Art and authority : moral rights and meaning in contemporary visual art

Gover, K. E., author
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  • Creator K.E. Gover
  • Format Books
  • Publication First edition. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2018. ©2018
  • Physical Details
    • 188 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
  • ISBNs 0198768699, 9780198768692, 0191081302, 9780191081309
  • OCLC on1029800449


  • People engage with authored works all the time. They buy paintings, read books, and download songs. They might even be artists themselves. And yet they tend to take the concept of authorship for granted. The basic idea that an artist as author maintains some kind of claim to his creation, even as it circulates in the world at large, seems natural. It is the basis for copyright law and moral rights legislation which protect the rights of authors. But what is an author, and why do artists receive special legal recognition and protection that the creators of other kinds of artifacts do not? It is often assumed that artists have a special bond with their artworks, but the nature of this bond, and its function as the source of an artist's authority over his work, often goes unquestioned. 0Art and Authority is a philosophical essay on artistic freedom: its sources, nature, and limits. Artistic freedom can mean different things depending on the context in which it is invoked. K.E. Gover argues that the most fundamental form of artistic freedom involves the artist's authority to accept or disavow the works she produces, to curate the works that bear her name and come to represent her artistic oeuvre. Our very concept of what an artwork is-the intentional expression of the artist, for its own sake-depends on this second-order endorsement by the artist of what he or she has made. Using real-world cases and controversies in contemporary visual art, Gover argues that the leading accounts of artistic authorship in the legal and philosophical literature have overlooked the significance of this moment.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 177-184) and index.


  • 1. Introduction -- 2. Art, Authorship, and Authorization -- 3. When the Work Is Finished -- 4. The Artist and the Institution -- 5. Boundary Issues : Reconsidering the Artist's Sanction -- 6. Taking Pictures : Appropriation Art, Copyright, and Intentionalism -- 7. Conclusion