Artists' Legal Rights Sessions: Gallery Representation and Consignment

Artists’ Legal Rights Sessions

From copyright to consignment agreements, an artist’s practice can often feel fraught with pitfalls not covered at art school. At the beginning of June 2020, Block 336 started a series of interactive talks on artists’ legal rights, designed to explore some of the recurring themes in this area through the lens of how they affect artists. Organised by intellectual property lawyer and Block 336 board member Jon Sharples, the sessions bring together artists as well as arts and legal professionals to discuss copyright, artists’ contracts, artists’ estates and more. Alongside these talks, Block 336 is also collating information about available resources, advice clinics and law firms with pro bono offerings. Originally intended to be hosted at the gallery, the series is now being presented via Zoom.

Session 4: Gallery Representation and Consignment

Thursday 18th February 2021, 7 – 8.30pm 

Chaired by Jon Sharples

The fourth session in the series looked at artists’ relationships with galleries and asked whether artists have to sign whatever terms are put in front of them, what’s reasonable in a consignment arrangement, and whether the traditional model of exclusive gallery representation has had its day. The session brought together artist Alvaro Barrington, gallerist Sadie Coles and lawyer Fionnuala Rogers.

Alvaro Barrington is an artist living and working in London, having been raised between the Caribbean and New York. His practice explores interconnected histories of cultural production. Since graduating from the MFA Painting course at the Slade in 2017, Alvaro has had solo shows in London with Emalin, Thaddaeus Ropac, Sadie Coles and Corvi-Mora, as well as at MoMA PS1 in New York. Alvaro has also launched the GARVEY! publication, referencing Jamaican-born political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur Marcus Garvey, as well as his artist website.

Sadie Coles founded the eponymous Sadie Coles HQ gallery in London in 1997. Sadie Coles HQ presents the work of established and emerging international artists, across two spaces in London’s West End.

Fionnuala Rogers is a leading expert in the field of Art & Cultural Property Law and recently founded Canvas Art Law, a specialist art law firm aiming to make expert legal advice accessible to a wider range of artists, galleries, art businesses and heritage professionals.

Jon Sharples is an art and intellectual property lawyer, currently consulting for both Simmons & Simmons and Canvas Art Law. Jon also oversees operations at the Poetry School and is a trustee of Block 336.

Unfortunately, due to technical issues, the quality of the main recording was compromised. We apologise for this but hope that you still enjoy it.

Block 336 thanks Arts Council England, London Community Response Fund, Canvas Art Law and Brixton Brewery for their kind support.