On Art and Law

Boston College Law School Magazine (Forthcoming, January 2022)

2 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2021

Date Written: December 19, 2021


In office hours, a student always gets my attention when mentioning an arts background. For such a student, I always pose the same question: how do you reconcile your legal and artistic sides?

I ask because I have not resolved this question. I am now a full-time law professor, but I have always been deeply passionate about the arts: the plays of Aeschylus and Shakespeare, the prose of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and George Eliot, the music of Beethoven and The Beatles, or the films of Wong Kar-Wai and Denis Villeneuve. I play guitar and piano, and I sing. And I even dabble a bit in artistic creation: for example, during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, I took online songwriting classes at Berklee College of Music. I’ve since written dozens of original songs.

And yet, this artistic engagement often feels remote from my legal pursuits. At worst, they seem wildly contrasting. Whereas the greatest art appeals to our common humanity, law often focuses on technical argumentation and dispute resolution. In the face of art’s poetic beauty, law can feel decidedly prosaic.

Keywords: Art, Law, Beauty, Transcendence, Creation

Suggested Citation

Koh, Steven Arrigg, On Art and Law (December 19, 2021). Boston College Law School Magazine (Forthcoming, January 2022), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3989171

Steven Arrigg Koh (Contact Author)

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.bu.edu/law/profile/steven-koh/

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