Persona Ficta

Hessel Museum of Art, March 24 – May 26, 2013

Artists:  Tania Bruguera & Jota Castro, Kristin Lucas, Dread Scott, and Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento

Persona Ficta presents performances that inhabit formal spaces of law as vehicles for poetic political action, riddling the occupational divides between art and legal practice.

A legal person, or persona ficta, is by definition a proxy, a representational “vehicle” charged with powers to act. In the institutional domains of art and law, the document masquerades as the artist. Taking up this elusive designation of personhood, the exhibition instigates a more nuanced perception of art as immanent threat to power.

Interventions into the space of law, both symbolic and real, allow artists expanded political agency. With gestures ranging from parody to protest, Kristin Lucas, Tania Bruguera, and Dread Scott alter perceptions of what it means to perform by exploiting courtroom procedures and documents. A legal name change allows for self-transformation and plants possible loopholes in the system. A partnership agreement tests the limits of future creative license. A tactical public spectacle leads to both a summons and institutional support for free expression. Adjacent to the exhibition, arts lawyer Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento will perform legal consultations.

These challenges to legal definitions of personhood, partnership, and institutional practice encourage us to reconsider the conditions of performance art in the exhibition space, a civic forum with its own codes and possibilities. Procedure is performative. Bureaucracy is rendered otherwise.

Curated by Cora Fisher 

Refresh Cold Reads, Kristin Lucas
Live performance with audience participation
Saturday, April 20, 2013 3-4 pm
Gallery 6 Hessel Museum of Art (Persona Ficta)

Performing Legal Consultations, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento
Sarmiento will perform free half-hour long legal consultations for artists.
Saturday, April 20, 2013 1-5pm CCS Library (Collaborative Study Room)
To Register email


Tania Bruguera is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in behavior art, performance, installation, and video. She has exhibited and performed internationally in several biennales including Sao Paolo (1996), Johannesburg (1997), Shanghai (2004), and Havana (2000), Venice (2009), Documenta 11 and in museums and galleries including: The New Museum of Contemporary Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago; Boijmans van Beuningen Museum; Museum für Moderne Kunst; Helsinki Art Museum, Whitechapel Art Gallery; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; Kunsthalle Wien (Austria); Stedjlick Museum von Actuele Kunst (Belgium); Museo X-Teresa Arte Actual (Mexico); Museo de Bellas Artes (Venezuela) and The Institute of International Visual Art (England.) In 1998 she was selected as a Guggenheim fellow. In 2000 she received the Prince Claus Prize (The Netherlands). She received MFAs from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (United States) and Instituto Superior de Arte (Cuba). She is the founder / director of Arte de Conducta, the first performance studies program in Latin America, hosted by Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and is faculty at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, she is carrying out a long-term art project, Immigrant Movement International, presented by Creative Time and the Queens Museum of Art, in which she spends a year operating a community space in the multinational and transnational neighborhood of Corona, Queens.

Jota Castro is a Peruvian artist, living in Brussels. He uses photography, sculpture, video and installations to address social issues. At the end of the 1990s he retired from his work as a diplomat at the European Union and the United Nations to devote himself fully to his activities as an artist and curator. Castro has curated exhibitions including The Fear Society / Pabellón de la Urgencia for the 2009 Venice Biennale and more recently, Dublin Contemporary 2011. He is consulting editor for Janus magazine in Belgium and Nolens Volens in Spain, and a teacher at the European University of Madrid. His work has been extensively exhibited around the world. He has participated in the YEAR Venice, YEAR Tirana, YEAR Prague and YEAR Gwangju Biennales. He won the Gwangju Biennale prize in 2004.

Bruguera and Castro’s collaboration, “The Marseilles Agreement,” is a legal contract that activates performance in the fullest sense of the word, intersecting art and law, life and death in one collaborative gesture: the partnership agreement. The work is ongoing.

Kristin Lucas is a multidisciplinary artist whose work investigates uncanny overlaps of virtual and lived realities, and the physical and psychological effects of technologies on perception of time and space, behavior, and identity. Her video, installation, networked performance, intervention, augmented reality, and hybrid media works have been exhibited internationally and are represented by EAI and Postmasters in New York. Lucas earned her BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art and her MFA from Stanford University’s Art Practice Program. She has participated in residency programs at The Experimental Television Center, Harvestworks, Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program, PS.1, ARCUS, Pacific Film Archive, ACC Weimar, IEA Alfred, and Eyebeam. She is a faculty member of the Studio Arts Program at Bard College. She is a 2013 Eyebeam Resident.

For Persona Ficta, Lucas has designed a commissioned installation, evocative of courtrooms and state archives, designed to support documents and accommodate performance events. Her courtroom intervention, Refresh and the live performance reading of the transcripts between her and the presiding judge, Refresh Cold Read work across legal, digital, and museum platforms. The installation and live event activates an iterative and durational experience of this long-term project.

Refresh Cold Reads will be performed in Gallery 6 (Persona Ficta) on April 20th, 2013 from 3-4 pm.

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento is a practicing art and entertainment lawyer and contemporary artist, interested in the relationship between contemporary art and law, with a primary focus on copyright, moral rights, free speech, deaccessioning, and nonprofit arts organizations. Sarmiento is a member of the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association. From 2006 to 2012, he was Director of Education and Associate Director for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in New York City. He has recently worked on an important appeal under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 on behalf of the Swiss installation artist Christoph Büchel in the artist’s highly publicized dispute with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. He has co-written amicus briefs for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court regarding another high-profile moral rights case, Chapman Kelley vs. Chicago Park District, in support of artist Chapman Kelley. He currently teaches Contemporary Art and Law at Fordham Law School and has published essays and projects in Capital Art: On the Culture of Punishment (catalogue essay, US), Cabinet Magazine (US), Law Text Culture (Australia), Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, among others. In 2010, Sarmiento founded the VLA Art & Law Residency, the first residency of its kind, as well as the Law School for Visual Artists.

His art projects have been shown in international exhibitions, including Mexico, Germany, and Spain, and nationally in Dallas, New York City, and Los Angeles. A selection of his art projects may be viewed on‘s Projects page.

Confounding the occupational divides between art and legal practices, in Persona Ficta, Sarmiento will perform free, one-on-one legal consultations for artists, effectively bringing his office and practice to CCS Bard (located in the Library’ Collaborative Study Room).

To sign up for a legal consultation On April 20th from 1-5 pm, or to get on the waiting list email:

Documentation of these two projects appears in the exhibition catalogue, less like an object more like the weather available at CCS Bard.

Dread Scott is a self-proclaimed revolutionary artist who works in a range of media including installation, photography, screenprinting, video, performance and painting. He first received national attention in 1989 when his art became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag. President G. H.W. Bush declared his artwork, What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag? “disgraceful.” The entire US Senate denounced this work as they passed legislation to “protect the flag.” To oppose this law and other efforts that would effectively make patriotism compulsory, he, along with three other protesters, burned flags on the steps of the US Capitol. This resulted in a Supreme Court case and a landmark First Amendment decision. The 2006 Whitney Biennial included his art in the Down by Law section and his work was also included in recent exhibitions at PS1/MoMA, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and the DeBeyerd Center for Contemporary Art in the Netherlands. In 2008, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts presented Dread Scott: Welcome to America. Cristin Tierney and Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York have exhibited recent work and his public sculptures have been installed at Logan Square in Philadelphia and Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. He has been awarded a Mid Atlantic/NEA Regional Fellowship in Photography, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture (2001) and Fellowship in Performance Art/Multi-disciplinary Art (2005), and a Creative Capital Foundation grant. His work is currently being shown at the CAM in Houston as part of the exhibition, Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art.

Persona Ficta includes video documentation and archival materials surrounding legal conflicts around his performance, “Money To Burn,” a work supported by the Franklin Furnace.

To view the video:

For more information on Franklin Furnace:

Special thanks to Franklin Furnace



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