Forming the Legal Avant-Garde: A Theory of Art/Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Electronic versions



This piece seeks to account for an increased interest in the intersection of art and law within legal thinking, activism and artistic practice, arguing there to exist the phenomena and movement of ‘art/law’. Art/law is the coming together of theory and practice in legal and political aesthetics, understood as a practice, (im)materially performed. It is seen as a natural consequence of thinking law and resistance in terms of space and time, accounting for a turn towards the visual, the practical and the role of affect, within ways of knowing. Art/law is a symptom of the end of art and end of law, synchronically rendered. Divisions between legal and aesthetic form have been well rehearsed within legal aesthetics scholarship, from law and literature, to critical legal studies’ work with images, text and performativity, and now law’s Anthropocene. Art/law as a practice, however, is argued as an emergent onto-epistemic-ethics of necessity, a movement of seeing, being and knowing in response to the advancement of spectacle. It is the simultaneous reunion of law, art and resistance as one, breaking down the institutional artifice of art worlds and law worlds, offering a form of ‘resistant (in)formalism’, that accounts for matter and change and asserts convergence as a medium. It is an inclusion of the uncertain and the disordered, that is an opening for the audience. This resistant (in)formalism describes the role of form, audience and practice within property, legal and aesthetic establishment, offering a countering of separatism at the end of art and the end of law, through a praxeology of art/law in seeing, thinking and action.


  • Law and aesthetics, Critical Legal Theory, Law and Art, Avant Garde, Property, Resistance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320–351
JournalLaw, Culture and the Humanities
Issue number2
Early online date13 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Total downloads

No data available
View graph of relations