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San Francisco Exhibition Looks at Law and Art

By Robyn Hagan Cain on February 27, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Law and art regularly collide. There are intestacy and divorce battles over art collections. There are copyright infringement lawsuits against pop stars who base their music videos on famous photographs. There are models charged with public lewdness for posing nude ... among nude paintings.

From March 9 through April 19, SOMArts, located at 934 Brannan Street in San Francisco, will take a closer look at the intersection between law and art in a special exhibition called, "I Am Crime: Art on the Edge of Law."

The exhibition will feature opportunities for anonymous criminal confessions, a review of artistic trespasses, and multimedia presentations reflecting legal disparities. Highlights include:

  • True Crime. A collaborative installation conceived by Critical Art Ensemble, "True Crime" invites any visitor to become part of the exhibition by submitting images of illegal objects, objects obtained illegally, or illegal activity. The images will be accepted at SOMArts, but participants are warned not to include names, addresses, or identifiable figures with their submissions. Criminal defense attorneys, this sounds a fantastic way to drum up business. Just hang out at SOMArts with a stack of business cards, and watch for guilty-looking artistic people slinking into the gallery with their work tucked under an arm.
  • Undocumented and Awkward. A series of skits on video created by and for undocumented youth, "Undocumented and Awkward" highlights social inequalities faced by American immigrants. This one sounds ideal for immigration attorneys.
  • I Fought The Law: A Conversation with Artists & Attorneys. For one night only -- March 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- exhibiting artists will be paired with local attorneys who are experts in intellectual property, immigration, and criminal law. The discussion will be moderated by JD Beltran, (an artist and attorney), and feature artists Ray Beldner, Dreamers Adrift, and Mark McCloud, and attorneys Simon Frankel, Hendrik Pretorius, and Tony Serra. Admission is free.

Now that SOMArts has the law and art discussion covered, we just need to find a lecture series examining the interaction between music and the law. We've learned about automobile searches from Jay-Z, and child support from Kanye and Jamie Foxx, but we still want to know if Fiona Apple actually needs a good a defense for feeling like a criminal.

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