art triggering negative accountability and what is now referred to as moral outrage and call-out culture; and in art and its broader connections to social, political, and cultural moments in history. It also gestures toward a neglected field of art historical research that is ripe for development: an art history informed by legal analysis. . . . the strength of Models of Integrity is not just its integration of legal analysis into art history, it is also how the book lays the groundwork for (or one might say: operates as a model for) future scholarship examining the intersection of art and law.”
— Law & Literature
"A perceptive and sophisticated book that brings remarkable insight to the complex entanglements of law and art. It deftly and incisively explores the connections between art and law at a time in history during which there was “a crisis of citizenship." Rather than advocating a particular ideological agenda in response to this crisis, through her compelling interpretations of a series of case studies Kee illuminates how the relationships between the art and law invite critical engagement with “politics in need of accounting.”
— Law, Culture, and the Humanities
"An exceptional and commanding work of scholarship. Despite the author’s qualification that the book might fall short of the visual analysis expected in an art history text, Kee’s book is vividly illustrative, and boldly leads the reader through the oft- fraught liminal space between art and law. The book’s achievements extend far beyond effectively bearing legal concepts on art or narrating the logistical relations between art and law. To be exact, its real feats lie in its rumination on not only the plasticity of the law, but also on art as an extralegal machination that structures our society. In this way, Kee’s work will serve as a model for future scholarship in this emerging interdisciplinary field."
— Journal of Visual Culture