Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento

Adjunct Professor of Law

Telephone: 347-763-2023

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento is a art lawyer and artist interested in the relationship between contemporary art and law.

From 2006 to 2012, Sarmiento was Director of Education and Associate Director for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in New York City, where he advised and represented visual and performing artists and arts organizations.

His legal experience includes advising visual and performing artists, private foundations, public charities, and non-profit arts organizations on matters involving intellectual property (copyright, trademark, rights of publicity) and fair use/appropriation analysis, negotiating and drafting complex contractual agreements and business structuring, public art commissions, artist residencies, authentication disputes, moral rights claims, free speech controversies, and artist-gallery disputes.

He has negotiated authentication disputes with two major auction houses as well as settling numerous disputes between artists and galleries. Sarmiento has also 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, and have 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.

Sarmiento has taught in a number of universities and art schools, including NYU, Harvard University, the University of Southern California, University of California-Irvine, Occidental College, CalArts, Hofstra University, and Brooklyn Law School. He has presented talks and participated in panels and symposiums at a number of institutions, including Yale Law School, The Drawing Center, The New York State Bar Association, NYU School of Law, McGill Faculty of Law, Dia:Beacon, Fordham Law School, The International Center of Photography, Pratt Institute, SUNY-New Paltz, The Bronx Museum, The Yale School of Management, The School of Visual Arts, The Vera List Center for Arts and Politics at The New School, Creative Capital, Columbia University School of the Arts, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Parsons The New School for Design, the El Paso Museum of Art, The El Paso Bar Association and Federal Bar, Columbia Law School, Cornell Law School, Harvard University, and the Centre Sociologie de l’Innovation, Ecole des Mines de Paris. He was a mentor with the Kennedy Center’s Arts in Crisis program in 2009-2010. From 2008 to 2010, Sarmiento served as a New York State Council on the Arts panelist for state and local partnerships.

His art projects have been shown in international exhibitions, including Mexico, Germany, and Spain, and nationally in Dallas, New York City, and Los Angeles, and he has published essays, projects and commentaries in The New York Times, Five Continents and One City Exhibition (catalogue essay, Mexico), Capital Art: On the Culture of Punishment (catalogue essay, US), Cabinet Magazine (US), Law Text Culture (Australia), Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, and Art Asia Pacific (Asia, The Pacific, Middle East), Texas A&M Law Review, Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, and Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal.

He also maintains an art and law website, available at, and a website on deaccessioning, The Deaccessioning Blog.


  • University of Texas – El Paso, B.A., Art, 1995
  • California Institute of the Arts , M.F.A., Art, 1997. Philip Morris Fellow
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, Independent Study Program, 1998. Van Lier Fellow
  • Cornell Law School, J.D., 2006

Professional Affiliations


  • Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court


  • Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association
  • The Nietzsche Circle, Advisory Board
  • The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, Advisory Board
  • Denniston Hill Artist Residency, Advisory Board