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Wesleyan University | Center for the Humanities



Recontextualizing the Movement for Artists’ Rights

Lauren van Haaften-Schick • Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wesleyan University 

March 6th @ 6pm  • Daniel Family Commons

The artists’ rights movement in the 1960s and 70s United States is remembered for calls for racial and gender equity in museums and galleries, along with demands for economic and property rights for artists in their work. Artists regularly protested museums, lobbied for legislation, and developed strategic tools like contracts. Most infamous among these became The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, otherwise known as the Artist’s Contract. Initiated by curator Seth Siegelaub in New York, the Artist’s Contract was designed to give artists a legal device for claiming expansive ongoing rights. Yet in relying on an individualist rights framework, the Artist’s Contract ignored parallel social movements from which these artists found inspiration–especially the powerful movement for welfare rights. This talk retraces the broader context from which the artists’ rights movement sprang, illuminating key demands for wealth redistribution and social justice broadly.

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Center for the Humanities · 95 Pearl Street, Middletown, CT 06459

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