The Decommission of I See Red: A case study in the relations between art and law

Lee Harrop, Nicolas Bullot

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter analyses the decommission of a work of public art entitled I See Red and expands this case study into a discussion of the just approach to works threatened by contested interpretations and decommission. The case of I See Red raises what the authors term ‘the Decommission Problem’: what is the normative approach that ought to guide our decision-making about the decommission of a contested artwork? I See Red was commissioned in 2015 to this chapter’s first author by the City of Perth, Western Australia. The artistic concept of this work was to install a red neon sculpture with the words ‘Sacred Scared Scarred’ on the Old Court House Law Museum. However, the judiciary of the Supreme Court of Western Australia expressed the opinion that the application of the words ‘scared’ and ‘scarred’ to a building so long associated with the administration of justice was ‘entirely inappropriate’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Research Handbook on Art and Law
EditorsJani McCutcheon, Fiona McGaughey
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781788971478
ISBN (Print)9781788971461
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Editors and Contributors Severally 2020. All rights reserved.


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