As part of Serpentine’s R&D Platform, the Legal Lab explores how the law can better support collaborations across art, science and technology. Led by lawyer, curator and founder of Guest Work Agency, Alana Kushnir, the Legal Lab is a space for investigating legal issues and prototyping accessible legal solutions for the art field.
Legal structures and tools, such as contracts, are crucial to structuring innovative enterprises and effective operational models. However, in the sphere of art, there is a tendency to shy away from legally onerous forms of arrangement. This has resulted in legal infrastructures being under-acknowledged for their multifaceted potential in supporting cutting-edge creative practice. These concerns are present in the internal organisation of the art field and the expanding realm of cross-disciplinary relationships between art actors and external fields.
If you’d like to find out more about the work of the Legal Lab, listen to the Warfare of Art & Law Podcast, where Alana Kushnir featured as a special guest.
NFTs and the Law
The increased presence of digital assets within the art industry in the form of blockchain-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is posing new legal challenges as well as resurfacing existing ones. Please download Alana Kushnir’s research paper on the topic.
In December of last year Alana Kushnir participated in an online panel discussion, NFTs, a Legal Perspective, hosted by Emerging Tech Law, and in November, the Legal Lab was part of NFT DEB Generative Dimensions Conference.
The Legal Lab participates in the NFT Licensing Taskforce, organised by COALA Global, an effort to develop semi-public licenses for NFTs.
In June 2021, in collaboration with Rhizome, Serpentine Legal Lab convened an event that brought together leading art lawyers to discuss the legal implications of NFTs for collectors and artistic collaborators.
Art + Tech/Science Collaborations
On 26 July 2021, the Legal Lab launched a report on legal issues arising in art + tech/science collaborations. You can watch the launch event on Serpentine’s Twitch.
In collaborations across art and technology, and art and science, there are numerous frictions or ‘pain points’ caused by legal issues that collaborators may face. In the past, these have been difficult to outline and learn from because the majority of resulting disputes are addressed privately and do not have their ‘day in court’, so to speak.
To address these concerns the Legal Lab has conducted research over the past two years, mapping the various legal issues that arise in art + tech/science collaborations from the perspectives of different types of users: artists, technologists, scientists, curators, lawyers, legal academics, arts organisations, galleries, and tech companies. The report analyses the trends and distills a series of action points.
On 1 October 2019, the Legal Lab held a summit with the participation of artists, curators, scholars, lawyers, legal designers and technologists. The summit consisted of presentations and think-tank discussions, which analysed and tested ideas for development. For more information, please see the report.
Presentations by Legal Lab representatives Alana Kushnir and Ben Vickers illustrated the objectives of the Serpentine’s R&D initiatives and the particular hypotheses, objectives and methodologies of the Legal Lab. In her presentation on the Legal Design movement, Marie Potel-Saville, Founder & CEO of Amurabi, an Innovation by Design Agency, advanced the potential for legal design thinking — the application of human-centered design to the world of law — to be integrated into the Legal Lab’s methodology. Two think-tank discussions built on the aims outlined in these presentations, allowing participants to share knowledge, experience and anecdotes in distilling the fundamental legal issues of art and technology collaborations and prototyping potential solutions.
DAOs and the Law
Learn more about the communities thinking about DAOs for the art world by tuning into the Radical Friends DAO Summit for the ‘decentralisation of power and resources in the Artworld’ where Alana Kushnir is a speaker.
- Alana Kushnir — Guest Work Agency
- Victoria Ivanova — Vive Arts
- Adelaide Dunn, David Jenal — Associate Researchers
- Katy Beale, Estela Oliva — Strategic Communications and Design
- Marie Potel-Saville — Amurabi
The work of the Legal Lab is guided by a cross-disciplinary Advisory Panel
- Astrid Kohlmeier, a lawyer and designer for legal design and legal tech
- Connal Parsley, Senior Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School, UK
- Daniel McClean, art lawyer and partner at Cypress LLP
- Ivaylo Getov, Technical Director for Fine Art projects, Co-founder and Creative Director at Luxloop
- James Wreford, Member of Black Shuck Cooperative
- Kathleen E. Kim, art lawyer at Liwu Law Group South Korea
- Lauren van Haaften-Schick, curator, writer and PhD Candidate in the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University
- Marie Potel-Saville, founder of Amurabi, a legal innovation by design agency
- Rita Arrigo, Chief Digital Advisor at Microsoft, AI Ambassador
- Sara Rayment, founder of Inkling Legal Design, a consultancy that reimagines legal services through design, law and emerging technology and Conjoint Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle
- Sophie Netchaef, curator and former Strategic Projects Manager, Serpentine Galleries
- Yayoi Shionoiri, art lawyer and Executive Director to the Estate of Chris Burden and the Studio of Nancy Rubins based in New York
- Safiya Ahmed, IP and technology lawyer at Russells UK
- Roxanne Peters, Creative and Cultural IP Rights Specialist, University of the Arts London