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CAA News

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Regulating Art That Offends

Almost three months after a racially charged art project stirred controversy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, administrators, faculty members, and students are still deliberating whether to adopt guidelines for public art on campus. At the root of the debate is a series of signs reading “White Only” and “Black Only” that appeared mysteriously and suddenly around campus in September, eliciting fear and shock from students. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Permission to Fail

An artist girlfriend and I used to go to galleries and see shows together. Sometimes when she looked at a piece she would say, “Oh, that’s something I did in art school.” After a while it dawned on me that much of what she dismissed as student exercises—gambits she figured she’d outgrown—were things I liked. I started to think that she had inadvertently taught me, if not a definition of good art, then at least a kind of rule of thumb for identifying it in the field. (Read more from the Nation.)

Free and Easy? DIY Universities

Scholars dissatisfied with their university administrations might ponder the case of the American Marxist academic Allen Krebs, who cofounded two “free universities” on opposite sides of the Atlantic. In 1965, after a falling-out with Adelphi University, where he was assistant professor of sociology, Krebs helped open the Free University of New York, one of the most successful of the first wave of free universities that swept across North America and Western Europe in the 1960s. (Read more from Times Higher Education.)

A Body of Work

I once gave a lecture on Jack Goldstein, an artist synonymous with the Pictures Generation and postmodernism. Others also associate him with romantic failure, with his “disappearance” from the art world in the 1990s and his suicide in 2003. After the talk concluded, an art historian I respect asked me if I thought Goldstein was “a great artist.” I was caught off guard and fumbled for a response. Eventually, I said with some hesitation, “I don’t know.” (Read more from the Brooklyn Rail.)

Our Designers Talk Book Covers

Don’t judge a book by its cover,” the popular adage goes. But, as humans, we often do just that. In this week’s blog post, as part of our 2015 AAUP blog tour, our book designers (Nancy Ovedovitz, design director; James Johnson, senior designer; Sonia Shannon, senior designer; and Mary Valencia, senior designer) discuss the design and creation of book covers. (Read more from Yale Books Unbound.)

Turning a Big-Box Store into an Artist’s Playground

Upon entering a big-box department store, many shoppers fall into a zombielike trance, focusing only on what they need to purchase. Carson Davis Brown felt a bit like that while in the automotive aisle of a Meijer store in Michigan. He was texting with a friend when he suddenly looked down the aisle. “I noticed everything was yellow,” he said. “I did a double take.” (Read more from Slate.)

What If I’ve Never Taught Solo?

I’m always dismayed to hear about departments that don’t let graduate students teach, because the experience of running your own class is an essential element of a competitive record. Sure it’s possible to get a tenure-track job without that experience but it is much, much harder. (Read more from Vitae.)

Going Rogue: Authenticating Warhol after the Board’s Disbanding

This month Richard Polsky launched a Warhol authentication service. It’s a task that is both necessary and risky, given the lengthy, and very costly, legal battles the artist’s prolific output has sparked over the years. After a series of suits resulted in a reported $7 million in legal fees, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which manages the artist’s estate, dissolved the board in 2012. (Read more from Blouin Artinfo.)

Filed under: CAA News

CAA is pleased to announce six 2015 recipients of the annual Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, established in 2005. Thanks to a generous grant from the Wyeth Foundation, these awards are given annually to publishers to support the publication of one or more book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of American art, visual studies, and related subjects. For this grant program, “American art” is defined as art created in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The six grantees for 2015 are:

  • Anastasia Aukeman, Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association, University of California Press
  • Mary Campbell, Civil Saints: Polygamy, Pornography, and Mormon Citizenship in the Work of Charles Ellis Johnson, University of Chicago Press
  • Dale Allen Gyure, Serenity and Delight: The Architecture of Minoru Yamasaki, Yale University Press
  • Jessica Horton, Places to Stand: Native American Modernisms on an Undivided Earth, Duke University Press
  • Rebecca Peabody, Consuming Stories: Kara Walker and the Imagining of American Race, University of California Press
  • Nizan Shaked, The Synthetic Proposition: Conceptualism and the Political Referent in Contemporary Art, Manchester University Press

Eligible for the grant are book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of American art, visual studies, and related subjects that have been accepted by a publisher on their merits but cannot be published in the most desirable form without a subsidy. Authors must be current CAA members. Please review the application guidelines for more information.

What’s All This about Trigger Warnings?

posted by Linda Downs

Survey reveals a complex picture: threats to academic freedom are not just about “political correctness.”

If the headlines are correct, college students everywhere are demanding professors provide so-called “trigger warnings” to flag material that might make them feel uncomfortable, and in some cases to allow students to avoid the material. If this is happening widely, the free speech implications are enormous: A broad range of works, from a documentary about sexual assault to an historical account of slavery, could be considered “triggering,” along with the possibility that many professors would steer clear of potentially controversial work.

But how prevalent are these demands? Is a resurgent tide of political correctness threatening higher education, or are the media jumping to conclusions?

To shed some light, NCAC worked with the Modern Language Association and the College Art Association this spring on an online survey of their members. While the survey is not scientific, the over 800 responses we received offer a birds’ eye view of the debate over trigger warnings, and the pressures on instructors.

The survey finds that formal university trigger policies are extremely rare: Less than one percent of respondents say their schools have them. But there is abundant anecdotal evidence suggesting that something is going on. It appears to be a bottom-up phenomenon: Students make complaints to individual professors or administrators, and instructors—many of whom are reasonably nervous about job security. As one survey respondent put it, “After teaching a course for the first time, a student complained in the anonymous evaluation. Ever since, I verbally include a trigger warning at the start of each semester.”

Fifteen percent of respondents reported that students had requested trigger warnings in their courses, while over half reported that they had voluntarily provided warnings for course materials, with 23 percent saying they have offered them “several times” or “regularly.”

So who is doing the complaining? In much of the media commentary, the focus is on left-leaning students using trigger warnings to chill speech they find offensive. One widely-read essay on the subject was titled, “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me.” While this is certainly happening, and many respondents reported sensitivities to content depicting rape and sexual assault, the survey paints a more complex picture. Contrary to conventional thinking, warnings are sought by both conservative and liberal students. “I used trigger warnings to warn about foul or sexual language, sexual content, or violence in order to allow our very conservative students to feel more in control of the material,” wrote one instructor. Another teacher was aware of “religious objections to nude models in studio courses” and “homoerotic content in art history.” Another teacher noted the use of trigger warnings “because some students were upset by the realization that certain artists were homosexuals.”

Another common theme is that it is impossible “to be able to predict which topics will be problematic for students, or will ‘trigger’ a response.” “I’ve had students want pretty detailed and specific trigger warnings for, well, everything…,” including violent imagery in a horror film class. Reported complaints concern spiders, indigenous artifacts, “fatphobia,” and more.

Many respondents draw a distinction between “trigger warnings” and course or content descriptions. The latter are widely accepted as ways to convey information about the scope, substance and requirements of a given course. As many instructors have pointed out, offering students information about course materials does not necessarily flag content as disturbing or offensive, or offer students an opportunity to avoid it, but simply provides an explanation about what material will be taught.

The strongest findings in the survey are that instructors believe that trigger warnings, if widely used, would threaten academic freedom and inquiry. Nearly half of respondents (45 percent) think trigger warnings have or will have a negative effect on classroom dynamics; on the broader question of academic freedom, 62 percent see a possible negative effect.

Those who oppose warnings say they reinforce taboos, infantilize students, “tend to impede conversation,” “stifle meaningful discussion,” and send a message to students “about what it’s ok for them to get upset about.” In contrast, supporters say they build trust and “create a positive classroom environment,” show respect for the “individual needs of students,” create “a positive and safe space for dialogue,” prepare students “to engage with the material in meaningful ways,” and prevent them from feeling “blindsided.”

The survey revealed that many instructors are deeply concerned about their students’ wellbeing, and how best to fulfill the mission of higher education. And the demand for trigger warnings may reflect a desire by students to be more engaged in their education and their communities, which has positive aspects. However, the trick is to ensure that such an interest is not expressed in ways that preclude discussion, debate, and even disagreement.

Reprinted from Censorship News, No. 123 (Fall 2015), National Coalition Against Censorship

Filed under: First Amendment, Students, Teaching

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Internationalization and Tenure

Should universities incorporate internationally focused criteria in their tenure and promotion policies? A majority of institutions (52 percent) have identified internationalization as one of their top five strategic priorities, but only a minority (8 percent) report having guidelines in place specifying international work or experience as a consideration in faculty tenure and promotion decisions. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

“This Is a Genocide”: Art Historian Zainab Bahrani on ISIS’s Destruction of Cultural Heritage

Last year, news outlets began reporting that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria had begun bombing and bulldozing cultural-heritage sites and artifacts, some dating back to ancient times. A few weeks ago, I sat down with Zainab Bahrani, Edith Porada Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology at Columbia University and director of Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments, to ask about her perspective on the matter. (Read more from ARTnews.)

Online Arts Publishing: A Roundtable with Artnet News, Momus, and Temporary Art Review

Everything about publishing is changing, including art criticism and news. What sort of art coverage we consume, how we consume it, and on what devices is rapidly and constantly evolving. If art magazines are dead, then what is taking their place—and why? (Read more from Temporary Art Review.)

Unseen Art Is Crowdfunding an Open-Source Platform to Make Fine Art Accessible via 3D Printing

Making art more accessible to blind and visually impaired people is Unseen Art’s founder Marc Dillon’s new mission. After almost a quarter century working in the mobile industry, he says it’s time to give back. “I’ve been in mobile for twenty-five years nearly and I wanted to do something that gives back to people,” Dillon said. “I wanted to find a place where I could basically find a community that had a need and give back to that, with the experience that I have.” (Read more from TechCrunch.)

Using SmartHistory to Generate Good Conversations in the Art-History Survey

I had been aware of Smarthistory for years, occasionally assigning videos as supplemental readings and directing students to its content. But following their use of the Khan Academy platform in 2011, the site’s content expanded exponentially. Suddenly, there were enough videos on diverse topics that I could assign Smarthistory videos for every topic in my syllabus. (Read more from Smarthistory.)

With $170.4 Million Sale at Auction, Modigliani Work Joins Rarefied Nine-Figure Club

In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-twentieth-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold last week for $170.4 million with fees to Liu Yiqian, a former taxi driver turned billionaire art collector, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Why Are Art Galleries White Cubes?

Four white walls and appropriate lighting is the go-to, de facto way of presenting art. But it hasn’t always been that way. The existence of art galleries in general is a relatively new concept in the grand scheme of history. So how did it standardize so quickly? Why is the white cube the “best” place to present art, commercially and institutionally? Will it always be this way? (Read more from Hopes and Fears.)

The Etiquette Minefield of the Interview Meal

As you prepare for the job market you are undoubtedly focusing on your research, polishing your job market paper, and honing your presentation skills. Those absolutely should be your highest priorities. However, when you have time, you should also be sure to brush up on your dining etiquette. It can save you stress and embarrassment later. (Read more from Vitae.)

Filed under: CAA News

CAA is pleased to announce the 2016 recipients of travel support through the CAA-Getty International Program. In an effort to promote greater interaction and exchange among art historians internationally, CAA will bring scholars from around the world to participate in the program, to be held during CAA’s 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, from February 3 to 6, 2016. This is the fifth year of the program, which has been generously funded by the Getty Foundation since its inception. The participants—professors of art history, curators, and artists who teach art history—were selected by a jury of CAA members from a highly competitive group of applicants. In addition to covering travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and per diems, the CAA-Getty International Program includes support for a preconference on international issues in art history, conference registration, and a one-year CAA membership.

Activities for participants in the CAA-Getty International Program will begin with a one-day preconference colloquium on international issues in art history, during which they will meet with North-American–based CAA members to discuss common interests and challenges. Participants will also be assisted throughout the conference by CAA member hosts, who will recommend relevant panel sessions and introduce them to colleagues who share their interests. Members of CAA’s International Committee have agreed to serve as hosts, along with representatives from several affiliated societies of CAA, including the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, the Association for Latin American Art, and the Society of Historians of East European, Eurasia, and Russian Art and Architecture.

This program has increased international participation in CAA’s activities and expanded international networking and the exchange of ideas during and after the conference. The CAA-Getty International Program supplements CAA’s regular program of Annual Conference Travel Grants for graduate students and international artists and scholars. CAA looks forward to welcoming the 2016 recipients at the upcoming Annual Conference in Washington, DC, this February.

2016 CAA-Getty International Program Participants

Sarena Abdullah is a senior lecturer in the School of the Arts at the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, where she teaches art history to undergraduate and graduate students. She received an MA in art history from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, and a PhD in art history from the University of Sydney in Australia. Specializing in contemporary Malaysian and Southeast Asian art, Abdullah is widely published locally and abroad and has presented papers at conferences in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and the United States. She is a field leader for Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, a research project led by the Power Institute Foundation for Art and Culture at the University of Sydney and funded by the Getty Foundation. With two research grants from the Universiti Sains Malaysia,  Abdullah is working on a project called “Theorizing Early Modernism and Cosmopolitanism in Early Twentieth Century Penang by Examining Modern Artistic Works and Print Medium Pertaining to Penang (1826–1942).”




Abiodun Akande studied fine arts at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Nigeria, and received an MA and PhD from the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ibadan, also in Nigeria. His dissertation on “Yoruba Traditional Religious Wood-Carvings in Oyo, Sabe, and Ife” reflects his broader interest in the diffusion history of Yoruba peoples and their material culture across national boundaries. Akande is also interested in recording the effects of diffusion on sociocultural and artistic productivity and the resultant identities and iconologies of this culture group. Akande teaches art history, museology, art education, and painting at the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education in Oyo. In 2013, he participated in the first Basel Summer School in African Studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland; he also attended a graduate symposium hosted by the School of Arts at Peking University in Beijing, China.





María Isabel Baldasarre holds a PhD in art history from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, having earned an undergraduate degree in art history from the same university and a National Professor of Sculpture degree from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón. Baldasarre is currently a researcher at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), an associate professor and coordinator of the master’s degree program in Argentinean and Latin American art history at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín, and a member of the board of the Centro Argentino de Investigadores de Arte. Baldasarre has received scholarships and grants from CONICET, the Antorchas Foundation, the Latin American Studies Association, the Getty Foundation, the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. A specialist in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century European and Argentinean art, art collecting, and the art market, Baldasarre is the author of Los dueños del arte. Coleccionismo y consumo cultural en Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires: Edhasa, 2006).

Danielle Becker is an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. She was previously the head of visual studies at the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography. Her PhD research, in progress at the University of Cape Town, examines how South African art history is framed in art-historical curricula at tertiary institutions, in art-historical writing, and in museum displays. Becker’s interests include art historiography, postcolonial theory, and the framing of African art. Before beginning her doctoral research, she completed a fine-arts degree at Cape Town, worked as the arts coordinator for a nonprofit called South African Education and Environment Project, and completed a master’s degree in art history at the University of Manchester in England. Her forthcoming publications include a book chapter on Instagram in Africa’s Media Image in the Twenty-First Century: From the Heart of Darkness to Africa Rising (forthcoming from Routledge) and an essay, “Locating the Label on the Luggage: Towards a Continued Decolonization of South African Visual Culture.” (forthcoming from Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture.)



Bùi Thị Thanh Mai is a lecturer in art history, theory, and criticism at the Vietnam University of Fine Arts in Hanoi. She is also head of the university’s Department of Academic Research Management and International Relations and a member of the editorial board for the university’s journal, Art Research Magazine. Bùi specializes in the history of Vietnamese art, with a focus on modern and contemporary art; she is also interested in art theory, art education, and curatorial theory and practice. Bùi is working on three concurrent projects: “Optimistic Characterization in Painting in Hanoi in 1945–1990” within the framework of the Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art program; “Art Theory and Criticism in Vietnam: Actual Situations and Solutions of the Effect on the Artistic Life”; and a textbook on Vietnamese art history for the Vietnam University of Fine Arts.





Heloisa Espada received a PhD in art history and art criticism from the School of Communications and Arts at the University of São Paulo in Brazil in 2011. She studies Brazilian art after World War II, with a special focus on geometric abstraction and photography. In 2014 Espada began postdoctoral studies at her university’s Museum of Contemporary Art, where she is researching the origins of Concrete art in the city, supported by a grant from the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, a Brazilian government agency. Espada wrote Hércules Barsotti (São Paulo: Folha de São Paulo, 2013), Geraldo de Barros e a fotografia (São Paulo: Instituto Moreira Salles and Edições SESC, 2014), and Monumentalidade e sombra: o centro cívico de Brasília por Marcel Gautherot (forthcoming from Annablume). Since 2008, she has been the head of visual arts at the Instituto Moreira Salles, where she is also researcher and curator.





Ildikó Gericsné Fehér received an MA and PhD in art history from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. As associate professor in the Department of Art History of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in Budapest, she lectures and leads seminars on Renaissance and Baroque art. She is also a consultant to the university’s Conservation Department. Fehér’s research interests include detached wall paintings from medieval and Renaissance Italy in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest; Florentine art dealers at the end of the nineteenth century; Károly Pulszky’s purchases of paintings in Italy for the museum circa 1890; wall paintings in Umbria from the fourteenth to sixteenth century; self-portraits by Hungarian artists in the Uffizi Gallery; and the works of Jacopo Palma il Giovane.




Peyvand Firouzeh specializes in the art and architecture of the Islamic world, with a focus on Iran, Central Asia, and India in the medieval period. She is particularly interested in interconnections between architecture and power, patronage of art and architecture, cross-cultural exchanges between Iran and India, and museum studies. Firouzeh obtained her BA (2004) and MA (2007) in architecture from the Tehran University of Art in Iran and her MPhil (2011) and PhD (2015) in the history of art and architecture and Asian and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Cambridge in England. She was the acting curator of Islamic collections from Iran, Central Asia, and India at the British Museum in London in 2014–15. Firouzeh is currently a fellow of art histories and aesthetic practices (2015–16) at the Forum Transregionale Studien and Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin, where she is working on a new project, “Depicted Legitimacy: Sufi-Sultan Encounters in the Visual and Textual Cultures of South Asia.”


Lev Maciel graduated from the Medieval Studies Department at Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia in 1998, with an M.A. thesis on fifteenth-century Spanish history. His dissertation on eighteenth-century Siberian architecture earned him a PhD in 2004 from the State Institute for Art History in Moscow. Currently Maciel is an associate professor in the Faculty of Humanities of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, where he supervises the recently created program in art history. He is also a part-time research associate professor at the Institute for Theory and History of Architecture and Town Planning in Moscow. Maciel’s research interests include a wide range of subjects within the history of architecture, including the late Renaissance and Baroque (Russia, southern Italy, Brittany, Spain, and Latin America), late antiquity and Byzantium, the Islamic world, Mongolia and Tibet, and nonmodernist movements in the twentieth century.  


Emmanuel Moutafov is a Byzantinist, art historian, and epigrapher who holds a PhD in world history of the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries from the Institute for Balkan Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia. He has been a visiting research fellow at the Program in Hellenic Studies at Princeton University; a Mellon Foundation fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin; a Mellon Foundation fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem; and a Getty Foundation research fellow in the summer research group Visions of Byzantium in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2013 he became a supervisor of research at the board of directors of the Institute for Art Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and last year was appointed a director of the same institute.

Ceren Özpınar is a lecturer and a scholar of art historiography and the history of art whose research covers feminist temporalities in art historiography and contemporary art in Turkey. She is currently a British Academy Newton International Fellow in the Department of Art History at the University of Sussex (2015-17). Özpınar received a PhD in the history of art from Istanbul Technical University in 2015, with a thesis on the historiography of contemporary art in Turkey. In 2013, she held a one-year position of visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds, for which she was awarded a doctoral research grant by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. She is among the authors of National Art Histories in an Unfinished World (forthcoming from McGill-Queen’s University Press). Özpınar teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in art history, art management, and visual culture.



Horacio Ramos is a Peruvian art historian who specializes in Latin American vanguardism and neovanguardism. He teaches at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima and also works as researcher at Museo de Arte de Lima. Ramos holds a BA in philosophy and an MA in art history from the Universidad Católica. In previous research, he explored the reform of Lima’s main square (or Plaza de Armas) during the first half of the twentieth century, a complex process that involved debates about nationalism, architectural heritage, and modernism. Currently he is focusing on how invasiones (precarious urban settlements at the periphery of Peruvian cities) have been represented in documentary photography and neovanguardist art of the later twentieth century. Since invasiones and abandoned archeological ruins share the deserted landscape of the coast, his investigation seeks to trace the complex interconnections between art, archeology, landscape, and social exclusion.

Olaya Sanfuentes Echeverría earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, a master of arts from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and a PhD in art history from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain. She is a professor at the Institute of History, a part of the Department of History, Geography, and Political Science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Sanfuentes’s current research focuses on devotional practices involving art, especially religious statues used in festivals and rites in honor of the saints and virgins in Andean communities, as well as similar practices related to nativity cribs. More generally, Sanfuentes is interested in practices surrounding visual representations, history, and material culture, and how communities deal with cultural heritage.




Paulo Silveira holds bachelor’s degrees in fine arts (with qualifications in drawing and painting) and in communication studies from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He earned an MA and PhD in visual arts, with an emphasis in art history, theory, and criticism, from the same university. His graduate studies included doctoral research in France at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Silveira is a professor of art history at the Instituto de Artes at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. His research interests include visual arts, with a focus on the formal and contextual study of the artistic process, the intellectual and artistic foundations of contemporary art, intermedia, perception of works of art, aesthetics, rhetoric of artist’s publications, and methodology. Silveira is a member of the Brazilian Committee of Art History and the National Association of Researchers in Fine Arts (serving on its committee for history, theory, and criticism).

Sandra Uskoković is an assistant professor in the Department of Arts and Restoration at the University of Dubrovnik in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Her primary areas of research include architectural theory, modern architecture, urban culture, performance art, and cultural studies and heritage. She received an MA in architectural history and heritage preservation from George Washington University in Washington, DC, and a PhD in historic preservation and architectural history from the University of Zagreb. During 2002–3 Uskoković served as an intern at the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome, Italy, and at the International Committee on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) in Washington, DC. She is a member of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Twentieth-Century Heritage and has participated in conferences on international preservation. Uskoković is the author of three books: Modern Architectural Heritage of Dubrovnik (Zagreb: Antibarbarus, 2010), Contemporary Design in Historic Settings (Zagreb: Antibarbarus, 2013), and Architect Lovro Perković: Sensibility of Space Design (Zagreb: Ex Libris, 2015). She also has published numerous articles in academic and artistic journals. Since 2015 she has coordinated a regional interdisciplinary forum for research in urban culture in the Balkans, called Urban Hum.

For more information about the CAA-Getty International Program, please contact project director Janet Landay at or 212-392-4420.

On October 30, CAA gave a presentation about its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts to participants at an all-day Leadership Forum organized by the Aspen Institute’s Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative (AEFI). Attending the event were directors and board members of approximately seventy foundations, such as the Warhol Foundation, the Rauschenberg Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and many others. Speaking on behalf of CAA were Richard Dannay, an intellectual property attorney at Cowan Liebowitz & Latman, and a member of the legal advisory committee for the fair use project; Christine Sundt, editor of the journal Visual Resources and a fair use task force member and project advisor; and Anne Collins Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Art Museum, a principal investigator for the fair use project, and past-president of CAA, under whose leadership the initiative began.

Invited by Christine Vincent, project director of the Aspen Institute’s program, this was a unique opportunity for CAA to share the new Code. As caretakers of their artist’s lifetime works, these foundation directors are greatly concerned with the quality and accuracy of images and factual information published about them, as well as  the protection of the artists’ reputations. This panel presented the thinking behind the principles and limitations to the doctrine of fair use that can ally the goals and interests of both copyright holders and users of copyrighted works.

Moderated by Stephen K. Urice, professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law and advisor to the Aspen Institute’s program, Richard Dannay began the panel with a definition of fair as stated in U.S. copyright law. He outlined the doctrine’s importance in providing room for creators to use copyrighted materials under certain circumstances without seeking copyright permission. These “fair uses” of copyright are in contrast to “infringing uses” and exist when the copyrighted materials are being used for qualifying interpretive or creative purposes. He then outlined the four factors listed in the Copyright Act of 1976 that help determine whether a purpose falls under fair use and went on to discuss the notion of transformative use: whether it “adds something new, with a further purpose or difference character.” In conclusion, Dannay emphasized the importance of understanding these considerations when determined whether or not a use of copyrighted materials can be considered fair or not; each instance of fair use is determined separately, based on the specifics of each case.

Christine Sundt spoke next about CAA’s longstanding commitment to copyright issues. “…the question of how to apply US law to our practices as artists and art historians, especially the doctrine of fair use, has been a recurring theme at our annual conferences for decades. Our members wanted answers and direction because they faced uncertainty and even disappointment in either trying to seek the law’s benefits as creators or when attempting to use rights lawfully as interpreters of art. Copyright is meant to be a balanced right but it was often impossible to see where or how this balance works.”

Sundt described CAA’s collaboration with the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage and the American Council of Learned Societies between 1997 and 2003 to sponsor workshops and discussion forums at conferences and universities, and, in collaboration with sister organizations, to explore the benefits, effects, and consequences of fair use to CAA’s wide and varied constituencies. She added that the association has also developed policies regarding orphan works. “When creative works are abandoned or not properly identified with a creator’s name, what should be required in order to use these works in transformative ways that revived them from obscurity? CAA’s members wanted direction about being innovative and creative while remaining ethical and lawful. CAA participated in the hearings on Orphan Works and prepared several amicus briefs when asked to provide opinions.”

The last speaker was Anne Goodyear, who described the best practices outlined in the Code, the method by which they were derived, and how CAA has implemented the Code since it was published in February. She cited the extensive research conducted by the authors of CAA’s Code of Best Practices, Peter Jaszi and Pat Aufderheide, including confidential interviews with 100 leaders in the field (a small number of whom represented artist’s estates.) The study revealed that many of the concerns CAA members had about copyright restrictions grew largely out of uncertainty about how and when fair use might apply to the development of new interpretive projects. “A principle aim for CAA,” she stated, “has thus been to educate visual arts professionals about its application.”

Next, Jaszi and Aufderheide met in small groups with a wide range of visual arts practitioners in five cities across the United States. Based on the information gleaned from these meetings a series of five fair use principles, each with attendant limitations, were developed in the following areas: analytic writing, teaching about art, making art, museum uses, and online access to archival and special collections.

Goodyear proceeded, “The third phase of the project brings us here today: the dissemination of the Code. On that note, it is worth stressing that CAA’s Code of Best Practices does not dictate specific standards, but instead provides flexible strategies to evaluate if a given use, whether traditional or innovative, is likely to be considered fair, even as applicable professional standards evolve. The Code will thus provide an enduring tool for both those who use and those who protect copyrighted materials as we work together to foster new creative insight and new knowledge.” She went on to describe ways in which the field is beginning to change, starting at CAA itself, where new author agreements invite contributors to its journals to rely on fair use if, based on a careful reading of the Code, they believe their use of the copyrighted materials falls within the principles and limitations described there. In conclusion, she pointed to the many endorsements the Code has received from professional associations, as well anecdotal evidence that in only eight months since its publication, the document is providing a greater sense of confidence to individuals and organizations wishing to use copyrighted materials in their scholarly and creative work.

The panel concluded with numerous questions from the floor, indicating the great interest in the topic by the artist-endowed foundation directors attending the event. Now that this community knows more about CAA’s fair use code, we hope more conversations will ensue to make reliance on it increasingly useful to the field. More information about the Aspen Institute’s Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative can be found at

Image: Participants in CAA’s panel on fair use. From left to right: Richard Dannay, Christine Sundt, Anne Goodyear, Stephen Urice. Seeks Field Editors for Books and Exhibitions

posted by Betty Leigh Hutcheson invites nominations and self-nominations for individuals to join its Council of Field Editors, which commissions reviews within an area of expertise or geographic region, for a term ending June 30, 2018. An online journal, is devoted to the peer review of books, museum exhibitions, and projects relevant to art history, visual studies, and the arts.

The journal seeks field editors for books in the following subject areas: early modern Iberian and colonial Latin American art, Islamic art, design history, and museum studies and practice. The journal also seeks a field editor to commission reviews of exhibitions on the West Coast, pre-1800. Candidates may be artists, art or design historians, critics, curators, or other professionals in the visual arts; institutional affiliation is not required.

Working with the editor-in-chief, the editorial board, and CAA’s staff editor, each field editor selects content to be reviewed, commissions reviewers, and reviews manuscripts for publication. Field editors for books are expected to keep abreast of newly published and important books and related media in their fields of expertise, and field editors for exhibitions should be aware of current and upcoming exhibitions (and other related projects) in their geographic regions. The Council of Field Editors meets annually at the CAA Annual Conference. Field editors must pay travel and lodging expenses to attend the conference.

Candidates must be current CAA members and should not currently serve on the editorial board of a competitive journal or on another CAA editorial board or committee. Nominators should ascertain their nominee’s willingness to serve before submitting a name; self-nominations are also welcome. Please send a statement describing your interest in and qualifications for appointment, a CV, and your contact information to: Editorial Board, College Art Association, 50 Broadway, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10004; or email the documents to Deidre Thompson, CAA publications assistant. Deadline: January 1, 2016.

Filed under:, Publications, Service

Failure as Art and Art History as Failure

posted by Janet Landay

The following article is by Susana S. Martins, a 2014 CAA-Getty International Program participant from Portugal, in which she uses a session at the 2014 Annual Conference as the starting point for a consideration of failure: “In particular, the stance that artistic failure may not configure just an impossible obstacle, but can equally offer an ideal standpoint for open experimentation and for raising constant questions, has proven to be quite popular among creators, particularly post the avant-gardes of the early twentieth century.”


Filed under: International

2016–2017 Nominating Committee Seeks Members

posted by Vanessa Jalet

CAA invites you to help shape the future of the organization by serving on the 2016–2017 Nominating Committee. Each year, this committee nominates and interviews potential candidates for the CAA Board of Directors and selects the final slate for the membership’s vote. The candidates for the 2016 Board of Directors election were announced on October 13, 2015.

The Board of Directors and the Nominating Committee strive to find the best candidates that represent the broad subdisciplines and practitioners represented in the membership. The 2015–2016 Nominating Committee will select the members of the 2016–2017 committee at its business meeting, to be held at the 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC in February. Once selected as members of the 2016–2017 committee, all members must propose, in the spring, a minimum of five and a maximum of ten people for the board. Service on the committee also involves conducting telephone interviews with candidates during the summer of 2016, and meeting in the fall to select the final board slate. Finally, all Nominating Committee members attend their next business meeting, at the 2017 Annual Conference in New York to select the succeeding committee.

Nominations and self-nominations should include a brief statement of interest and a 3–4 page condensed CV. Please email a statement and your CV as Word attachments, with the subject line “2016–2017 Nominating Committee,” to the attention of Charles A. Wright, CAA vice president for committees, care of Vanessa Jalet, CAA executive liaison. Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2015.  

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

The New Artist’s Medium: Getting Started with Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is invading every industry, but the arts in particular present an excellent opportunity for communicating personal vision. Whether you want to put someone inside a painting, send them into space, or envelop them in a music video, the sensation of “presence” afforded by virtual reality means that your audience is certain to walk away with an unforgettable experience. But where to start? (Read more from Fractured Atlas.)

The Games Art Historians Play: Online Game-Based Learning in Art History and Museum Contexts

I recently posted a query on the Consortium of Art and Architectural Historians listserv to research online game-based and game-ified learning in art history and museums. The post garnered animated comments hinting that it was nothing short of appalling that the subject had even been raised. That listserv discussion suggested there exists considerable confusion about what game-based learning is. (Read more from ProfHacker.)

How Do You Tell the Difference between Philanthropy and a Tax Write-Off?

Many art-world insiders who flew to Los Angeles for the opening of the billionaire Eli Broad’s self-named museum had positive things to say about it. The collection, if familiar, has its strengths. The building, if imperfect, has its moments. Yet occasional sniping could be heard, as in: “I still think this is a huge vanity project” and “It seems like one big tax-break to me.” (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Art Donors Give to Smaller Nonprofits

The Los Angeles art adviser and collector Elaine Gans was uncertain where to donate a large painting by San Francisco Bay Area artist Tom Holland. If she gave it to an art museum, the painting risked being put in storage and forgotten, Gans said. A museum also might not have accepted it, she added. So, earlier this year, she donated the painting to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Read more from the Wall Street Journal.)

What Are Some Good Art Documentaries?

What are some worthwhile art documentaries? I am an art instructor and working on compiling a list of films for my students to watch in their spare time. Any suggestions? (Read more from Burnaway.)

Gallery Guides: Six Gallerists on Their Role in the Art World

Gallerists play a significant role in the art world. While it is true that no two galleries are the same—each operating with distinct missions and each supporting unique groups of artists—their collective importance is increasing as much as it is evolving. To explore this further, I recently talked with six gallerists, taking a closer look at their motivations, responsibilities, and current concerns. (Read more from Visual Arts Journal.)

Detecting a Bad Fit

You took the job because you thought it seemed like a good fit and, after all, it was a tenure-track offer. Then you arrive on the campus only to find yourself trapped in a bog. Maybe the problem is bait-and-switch support, where the department promises much more than it intends or is able to give. Maybe the faculty culture turns out to be toxic, and you spend every day praying for deliverance from your sniping, backstabbing colleagues. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

We’ll Store Your Artifacts, US Tells Syrian Museums

As ISIL destroys ancient temples and monuments across Syria and Iraq, the Association of Art Museum Directors is encouraging American museums to act as safe havens for threatened works of art in the collections of governments, museums, and private individuals in conflict zones. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Filed under: CAA News

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