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Survey for Artists on Art Materials

posted by Christopher Howard

The International Art Materials Trade Association (NAMTA) and American Artist magazine have begun a new industry study and are asking all artists and users of art supplies in the United States to contribute by completing an online survey.

About the Survey

The consumer survey is the first phase of a larger study, entitled “Artists & Art Materials USA 2009,” which will also consist of surveys of art-supply retailers and art-materials suppliers. In the study’s second phase, Hart Business Research will analyze this survey data plus government statistics and company financial reports to build a comprehensive picture of artists’ evolving activities. The report will be announced in fall 2009, accompanied by an executive summary that will be made available to all survey participants.

As the first large-scale survey of industry size and trends, business best practices, and artists’ needs and preferences in more than a decade, “Artists & Art Materials USA 2009” is independently researched and written by Hart Business Research and cosponsored by NAMTA, an organization of more than 550 professional art-materials businesses, and American Artist, a primary resource for artists since 1937.

How to Participate

The consumer survey is open to artists working in all areas, including oil and acrylic paintings; watercolors; pastels; pencil, ink, or marker drawings; mixed media or collage; murals or wall art; handmade books, cards, or scrapbooks; functional art; three-dimensional art; conceptual or installation art; communication art or graphic design; digital art; quilting arts; fiber arts; and more.

Survey participants are eligible to win one of five $100 gift certificates to an art-materials store. Participants must register to receive the executive summary and to enter the sweepstakes by clicking on the link on the thank-you page after submitting their completed survey. The sweepstakes and executive summary sign-up is separate from the survey to keep the survey anonymous. All survey responses are anonymous and confidential to Hart Business Research and will only be reported as part of totals or averages.

NAMTA is also donating $1 for every completed survey (for the first 2,000 completed) to visual-arts scholarships through the NAMTA Foundation for the Visual Arts.

CAA Thanks 2009 Conference Mentors

posted by Emmanuel Lemakis

CAA wishes to thank the artists, art historians, curators, critics, and educators who generously served during Career Services at the 2009 Annual Conference as mentors for the Artists’ Portfolio Review and Career Development Mentoring, as leaders of the Professional Development Roundtable Discussions, as presenters of the Career Development Workshops, and as speakers at Orientation.

Artists’ Portfolio Review

Michael Bzdak, Sue Canning, Carole Garmon, Les Joynes, Jason Lahr, Marius Lehene, Suzanne Lemakis, Meg Linton, Holly Morrison, Margaret Murphy, Alastair Noble, Liz Roth, Richard Tichich.

Career Development Mentoring

Becca Albee, Pam Aloisa, Susan Altman, Michael Aurbach, Lucinda Bliss, Sally Cornelison, Connie Cortez, Julie Nelson Davis, Carole Gorman, Reni Gower, Julie Green, Randall C. Griffin, Courtney Grim, Richard Heipp, Jim Hopfensperger, Dennis Y. Ichiyama, Arthur Jones, Heather McPherson, Mary McInnes, David Raizman, David Sokol, Steve Teczar, Ann Tsubota, Jaime Ursic.

Roundtable Leaders

Susan Altman, Michael Aurbach, Sally Block, Diane Burko, Nicola Courtright, Diane Edison, Suzanne Lemakis, Harold Linton, Andrea Polli, Norie Sato, Marie Thibeault.

Career Development Workshops

Barbara Bernstein, Steven Bleicher, Mika Cho, David Dombrosky, Kate Kuykendall, Harold Linton, David Sokol.


Michael Aurbach, Irina D. Costache, Margaret Lazzari, David Sokol.

Rose Board Responds to Museum Crisis

posted by Christopher Howard

The board of overseers at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University released a statement yesterday, found here and here, to counter provost Marty Wyngaarden Krauss’s missive from last week about keeping the building open to art exhibitions beyond this summer. Since late January, when the university first announced plans to close the museum and sell its collections, the school administration has backpedaled several times, claiming to transform the museum into an art study and exhibition center (which it already is), to not sell the entire collection, and to continue hosting exhibitions. To which the board responds:

In her letter, Krauss attempted to clarify future plans for the Rose Art Museum once the University closes it on June 30, 2009. Despite the existence of the current Board of Overseers for the museum, Brandeis has named a new committee to “explore future options for the Rose.” In addition, the current position of museum director will be eliminated. According to Jon Lee, chair of the Rose Art Museum’s Board of Overseers, “Without a director or curator, the Rose cannot continue to function as a museum under any meaningful definition. Since the University’s announcement on January 26, 2009 that it would close the museum, membership and Rose Overseer dues, and all donations have ceased or been asked to be returned. This amounts to more than $2.5 million.”

“When the Rose family originally founded the Rose Art Museum, they were very clear about its mission and the integral role it would play as a part of the Brandeis community,” said Meryl Rose, a member of the Rose Art Museum’s Board of Overseers and a relative to the original museum founders. “A museum with a collection and reputation such as the Rose needs a director, and while Krauss’s letter states that the collection will be cared for, it does not erase the fact that the Rose as we know it will cease to exist under the administration’s current plans. The administration is carrying out an elaborate charade, the first step of which is to turn the Rose from a true museum as its founders intended, into something quite different….”

Again, the full statement can be found here and here. Richard Lacayo, art and architectural critic for Time, wrote about Brandeis’s announcement last week and quotes Rose director Michael Rush:

So long as the Rose remains open as a museum, it remains subject to the ethical guidelines of American museum groups that do what they can to discourage the kind of emergency sales that Brandeis is contemplating. But I spoke later with Michael Rush, the director of the Rose, who will soon be gone, along with several other significant Rose staffers. He was skeptical about what the university was doing. “They’re talking about keeping the Rose open,” he said. “But there’s no director, no curator, no education director, no funding stream and no program.”

An update to Lacayo’s report is a message from Jon Lee, Rose board chairman, which notes that Massachusett’s Attorney General office is watching developments closely.

The situation at Brandeis is one of many taking place concerning unusual uses of restricted endowments and related funding. In his article “New Unrest on Campus as Donors Rebel,” John Hechinger of the Wall Street Journal writes, “As schools struggle more than they have in decades to fund their core operations, many are looking to a rich pool of so-called restricted gifts—held in endowments whose donors often provide firm instructions on how their money should be spent.”

Read more of CAA’s coverage of the Rose Art Museum. The museum itself has been keeping a comprehensive log of articles and reviews.

The Artist-Museum Partnership Act of 2009, legislation introduced in both houses of Congress, would allow a fair-market-value tax deduction for charitable contributions of literary, musical, artistic, or scholarly compositions to collecting institutions such as museums, libraries, and archives. At present, a donating artist, writer, or composer can only deduct the cost of materials used to create the work, which is not a fair incentive to donate and also hurts the missions of public and nonprofit institutions nationwide to increase public access to these unique creations.

The sponsors of the bill—Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) for S 405 and Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Todd Platts (R-PA) for HR 1126—hope that past enthusiasm for such legislation will grow in the current 111th Congress. Although similar Senate bills have passed five times in previous years, the House version of the bill in the 110th Congress had 111 cosponsors. Now that a new Congress is underway, more cosponsors are needed to help advance the bill.

The American Association of Museums has worked with the Association of Art Museum Directors to provide a draft letter that you can use to encourage your federal lawmakers to cosponsor the bill. With your help, this important legislation for both artists and institutions can move forward.

Holland Cotter Wins Pulitzer Prize for Criticism

posted by Christopher Howard

Holland Cotter of the New York Times has received the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. It’s the first time in thirty-five years that an art critic has received the prestigious journalism award. The last Pulitzer for art criticism went to the late Emily Genauer of Newsday in 1974.

Since 1980 a number of art critics have been finalists, including, most recently, Sebastian Smee of the Boston Globe (2009); Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times (2007); and Jerry Saltz, then writing for the Village Voice (2006).

Filed under: Awards, People in the News

Rose Art Museum to Remain Open, with Uncertain Future

posted by Christopher Howard

The website of Art in America magazine reports that the Rose Art Museum is not closing this summer as previously expected: “Current exhibitions—‘Saints and Sinners’ and ‘Hans Hofmann: Circa 1950’—will remain on view through May 17th; after a brief de-install, the museum will re-open on July 22nd with works from the permanent collection.” Four museum staff members are expected to retain their positions, although Michael Rush will no longer direct.

Further, according to the museum administrator Jay Knox, Brandeis University plans to dissolve the museum’s board of directors, and the longterm stability of the collection is still unknown.

NEA Awards National Stimulus Grants

posted by Christopher Howard

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $19.8 million in one-time grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. National service organizations, state arts agencies, and regional arts organizations—from the Southern Arts Federation to the Arizona Commission on the Arts—have individually received amounts from $25,000 to nearly $600,000 to support the arts sector of the economy; most groups have received awards in the low six figures. The NEA has published the complete list of grants and amounts.

The NEA’s state and regional partners will invest their recovery funds in projects that assist arts organizations in retaining critical staff as well as artists and other contractual personnel. These critical staff will enhance the ability of arts organizations to realize their artistic and public service goals. State and regional agencies will mirror the NEA’s recovery grant program and adapt their programs to respond to the particular needs of their constituents.

In July, the endowment will announce a second category of one-time direct recovery grants, which will support a nonprofit arts sector that has seen declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn. Please see the NEA’s recovery page for updates on these recovery grants, agency reports, and other information.

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by Christopher Howard

CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, scholars, and architects. Of special note is Petra ten-Doesschate Chu and June Hargrove’s obituary for CAA on the Swiss art historian Hans A. Lüthy.

  • Robert Delford Brown, an artist who helped create Happenings in the early 1960s, was found dead in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 24, 2009. He was 78
  • Hanne Darboven, a German artist who was a major figure in Conceptual art, died on March 9, 2009, near Hamburg. She was 67
  • Johnny Donnels, a New Orleans photographer, died on March 19, 2009, at the age of 84
  • Lorenz Eitner, a professor who rebuilt the Stanford University Art Department and directed the school’s museum, died on March 11, 2009. He was 89
  • Sverre Fehn, a Norwegian architect who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, died on February 23, 2009, at age 84
  • Mary Hambleton, an artist, teacher, and Guggenheim fellow, died on January 9, 2009. She was 56
  • Helen Levitt, an American photographer whose first solo exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, died on March 29, 2009, in New York. She was 95
  • Hans A. Lüthy, a Swiss art historian, died on March 8, 2009
  • Stephen M. Panella, an artist based in Aurora, Illinois, died on November 29, 2008, at the age of 34
  • Susan Peterson, a ceramic artist, writer, and professor, died on March 26, 2009, in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was 83

Read all past obituaries in the arts on the CAA website.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

Vigils for Anniversary of Iraq Museum Looting

posted by Christopher Howard

April 10–12, 2009, is the sixth anniversary of the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad and the subsequent pillaging of archeological sites across Iraq. In the years since 2003, Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) has held, and has encouraged others to hold, global candlelight vigils in commemoration of the tragic loss suffered by the ransacking of the museum and the looting of artworks and artifacts there—many of which are still missing despite the recent reopening of seven museum galleries.

In New York, a gathering is taking place on April 11, 6:00–7:30 PM, in Washington Square Park. For those living in or near New York, please join the vigil. Donny George, former director of the Iraq Museum, is scheduled to speak.

Elsewhere in the United States, lectures, discussions, and SAFE-related vigils are being held at institutions in Fairbanks, Alaska; St. Paul, Minnesota; Eugene, Oregon; Ceres, California; and Amherst, Massachusetts. Please see the full list of vigil times and locations. You may also host a vigil in your own area.

To show additional support, please light a virtual candle on the SAFE website. By completing a simple form, your name and location will be displayed on your personal candle page and will also be listed on the main virtual-candle page.

For a review of the tragic events of 2003, read an interview with Donny George, conducted by Zainab Bahrani, in the September 2007 CAA News, as well as his detailed talk prepared for the 2008 Annual Conference in the May 2008 issue.

SAFE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving cultural heritage worldwide. Its mission is to raise public awareness about the irreversible damage that results from looting, smuggling, and trading illicit antiquities. SAFE promotes respect for the laws and treaties that enable nations to protect their cultural property and preserve humanity’s most precious nonrenewable resource: the intact evidence of our undiscovered past. While the impetus to found SAFE was the ransacking of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad in April 2003, its efforts are global. SAFE has no political affiliations.

Google Book Settlement Opt-Out Deadline Approaching

posted by Christopher Howard

The deadline for authors and publishers to opt out of a recent class-action settlement regarding the scanning and electronic distributing of in-copyright books by Google is May 5, 2009.

Last October, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google announced a settlement agreement on behalf of a broad class of authors and publishers worldwide that would expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the United States from the collections of a number of major US libraries participating in Google Book Search.

For full details on the settlement and to opt out, please visit www.googlebooksettlement.

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