Please check out our Art & Law Residency new website!

Program dates: January 2012 through August 2012
Application deadline: October 17, 2011

Notification: December 1, 2011


Program Goal

As legal and judicial issues now permeate every aspect of social, political and cultural life, artistic production is no longer immune. The Art & Law Residency provides an intellectual and artistic setting for participants to engage in ongoing discussions and debates that examine the overlap and disconnect between artistic production and the law from historical, social, ethical and intellectual standpoints. Using law as both a discourse and medium, new visual artwork and critical writing will come into being through the Program. All the participants will also gain experience and knowledge they can carry into the future beyond the Program.


The core of the Program will be semi-monthly Seminars directed at the theoretical and critical examination of current art and law issues. Seminars will take place at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Faculty as well as leading legal scholars and visiting artists will lead these Seminars. During the course of the Program, artists and writers will develop new projects and papers and receive support from Faculty on a regular basis to discuss and address the aesthetic, practical, philosophical, legal and judicial aspects of their work. The Residency will culminate in a public Exhibition and Symposium held at the Maccarone Gallery in New York City where the participants will exhibit their projects and present papers. For a list of the 2010 Fellows and their Bios please click here.

Program Provides

1. Seminars: Twice a month, a legal scholar, artist and/or Program Faculty will lead Seminars as well as assign related readings. Topics for lectures and group discussions will include practical, theoretical, philosophical and speculative perspectives on art, property (tangible and intangible), contract, constitutional, and international law as well as free speech.

2. Legal consultation and representation: Access to private consultations with attorneys and work with assigned pro bono representation for individual projects as required. Additional legal advice and guidance in the form of individual meetings to discuss general practical and theoretical questions may be arranged.

3. Studio Visits and Mentoring: Visual artists will benefit from studio visits by visiting artists and curators. Writers will be assigned a mentor to help with the conceptualization and development of their papers.

4. Exhibition and Symposium: The culminating Exhibition and Symposium will be held at the Maccarone Gallery, in New York City, in August 2011. Art criticism participants will present papers at an evening Symposium and visual artists will display their final work during this Exhibition. A modest stipend will be provided towards production costs and/or research materials.

5. Van Lier Fellowships: VLA is pleased to announce that the residency will offer Van Lier Fellowships in its second and third years which VLA administers on behalf of the Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust. Van Lier Fellowships are made possible with the generous support of the New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund.


VLA Residency Faculty:

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Esq., Program Director and Faculty
Sarmiento is a visual artist and art lawyer interested in the intersection of art and law. He received his BA in Art from the University of Texas-El Paso, and an MFA in Art from The California Institute of the Arts. He was a Van Lier Fellow at the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program in Studio and received his J.D. from Cornell Law School. He has taught critical theory, art law, and studio art at Harvard University, USC, U.C. Irvine, Occidental College, and CalArts, and lectured at a number of institutions, including Dia:Beacon, Fordham Law School, ICP/Bard, New York University School of Law, Pratt Institute, The Bronx Museum, Yale University, SVA, The Vera List Center for Arts and Politics, Columbia University School of the Arts, LMCC, Columbia Law School, Cornell Law School, Harvard University, and the Centre Sociologie de l'Innovation, Ecole des Mines de Paris. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and his essays published in Cabinet Magazine, Law Text Culture, and Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left.

Elena M. Paul, Esq., Advisor and Program Faculty
Elena M. Paul is an arts and entertainment attorney and the Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. In her legal practice, Paul represents artists and arts organizations specializing in corporate, transactional and intellectual property law. Paul has presented at institutions on a national basis, including College Art Association, Columbia University, Dance/NYC, the French Culinary Institute, Harvard Law School, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the School of Visual Arts, New York University, Sundance Film Festival and SXSW. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the New York Film Academy and the Brooklyn Law School. Paul received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Davidson College, phi beta kappa, and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Paul was a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School and is a mentor for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in its Arts in Crisis Program.

Caryn Coleman, Curator and Faculty
Caryn Coleman is a curator and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Her curatorial practice explores the intersection of film and visual art with an obsessive research focus on horror cinema's influence on contemporary artists. This is the basis for her online writing project The Girl Who Knew Too Much and upcoming exhibition programming. Coleman is currently collaborating with UK artist Darren Banks on a film installation of The Wicker Man (1972) and is guest-curating an exhibition for Hayward Touring (United Kingdom). Recent projects include The Real Horror Symposium, Darren Banks' Palace Collection, and Heather Cantrell's A Study in Portraiture: Act I in Los Angeles and A Study in Portraiture: Act II in London. Previously she owned the art gallery sixspace in Los Angeles (2002-2008) and in Chicago (1998-2000). She has worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and has also provided exhibition and publication research to Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery. In addition to founding the seminal, she has written for LUX (Artist Moving Agency), The Modernist, Art Review online, Beautiful Decay, the Los Angeles Weekly, and artist exhibition essays. She recently received her MFA in Curating with distinction from Goldsmiths College in London.

More about Caryn Coleman:
Curatorial projects:
Research on contemporary art and horror cinema:


Seminar Leaders and VIsiting Curators include:

Amy Adler, The Emily Kempin Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Regina Austin, William A. Schnader Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Eduardo Cadava, Professor, Princeton University
Ingrid Chu, Co-Director/Curator at Forever & Today, Inc.
John Connelly,Director, Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation
John F. Delaney, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Eric Doeringer, Artist
Charles Gaines, Artist and Professor, California Institute of the Arts
Savannah Gorton, Co-Director/Curator at Forever & Today, Inc.
Frederick Janka, Associate Director, Sculpture Center
Sonia K. Katyal, Professor of Law, Fordham Law School
Cristina S. Martinez, PhD History of Art and History of Law, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
Stephan Pascher, Artist
Eduardo M. Peñalver, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
David S. Powers, Professor, Cornell University, Near Eastern Studies
Sara Reisman, Director, Percent for Art, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Independent Curator
Annelise Riles, Jack G. Clarke Chair in Far East Legal Studies and Professor of Anthropology, Cornell Law School
Charity Scribner, PhD Comparative Literature, Columbia University, Literary and Cultural Theorist
Mari Spirito, Director, 303 Gallery and Independent Curator
Radhika Subramaniam, Director and Chief Curator for Shelia C. Johnson Design Center

Seminar Topics Include:

• Art Criticism
• Constitutional Law
• Contracts
• Copyright, Trademark & Fair Use
• Critical Theory vs. Legal Theory
• First Amendment
• Free Speech
• Geography
• Historical Origins of Art & Law
• Intellectuals and the Law
• Islamic Law
• Land Use
• Photography, Film & Law
• Property and Religion
• Terrorism & Law
• Torts
• Urban Space



Participants are required to attend semi-monthly Seminars as well as participate actively in group discussion and individual project and paper development. Participants who successfully complete the Seminar series will participate in the final Exhibition and Symposium. The semi-monthly Seminars will be held on Mondays from 6-9 pm at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Seminars commence in January 2011.

Applicantsmust have a minimum four-year professional record. Visual artists working in all media may apply. Writers may have backgrounds in Art History, Art Theory, and Art Criticism and be strongly engaged with contemporary visual art. Artists and writers interested in issues of constitutional law, contracts, property, free speech and intellectual property are especially encouraged to apply.

How To Apply
Please submit all parts of the applications by mail or in-person by October 17, 2011 (in-office receipt) to:

Art & Law Residency Program
1 East 53rd Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10022

1. Statement: Please indicate if you would like to participate as a visual artist or writer. The statement should discuss your work, educational experience, intellectual interests, as well as how the Program may benefit your work. The statement should be no longer than two pages.

2. Resume or CV: Detailing most relevant accomplishments including education, exhibitions, residencies, publications, awards. Please include name, address, phone, email and website.

3. Two References: Include only names and contact information. Letters are not required.

4. Work Sample:
-For visual artists: 15-20 images of recent work on DVD or CD, or up to 5-minutes of recent video on DVD. Save images as .jpg, 1000 x 1000 pixels at 72 dpi. Please include an image list detailing title, date, materials, and dimensions or running times.

-For writers: Two recent writing samples, totaling no more than 20 pages, double spaced.

Other submission guidelines:
Include your name on each page you submit. Do not submit original material, VHS tapes or 35 mm slides. Applications will not be returned. Late applications will not be considered.

Please note: There is no application form or application fee.

Application materials will be treated with care; however, the Program is not responsible for their loss or damage. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you would like your DVD or CD returned. Additional materials will not be returned.

Selection and Notification Process
Participants will be selected by Program Faculty on the strength of their application and demonstrated potential for vigorous debate and group discussion. Candidates should show promise for artistic and intellectual growth in their own work during the course of the Residency as well as any possible contribution their work and research may make to the field at large. Selected participants will be notified December 1, 2011 .

The VLA Art & Law Residency Program is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Dedalus Foundation, and in-kind contributions from Maccarone Gallery and Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Application inquiries via e-mail are preferred: