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Olivia Locher's "I Fought the Law" project is a humorous and thought-provoking series of 50 photographs, each intentionally violating an absurd U.S. state law. The project challenges viewers to consider the hundreds of decisions made by local and state lawmakers each year and to question who decides what is considered decent and how these standards are enforced. It was first introduced in Locher's New York solo exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery in 2017, alongside the launch of her monograph, "Olivia Locher: I Fought the Law".

Some of the laws that Locher chose to break are particularly obscure, ranging from outdated historical laws to total headscratchers. For example, in California, riding bikes in swimming pools is illegal, and in Kansas, wine cannot be served in teacups. Other laws, while weird, have historical context and are simply outdated. For instance, in Alabama, it is illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket, as this was an ingenious way for horse thieves to steal horses. If you are curious which are the other principles Olivia included in her work, follow the list of images we prepared for you.

More info: olivialocher.com | Instagram | twitter.com

#1

In California, Nobody Is Allowed To Ride A Bicycle In A Swimming Pool

In California, Nobody Is Allowed To Ride A Bicycle In A Swimming Pool

Olivia Locher Report

Bored Panda reached out to Olivia Locher to find out more about the series “I Fought the Law”. We wanted to know about the process of researching all the obscure laws she decided to choose for her book. The artist said: “I found a good amount of the laws from old books published by Scholastic in the '70s, I found others on websites dedicated to the subject. Next, I worked with a fact checker to try to find the origins and history. A lot of these laws stay on the books simply because the process of removing them takes a lot of effort and money.”

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#2

In Ohio It’s Illegal To Disrobe In Front Of A Man’s Portrait

In Ohio It’s Illegal To Disrobe In Front Of A Man’s Portrait

Olivia Locher Report

#3

In Pennsylvania, It’s Illegal To Tie A Dollar Bill To A String And Pull It Away When Someone Tries To Pick It Up

In Pennsylvania, It’s Illegal To Tie A Dollar Bill To A String And Pull It Away When Someone Tries To Pick It Up

Olivia Locher Report

We were wondering which one of the laws from the series turned out to be Olivia’s favorite in terms of creating a photograph for it. Locher told us: “The ice cream photo has become my favorite because it seems to represent the whole project very well! The photo represents how it’s illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket in Alabama.”

#4

In Alabama, It's Illegal To Have An Ice Cream Cone In Your Back Pocket

In Alabama, It's Illegal To Have An Ice Cream Cone In Your Back Pocket

Olivia Locher Report

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#5

In Wisconsin, It Is Illegal To Serve Apple Pie In Public Restaurants Without Cheese

In Wisconsin, It Is Illegal To Serve Apple Pie In Public Restaurants Without Cheese

Olivia Locher Report

Asked about what this series says about American culture and society, particularly in relation to laws and social conventions, Olivia said: “All these little laws sometimes can add up to big expenses in the wrong place and time. Absurd laws can become a very effective tool of political agendas. The ones I explored might be more comical, but they allude to the slipperiness of the legal system, which sometimes does warrant fighting.”

#7

In Michigan, It's Illegal To Paint Sparrows To Sell Them As Parakeets

In Michigan, It's Illegal To Paint Sparrows To Sell Them As Parakeets

Olivia Locher Report

We were curious what was the public response to this series. Also, we asked if the photographer received any feedback from lawmakers or legal authorities. Olivia told us: “I am always so touched anytime someone lets me know they enjoyed the project. It’s always such an honor when people send me a photo of the book in a store they love or in their homes. I hope people will continue to have their own adventures with the work. I always enjoy it when lawyers reach out to let me know the book lives on their coffee table. A few law firms have even bought prints of the work, so I’m happy it has touched people who deal with this subject matter day after day.”

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#9

In Connecticut Pickles Must Bounce To Pass Inspection

In Connecticut Pickles Must Bounce To Pass Inspection

Olivia Locher Report

The series "I Fought The Law" was formally released in 2017, and as a considerable amount of time has elapsed, we were curious if the author is aware of any modifications to the laws featured in it since then. Olivia said: “In NYC there was a law that banned dancing link, it was repealed in 2017. My friend, the former councilmember Rafael Espinal, introduced the bill to repeal it. It's not unlike New Hampshire’s photograph in my book: 'In New Hampshire, you can't tap your foot to keep time to music' — they were both created for the same reasons; it’s a cabaret law. These laws require nightclubs and bars to have a specific license if they intend to host three or more people dancing at the same time. In NYC this law has been in effect since 1926. Law enforcement often utilized this law if they wanted to shut a place down. It was a big win for NYC when that law was revoked.”

#10

In Missouri, It’s Illegal To Deface A Milk Carton

In Missouri, It’s Illegal To Deface A Milk Carton

Olivia Locher Report

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#11

In Arkansas, It’s Illegal To Kill Or Preserve Any Living Creature Without A License

In Arkansas, It’s Illegal To Kill Or Preserve Any Living Creature Without A License

Olivia Locher Report

We asked Olivia about some future plans and projects she is going to work on. We also wanted to find out if she is going to continue exploring themes related to politics and social commentary in her work. Locher told us: “I have been working on a long-term project since 2012 called How To. It is a collection of over 150 photographs that chronicles misguided attempts at human achievement, inspired by how instructions could be easily lost in translation, resulting in a new form of success or failure for the model. I began staging these photographs in my studio during my senior year at SVA. This project has and continues to serve as my creative diary for the past decade. I am hoping to eventually compile this work into a second book, the work largely comments on politics and social commentary. I also am about to start a new portraiture project using kids as models.”

#12

In Rhode Island, It Is Illegal To Wear Transparent Clothing

In Rhode Island, It Is Illegal To Wear Transparent Clothing

Olivia Locher Report

#13

In Nebraska, It’s Illegal For A Parent To Perm Their Child’s Hair Without A State License

In Nebraska, It’s Illegal For A Parent To Perm Their Child’s Hair Without A State License

Olivia Locher Report

#14

In Nevada, It's Illegal To Put An American Flag On A Bar Of Soap

In Nevada, It's Illegal To Put An American Flag On A Bar Of Soap

Olivia Locher Report

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brianleahy avatar
Brian Leahy
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm guessing the law actually refers to "printing" or otherwise attaching a flag directly to the soap, rather than using a little "flagpole" like this. Why? Maybe because using the soap... defaces/disrespects the flag?

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#15

In Kansas, It’s Illegal To Serve Wine In Teacups

In Kansas, It’s Illegal To Serve Wine In Teacups

Olivia Locher Report

#16

In Maine, It’s Unlawful To Tickle Women Under The Chin With A Feather Duster

In Maine, It’s Unlawful To Tickle Women Under The Chin With A Feather Duster

Olivia Locher Report

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sofacushionfort avatar
sofacushionfort
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Kinky vs perverted: kinky is when you use a feather: perverted is when you use the whole chicken

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#17

In Louisiana, It’s Illegal To Gargle In Public

In Louisiana, It’s Illegal To Gargle In Public

Olivia Locher Report

#18

In Oregon, One May Not Test Their Physical Endurance While Driving A Car On The Highway

In Oregon, One May Not Test Their Physical Endurance While Driving A Car On The Highway

Olivia Locher Report

#19

In Texas, It Is Illegal For Children To Have Unusual Haircuts

In Texas, It Is Illegal For Children To Have Unusual Haircuts

Olivia Locher Report

#20

In Utah, No One May Walk Down The Street Carrying A Paper Bag Containing A Violin

In Utah, No One May Walk Down The Street Carrying A Paper Bag Containing A Violin

Olivia Locher Report

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rosebona avatar
athornedrose
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

that is unacceptably specific. was the devil smuggling them in from georgia?

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#21

In Tennessee, Hollow Logs May Not Be Sold

In Tennessee, Hollow Logs May Not Be Sold

Olivia Locher Report

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david2074 avatar
David
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I wonder if this is in part about pest control. It would obviously also affect how much wood you got in a cord of firewood but in general logs that are hollow are from trees with serious health conditions like termites / carpenter ants.

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#22

In Hawaii, Coins Are Not Allowed To Be Placed In Ones Ears

In Hawaii, Coins Are Not Allowed To Be Placed In Ones Ears

Olivia Locher Report

#23

In Delaware, It’s Illegal To Wear Pants That Are “Form-Fitting”around The Waist

In Delaware, It’s Illegal To Wear Pants That Are “Form-Fitting”around The Waist

Olivia Locher Report

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