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Artists and Lawyers

Louise Bourgeois was a brilliant sculptor. I first became acquainted and fascinated with her work when I saw one of her titanic spider sculptures at the Tate Modern in London many years ago. She intermingled aspects of her personal story (and that of her family) quite closely in her art.

Over this past weekend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I read Louise Bourgeois’ quite wonderful, insightful, and funny collection of writings and interviews, “Destruction of the Father/Reconstruction of the Father” (MIT Press 1998). In that book I came across the following passage from her 1990 MacDowell Medal Acceptance Speech, which did get my attention:

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Artists, Lawyers, and Specialness

The American Bar Association publication Landslide asked several lawyers to write about aspects of representing clients in the arts. My contribution (below) is in the January-Februrary 2013 issue.

Artists have one thing that many others don’t have: What they do, how they think, and what they create is imbued with creativity and specialness. For example, bankers won’t keep on banking without a payout, but devoted musicians and painters work all the time in basements, garages, and clubs. How do we reconcile this intrinsic specialness with business and law in a highly practical way where money might not always be everything?

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