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New Book on the History of CAA

The Eye, the Hand, the Mind

The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association

Susan Ball, ed., The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association (New York: College Art Association; New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011)

Edited by Susan Ball, executive director emerita, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association surveys the impressive history of the organization from 1911 to the present. The 330-page hardcover book, published jointly by CAA and Rutgers University Press, can be ordered now ($29.95).

CAA was founded with a single stated purpose: “to promote art interests in all divisions of American colleges and universities.” From this humble yet ambitious origin, Ball has organized her book thematically instead of chronologically, with sixteen “purposes” from the CAA By-laws that are covered in twelve chapters. Written by artists and scholars who have worked closely with the organization over the last few decades, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind offers not a comprehensive history but rather a presentation of memorable highlights that tells the complex, contentious story of a venerable organization.

The Eye, the Hand, the Mind reviews familiar aspects of CAA. Craig Houser negotiates the long history of CAA’s dynamic publications program, which began in 1913 with the first issue of The Art Bulletin, and Julia A. Sienkewicz chronicles the evolution of the celebrated Annual Conference. Less known is CAA’s traveling-exhibition program in the 1930s, uncovered by Cristin Tierney. More recently, Ellen K. Levy explores how CAA has similarly supported presentations of artwork by its members, both students and professionals. Other authors investigate myriad other topics: developments in pedagogy and curriculum; political involvements and advocacy work; visual resources, libraries, and issues of copyright; professional support and career development; partnerships with museums and their associations; relationships to other learned societies in the humanities; governance structure and diversity matters; and much more. In the conclusion, Paul B. Jaskot anticipates the future of the organization as it enters its next one hundred years.

Susan Ball

Susan Ball (photograph by John Brigham)

Ball, who served as CAA executive director from 1986 to 2006, is now director of programs at the New York Foundation for the Arts. In addition to organizing the book project, she wrote the introduction and contributed a chapter on the founding of CAA, administrative and financial matters, and the organization’s larger role in the visual arts.

The renowned artist Faith Ringgold has generously allowed the use of a working print of The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles (1996), for the book’s cover. She created the six-color lithograph, published by the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper (now the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions), as a benefit print supporting CAA’s Professional Development Fellowship Program. Ringgold will be honored this year with CAA’s Distinguished Feminist Award.

Table of Contents

Below is a list of the fifteen authors and their chapter titles:

  • Susan Ball, “Introduction”
  • Steven C. Wheatley, “The Learned Society Enterprise”
  • Susan Ball, “The Beginnings: “Art for higher education, and higher education for Artists”
  • Cristin Tierney, “A Stimulating Prospect: CAA’s Traveling Exhibition Program, 1929–1937”
  • Barry Pritzker, “Cooperative Relationships with Museums”
  • Craig Houser, “The Changing Face of Scholarly Publishing: CAA’s Publications Program”
  • Julia A. Sienkewicz, “United the Arts and the Academy: A History of the CAA Annual Conference”
  • Ofelia Garcia, “Mentoring the Profession: Career Development and Support”
  • Ellen K. Levy, “Art in an Academic Setting: Contemporary CAA Exhibitions”
  • Matthew Israel, “CAA, Pedagogy and Curriculum: A Historical Effect, an Unparalleled Wealth of Ideas”
  • Christine L. Sundt, “Visual Resources for the Arts”
  • Judith K. Brodsky, Mary D. Garrard, and Ferris Olin, “Governance and Diversity”
  • Karen J. Leader, “CAA Advocacy: The Nexus of Art and Politics”
  • Paul B. Jaskot, “Conclusion: The Next 100 Years”

The book also includes four appendices that list CAA’s sixteen purposes, past presidents of the Board of Directors, volunteer and staff administrators, and the editors from the publications program.

Centennial Interviews

In conjunction with the publication of The Eye, the Hand, the Mind, CAA has been conducting short email interviews with the many contributors to give an overview of the book’s diverse components. The artist Ellen K. Levy and the art historian Matthew Israel have participated thus far, with additional interviews to be published later in the spring and summer of CAA’s Centennial year.

Published on January 7, 2011; updated on March 4 and April 27, 2011.

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