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On November 30, G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, ordered the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1987) from display at the National Portrait Gallery. In addition, incoming Republican leaders in Congress urged that the entire exhibition, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, be closed. Thankfully this did not happen.

Our government clearly needs to hear from you. At this critical time of federal budget planning—when sufficient funding for the Smithsonian museums may be in doubt—it is crucial that you let Capitol Hill know about your support for the visual arts, humanities, and art museums. CAA encourages you register and take part in three upcoming events this winter and spring in Washington, DC: Museums Advocacy Day, Humanities Advocacy Day, and Arts Advocacy Day. At each, participants meet their senators and representatives in person to advocate for increased federal support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Previous lobbying experience isn’t necessary. Training sessions and practice talks take place the day before the main events—that’s why, for example, Arts Advocacy Day is actually two days, not one. Participants are also prepped on the critical issues and the range of funding requested of Congress to support these federal agencies. It is at these training sessions where you meet—and network with—other advocates from your states. The main sponsoring organization for each event makes congressional appointments for you.

You may have mailed a letter or sent a prewritten email to your congressperson or senator before, but legislators have an algorithm of interest for pressing issues, in which a personal visit tops all other forms of communication. As citizen lobbyists, it’s also important to have a few specific examples about how arts funding has affected you: don’t be afraid to name-drop major cultural institutions—such as your city’s best-known museum or nonprofit art center—in your examples of why the visual arts matter in your state.

If you cannot attend the three advocacy days in person, please send an email or fax to your representatives expressing your concern about continued and increased funding for the visual arts. If you don’t know your representative or senators, you can look them up at

Museums Advocacy Day

The American Association of Museums (AAM) leads Museums Advocacy Day, taking place February 28–March 1, 2011, with support from numerous other nonprofit organizations. AAM is developing the legislative agenda for this year’s event. Likely issues will include federal funding for museums, museums and federal education policy, and charitable giving issues affecting museums. The entire museum field is welcome to participate: staff, volunteers, trustees, students, and even museum enthusiasts. Museums Advocacy Day is the ideal chance for new and seasoned advocates to network with museum professionals from their state and meet with congressional offices. Register online now.

Humanities Advocacy Day

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sponsors Humanities Advocacy Day, to be held March 7–8, 2011, in conjunction with its annual meeting. Scholars, higher education and association leaders, and policy makers will convene first at George Washington University for the conference and then on Capitol Hill for congressional visits and a reception. The preliminary program includes NHA’s annual business meeting for voting members, commentary on the postelection landscape, discussion of humanities funding and other policy issues, a luncheon and keynote address, and presentations of current work in the humanities. Learn more about registration.

Arts Advocacy Day

To be held April 4–5, 2011, Arts Advocacy Day is the only national event that brings together America’s cultural and civic organizations with hundreds of grassroots advocates, all of whom will underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Sponsored by Americans for the Arts, the event starts at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on the first day, before advocates head to Capitol Hill on the second. Registration is open now.

This offer from Rutgers University Press expired in late 2010.

Members receive a special 30 percent discount when preordering the forthcoming book on the history of CAA, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association. Edited by Susan Ball, this 328-page hardcover book will be published in January 2011 by Rutgers University Press. It will also be available at the 99th Annual Conference and Centennial Kickoff in New York, where a special signing party will take place.

CAA members may preorder the book online for $20.97 (listed at $29.95). The special offer will end soon. Use code 02CAA10 on the Rutgers University Press website, after you “Add to Cart” and before you “Checkout.”

CAA was founded in 1911 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” covered in twelve chapters, some written collaboratively. As such, it offers not a comprehensive history but rather a presentation of memorable highlights that tells the complex, contentious story of a venerated organization.

The Eye, the Hand, the Mind reviews familiar aspects of CAA. Craig Houser negotiates the history of CAA’s dynamic publications program, which began in 1913 with the first issue of The Art Bulletin, and Julia Sienkewicz chronicles the evolution of the Annual Conference. Less known is CAA’s traveling-exhibition program in the 1930s, uncovered by Cristin Tierney. More recently, Ellen 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.

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 contributed a chapter on the founding of CAA, administrative and financial matters, and the organization’s larger role in the visual arts.

Filed under: Books, Centennial

2010 Recipients of the Meiss and Wyeth Publication Grants

posted by Christopher Howard

CAA has awarded grants to the publishers of nine books in art history and visual culture through two programs: the Millard Meiss Publication Fund and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant.

Meiss Grants Winners

This fall, CAA has awarded four grants from the Millard Meiss Publication Fund. Thanks to the generous bequest of the late Prof. Millard Meiss, these grants are given to publishers to support the publication of scholarly books in art history and related fields. The 2010 grantees are:

  • Cynthia Hahn, Strange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries 400–circa 1204 (Pennsylvania State University Press)
  • Megan E. O’Neil, Engaging Ancient Maya Sculpture at Piedras Negras, Guatemala (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • J. P. Park, Ensnaring the Public Eye: Painting Manuals of Late Ming China and the Negotiation of Taste (University of Washington Press)
  • Stephen C. Pinson, Speculating Daguerre: Art and Enterprise in the Work of L. J. M. Daguerre (University of Chicago Press)

Books eligible for a Meiss grant must already be under contract with a publisher and be on a subject in the arts or art history. Authors must be current CAA members. Application criteria and guidelines for the Meiss grant are available online or from Alex Gershuny, CAA editorial associate.

Wyeth Grant Winners

CAA is pleased to announce five recipients of the annual Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant. Thanks to a second generous three-year 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. Receiving 2010 grants are:

  • Marianne Kinkel, Races of Mankind: The Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman (University of Illinois Press)
  • Analisa Leppanen-Guerra, Children’s Stories and “Child-Time” in the Works of Joseph Cornell and the Trans-Atlantic Avant-Garde (Ashgate)
  • Leo Mazow, Thomas Hart Benton and the American Sound (Pennsylvania State University Press)
  • Maurie McInnis, Slaves Waiting for Sale: Visualizing the Southern Slave Trade (University of Chicago Press)
  • Marian Wardle, ed., The Weir Family, 1820–1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art (University Press of New England)

For the purpose of this program, “American art” is defined as art created in the United States, Canada, and Mexico prior to 1970. Books eligible for a Wyeth grant must already be under contract with a publisher. Authors must be current CAA members. Application criteria and guidelines for the Wyeth grant are available online or from Alex Gershuny, CAA editorial associate.

November Deaths in the Arts

posted by Christopher Howard

CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, designers, scholars, critics, and other men and women whose work has had a significant impact on the visual arts. Of special note is Jean Miller’s text on Todd DeVriese, written especially for CAA.

  • Todd DeVriese, an artist, educator, and dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, died on November 15, 2010, while at a conference in India. He was 49
  • Helen Escobedo, a Mexican sculptor who explored modern materials in site-specific, outdoor, and public locations, died on September 16, 2010, at the age of 76. She was also a curator and director for several university-based and national museums and galleries
  • S. Neil Fujita, a graphic designer, illustrator, and painter who worked on numerous jazz album covers for Columbia Records in the 1950s and on book jackets with his own firm, died on October 23, 2010, at age 89. He also taught for many years at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, Pratt Institute, and Parsons School of Design.
  • Robert Goodnough, a painter from the second generation of Abstract Expressionists whose diverse body of work touched on many modernist styles, died on October 2, 2010, at age 92. He showed his work at Tibor de Nagy and André Emmerich galleries in New York
  • Kathryn Hixson, an art critic, former editor of the New Art Examiner, and adjunct professor in various departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, died on November 7, 2010, at the age of 55. She also curated several exhibitions in Texas and Illinois
  • Eric Joisel, a French artist who created innovative, complex sculptures in origami, died on October 10, 2010, at the age of 53. His works can be found in the Louvre and in private collections worldwide
  • Thomas Leavitt, founding director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, died on October 14, 2010, at the age of 80. He also organized more than one hundred exhibitions, including Earth Art with Willoughby Sharp in 1969, and wrote numerous catalogue essays
  • Jack Levine, an American painter of Social Realism whose works contained biting satire and caricature, died on November 8, 2010, at the age of 95. His works can be found in major museums nationwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art
  • Bernd Lohaus, a German artist who created his sculptures with blocks of stone and rugged beams of Azobe wood, died on November 4, 2010. Born in 1940, he studied under Joseph Beuys and settled in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1966
  • Nathan Oliveira, a Bay Area painter who emerged in the 1950s as an Abstract Expressionist but later embraced figuration and landscape, died on November 13, 2010, at age 81. He was a longtime professor of art at Stanford University
  • Rozsika Parker, a pioneering British feminist, art historian, psychotherapist, and author of The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and Making of the Feminine, died on November 5, 2010, at the age of 64. She collaborated with Griselda Pollock on two important books: Old Mistresses and Framing Women: Art and the Women’s Movement 1970–1985
  • Chuck Ramirez, an artist and graphic designer based in San Antonio who worked in large-scale photography and site-specific sculptural installations, died on November 6, 2010. He was 48
  • Sylvia Sleigh, a celebrated figurative painter and devoted feminist who helped found SOHO20 Gallery in 1973, died on October 24, 2010, at the age of 94. Born in Wales but based in New York since 1961, Sleigh received CAA’s Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008
  • Miriam Wosk, an illustrator who designed the first cover of Ms. magazine in 1971 but later concentrated on painting, drawing, and collage, died on November 5, 2010. She was 63

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

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

The Publications Committee, which oversees CAA’s scholarly journals and related projects, welcomes two new members who will serve through June 30, 2013. Anthony Elms is editor of WhiteWalls, a publisher of innovative books and a journal, and assistant director of Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Cynthia Mills is executive editor of American Art, the scholarly journal of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. She is also academic programs coordinator for the museum, where she supervises the fellowship program and publications prizes and organizes scholarly symposia., CAA’s online journal for reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in art history and visual studies, has added Elizabeth Marlowe to its editorial board, to serve through June 30, 2014. Marlowe is visiting assistant professor of art and art history at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. In addition, Janet Kraynak, assistant professor of art history at New School University, has become a field editor for the journal. She will commission reviews of exhibitions on modern and contemporary art in New York and internationally though June 30, 2013.

Over the summer, CAA made additional appointments for all three journals. Editors and members of editorial boards and committees are chosen from an open call for nominations and self-nominations, published on the CAA website from January to April each year and publicized through CAA News.

Insightful studies that reframe a Raphael fresco, Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines, and Kano Hōgai’s best-known work are among the six essays in the December 2010 issue of The Art Bulletin, the leading publication of international art-historical scholarship. The issue has been mailed to all individual CAA members who elect to receive the journal, and to all institutional members.

The final issue of the year comprises six essays, two of which delve into art from the Italian peninsula. In “Reflections of Imperialism,” Brenda Longfellow examines the Meta Sudans fountain in Rome, built during the Flavian dynasty, as a signifier of imperial legacy in both Rome and its provinces. For her contribution, Patricia Reilly contends that Raphael’s often-maligned Fire in the Borgo presents the artist’s argument for a new theory of painting. Looking across the Atlantic, Angélica Afandor-Pujol studies the illustrated manuscript known as the “Relación de Michoancán” and investigates issues of mimicry and the appropriation of European artistic traditions by indigenous artists in colonial Mexico.

Moving to the modern times, Chelsea Foxwell reconsiders the iconographic and historical significance of Hōgai’s Merciful Mother Kannon (1888), a masterpiece of Japanese painting, and Tom Folland argues that Rauschenberg’s Combines represent a queering of Abstract Expressionism and, by extension, the culture of postwar modernism. In “The State of Art History,” Terry Smith explores ideas of the contemporary within discourse on modern art and proposes a framework for globally considering the art of today.

In the Reviews section, Gabriela Siracusano assesses Veiled Brightness, a multiauthored book on the history of Maya color. Charles Darwin’s relationship to the visual arts is the focus of Rachael Delue four-book analysis, and Erika Naginski reviews The Blind Spot: An Essay on the Relations between Painting and Sculpture in the Modern Age.

Please read the full table of contents for more details. The next issue, to be published in March 2011, will feature essays on the Bocca della Verità in Rome; the “finger-bone” relics of a Buddha found in Shaanxi Province, China; and relationships between German painting and Czech Cubism.

Filed under: Art Bulletin, Publications

CAA Begins Its Centennial Campaign

posted by Nia Page

The year 2011 marks the College Art Association’s one-hundredth anniversary, a celebratory landmark for any organization but particularly so given CAA’s dynamic influence in shaping the study and practice of the visual arts. Without dedicated members like you, CAA would not be where it is today. You can continue demonstrating your loyal support with a contribution to the new Centennial Campaign, which begins this week.

Since 1911, CAA has led many progressive developments in the art and academic worlds. In the 1920s, the organization helped establish art history as a legitimate subject in the humanities, and during the Great Depression it was instrumental in the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration. A 1960s statement declaring the MFA as the terminal degree for artists led to a robust Standards and Guidelines program in the next decade, and the Culture Wars of the 1980s and 1990s spurred CAA to take a firm stance supporting the First Amendment. The past ten years have been the busiest, with a small, dedicated staff administering a wide range of programs—from book grants and graduate-student fellowships to intellectual-property assistance and advocacy for contingent faculty—while continuing to publish distinguished journals and produce the largest international conference in the visual arts.

The Centennial is a time to think about CAA’s future. Earlier this year, the Board of Directors unveiled a new strategic plan, based on feedback from members, that identifies core goals and objectives for the next five years. Priorities include increasing support to artists, bringing designers into our circle, enhancing international outreach, and stepping up advocacy efforts—all of which allows the organization to strengthen its vital presence throughout the field.

CAA will kick off its Centennial celebration in New York at the 99th Annual Conference, to be held February 9–12, 2011. A variety of programs and events will complement the usual conference format, including a special awards ceremony and reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a public-art project in Times Square, sessions that bring together well-known figures for passionate cross-disciplinary exchange, and a toast to CAA’s anniversary at the Annual Members’ Business Meeting.

CAA remains dedicated to serving professionals and students in the visual arts, but it needs your assistance. Contributions to the Centennial Campaign at every level make a difference; they are also fully tax deductible. Your gift will not only sustain the organization now, but it will also help guarantee CAA’s leadership for the next one hundred years.

Filed under: Centennial

CAA Announces the Shortlist for Its Two Book Awards

posted by Christopher Howard

CAA is pleased to announce the finalists for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award and the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for 2011. The winners of both prizes, along with the recipients of ten other Awards for Distinction, will be announced in December and presented in February during a special ceremony at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in conjunction with the 99th Annual Conference and Centennial Kickoff.

The Charles Rufus Morey Book Award honors an especially distinguished book in the history of art, published in any language between September 1, 2009, and August 31, 2010. The four finalists are:

  • Molly Emma Aitken, The Intelligence of Tradition in Rajput Court Painting (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010)
  • Çiğdem Kafescioğlu, Constantinopolis/Istanbul: Cultural Encounter, Imperial Vision, and the Construction of the Ottoman Capital (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009)
  • Juliet Koss, Modernism after Wagner (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010)
  • Hui-shu Lee, Empresses, Art, and Agency in Song Dynasty China (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010)

The Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for museum scholarship is presented to the author(s) of an especially distinguished catalogue in the history of art, published between September 1, 2009, and August 31, 2010, under the auspices of a museum, library, or collection. The three finalists are:

  • Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-Roberts, eds., Mrs. Delany and Her Circle (New Haven: Yale Center for British Art, in association with Yale University Press, 2009)
  • Darielle Mason, ed., Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection and the Stella Kramrisch Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009)
  • Xiaoneng Yang, ed., Tracing the Past, Drawing the Future: Master Ink Painters in Twentieth-Century China (Milan: 5 Continents, 2010)

The presentation of the 2011 Awards for Distinction will take place on Thursday evening, February 10, 6:00–7:30 PM, in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The event is free and open to the public. The CAA Centennial Reception will follow (ticket required). For more information about CAA’s Awards for Distinction, please contact Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs, at 212-691-1051, ext. 248.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Awards, Books

November Picks from the Committee on Women in the Arts

posted by Christopher Howard

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts produces a curated list, called CWA Picks, of recommended exhibitions and events related to feminist art and scholarship from North America and around the world.

Two CWA Picks for November 2010 focus on conference sessions and a symposium taking place this week. At the National Women’s Studies Association Conference, which starts today in Denver, two Friday sessions explore art and film by women since the 1970s. On Saturday, the American Folk Art Museum in New York is hosting a daylong event broadly examining the role of women in culture from antiquity to the present.

CWA Picks also include four exhibitions. Sally Mann is showing new photographs at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Lynda Benglis’s touring show stops at the Rhode Island School of Design. Two institutions in Connecticut are presenting historical presentations of needlework and embroidery.

Check out past CWA Picks archived at the bottom of the page, as exhibitions highlighted in previous months are often still on view.

Image: Chandler Family, canvas work with pastoral scene, 1758, wool and silk on linen, 15¾ x 22 7/8 in. Private Collection, Woodstock, Connecticut (artwork in the public domain)

Filed under: Committees, Exhibitions

At its May 2010 meeting, the CAA Board of Directors approved a resolution that updates the Standards for Retention and Tenure of Art Historians. Submitted by Anne Collins Goodyear, vice president for publications, the addendum urges academic tenure-and-promotions committees to consider and evaluate museum publications when making their deliberations. Exhibition catalogues, the resolution notes, may be published by an academic press or museum, or in association with a nonacademic press.

The following paragraphs, which are part of the addendum, provide background for the resolution:

During the past ten years, while academic publishing has been shrinking dramatically, museum publishing has flourished, moving to the forefront as the venue for much substantial scholarship in our field.

Museum exhibition and collection catalogues are not, by and large, peer-reviewed in the traditional sense. The long lead times required for blind peer review do not accommodate the tight schedules of most exhibition catalogues, which must appear when shows open. Yet exhibition catalogues do undergo a form of peer review. Though not blind, it is thorough, as the collaborative curatorial teams that produce exhibition catalogues, and museums’ editorial departments and consultants, carefully evaluate the scholarship contained within, striving to ensure that it is accurate and of the highest possible quality.

In the past, one argument lodged against exhibition catalogues has been that the essays can vary in quality. Some essays in exhibition catalogues—at times in the same catalogue—contain original, important scholarship, while others can be included for political reasons, perhaps to secure certain loans or financial contributions essential to the successful mounting of a show. In fact, this situation is not fundamentally different from scholarship published in festschrifts, anthologies, or other non-museum collections of scholarly essays. It is not unusual for some authors in such publications to be included for practical, rather than scholarly, reasons. Yet this does not disqualify every essay in these publications from being considered in tenure decisions.

Helen Evans of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lucy Oakley of the Grey Art Gallery at New York University authored the proposal, with input from the Publications Committee. The Professional Practices Committee, which reviews new and revised Standards and Guidelines, endorsed the proposal, which the board then passed.

The addendum has been added to Standards for Retention and Tenure of Art Historians and joins updates made in 2005 and 2007. CAA encourages you to review all official Standards and Guidelines for professionals in the visual arts.

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