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M. Leiboff, 'Art Actually! The Courts and the Imposition of Taste' (2009) 3 Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice 1-23.


How do we read art, at least in law? The traditional approach of the courts has been to disavow, or at least avoid any discussion on matters of aesthetics or connoisseurship, or more accurately assert such a disavowal. Because whether the courts acknowledge it or not, they actively judge art, even when they say they don't. Judging art by judges, as we will see, is not a particularly edifying spectacle, but is it better for the courts to avoid judging art? In this article, I will explore what happens when the courts grapple with the problem of judging art, but to begin, I would like to ask you to look at two snapshots of judicial entanglements with art in the form of extracts from the case law.

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