In vacuums of law we find: outsider poiesis in street art and graffiti

Finchett-Maddock, Lucy (2019) In vacuums of law we find: outsider poiesis in street art and graffiti. In: Chappell, Duncan and Hufnagel, Saskia (eds.) The Palgrave handbook on art crime. Palgrave MacMillan, London, pp. 855-880. ISBN 9781137544049

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (552kB)


This piece seeks to demonstrate the striating role of property within street art and graffiti, creating a threshold where criminal and intellectual property meet to both outlaw and protect street art at the same time. Street art reveals a legal vacuum for poiesis, protest and property on the threshold of aesthetic and juridical legitimacy and illegitimacy, illustrating where law means all and nothing at once. Legal sanction is argued as affecting the aesthetics of street art, where criminalisation protects the rights of property owners over the creative rights of artists, reasserting the exclusionary nature of law, intertwined with reasserting the ‘outsider’ nature of their art. This is argued as not coincidental, but that notions of aesthetics are not only prioritised by the art ‘establishment’, but also supported by law, to the detriment of other forms of aesthetics such as street art and graffiti. As such, street art and graffiti reveals the elixir of property in both the art and legal establishments, coming to pass as a result of violent histories of expropriation through art property and real property. Ultimately, street art and graffiti is argued as a protest against the legal-aesthetic hegemony, the analysis of criminal, real and intellectual property meeting points telling us more about the congenital role of art in law and vice versa than solely explaining the legalities of random acts of illicit expression.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Depositing User: Lucy Finchett-Maddock
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 12:37
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2021 16:34

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update