CAA News Today

May CAA News Published

posted by May 08, 2009

The May issue of CAA News has just been published. All individual and institutional members will receive it in the mail; you can also download a PDF of the issue now, reformatted to better fit your screen.

In the issue, CAA President Paul Jaskot and Director of Programs Emmanuel Lemakis sum up highlights from the 2009 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, and CAA Board Member Andrea Kirsh writes about her experiences at this year’s Arts Advocacy Day and Humanities Advocacy Day.

The May newsletter also includes instructions for proposing a session for the 2011 Annual Conference in New York—CAA’s centennial year. Please read the guidelines carefully before the submission process begins on June 16, 2009. Deadline: September 1, 2009.

Also published are calls for texts on “the contemporary” for Art Journal and for participation on CAA’s Professional Interests, Practices, and Standards Committees—plus the latest news from CAA’s affiliated societies and listings of solo exhibitions, books published, and exhibitions curated by CAA members.

Filed under: CAA News, Publications

Andrea Kirsh, an independent art historian based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a member of the CAA Board of Directors, was one of several CAA delegates who attended Humanities Advocacy Day and Arts Advocacy Day, both of which took place in March 2009 in Washington, DC.

In an article for the forthcoming May issue of CAA News that is also posted online, she writes about her experiences advocating for increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, among other government programs and legislation.

Photo: The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Josh Groban (center) advocates for the arts with CAA board member Judith Thorpe (left) and Jean Miller at the Congressional Breakfast during Arts Advocacy Day

President Barrack Obama has released his budget recommendations for fiscal year 2010, which includes $161 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts—$11 million over the previous year’s budget and the largest increase in fifteen years. Obama’s administration also requested $38.16 million for the Arts in Education program at the US Department of Education.

CAA encourages you to contact your legislators to voice your support for these increases in arts and cultural funding through the Arts Action Center, sponsored by Americans for the Arts. You can use or modify existing letter templates to tell Congress to support Arts in Education and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Katy Siegel is incoming editor-in-chief of Art Journal and associate professor of art history at Hunter College, City University of New York.

During my tenure as editor-in-chief of Art Journal, I would like to publish a wide-ranging series that assesses contemporary art—its making, exhibition, criticism, history, and social uses. This series could include the kind of state-of-the-field essays that have traditionally been written about historical areas of study for The Art Bulletin. It could also mean more focused historiographic subjects, such as the evolution of “the contemporary” or the rise and fall of postmodernism. Or theoretical discussions of, for example, the relationships between the modern and the contemporary (questions of periodization being of special interest), or more speculative considerations of the changing role of contemporary art in current economic, technological, and social conditions.

I welcome approaches that are ambitious and generalizing, but since “the contemporary” is not really a single unified disciplinary object, I am also seeking writing that is partisan and partial, local and medium-specific. While one person might approach postmodernism from a historical perspective, as an object in the past, another might argue for its continuing validity under current conditions. Different authors might investigate the social meaning of “the contemporary” as opposed to the modern in particular countries at particular moments (the US at midcentury, China today), or for particular institutions, such as the museum, biennial exhibition, or university/college course.

I would like to hear from curators, teachers, critics, and artists about their own concrete experiences in relation to these large, abstract questions. I am interested not only in a wide range of topics, but also a diversity of approaches to those topics: art criticism, discussions, shorter polemical essays, and artists’ projects are all possibilities in addition to the scholarly article.

For more information, please write to

In her introductory editor’s letter to the recently published Spring 2009 Art Journal, Judith Rodenbeck underlines the notion of retooling in the issue. The authors and contributors, she notes, confront three areas in particular: how the expansive global art world thrives in non-Western countries; how art education is undergoing progressive change outside traditional art academia; and how a history of early computer art can inform contemporary practice.

Gail Gelburd’s essay, “Cuba and the Art of ‘Trading with the Enemy,’ ” looks at Cuban-American relations over the past fifty years and their effect on cultural exchange. In her essay “Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City,” Joanna Grabski discusses the Dak’Art Biennale in relation to Senghorian Négritude, the city’s School of Fine Arts, and Dakar’s urban fabric.

During the past several years, Art Journal has investigated retoolings in pedagogical issues. “The Currency of Practice: Reclaiming Autonomy for the MFA,” developed from a roundtable discussion that took place at the CAA Annual Conference in 2007, explores alternatives to traditional graduate degrees such as often-nomadic, nonaccredited schools, organizations led and run by artists, and programs for PhDs for artists.

Moving forward by looking back, three essays explore the history and practice of digital art. The artist Paul Hertz presents an overview that draws on his recent cocurated exhibition, Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print. A computer scientist and pioneering artist, Frieder Nake, examines early European computer artists and their work, which he calls “algorithmic images accepted as art.” Patric D. Prince, a scholar, artist, and collector of computer art, provides a short history of computer-generated imagery and digital printmaking in America before the era of the home computer.

Reviews include texts on recent projects by Boris Groys (a collection of essays and an exhibition) and a book on Marcel Duchamp and artists’ labor. Letters to the editor include two replies to an Art Journal article, “Steps to an Ecology of Communication: Radical Software, Dan Graham, and the Legacy of Gregory Bateson,” from the Fall 2008 issue.

Filed under: Art Journal, Education, Publications