CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Jan 09, 2013

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 MLA’s Big (Digital) Tent

In recent years, big conversations at and about the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association have been driven by two major and ongoing forces of change: the increasingly bleak economic realities of the profession (and particularly the shift of jobs away from the tenure track) and the ways that new technologies are transforming scholarly work in the humanities—and scholarly communications in general. (Read more at Inside Higher Ed.)

What If the Adjuncts Shrugged

Michael Bérubé’s address at this year’s Modern Language Association convention was one of a handful of times that I felt some real solidarity in the profession against the exploitation of the majority of our students and colleagues. (Read more at the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies

The Pew Research Center designed a survey to understand how arts organizations are using the internet, social media, and other digital technologies to connect with the public. Most participating organizations strongly or somewhat agree with the statements that technology and social media have made art a more participatory experience, and that they have helped make art audiences more diverse. Yet the majority of respondents also say that technology contributes to an expectation that “all digital content should be free.” (Read more at the Pew Internet and American Life Project.)

Creative Aging: The Emergence of Artistic Talents

I always wished I had true musical or artistic talent. There being none, I became a physician. Five years ago, I starting taking guitar lessons and hoped that I would be amazed by some “hidden” talent that would reveal itself to me and the rest of the world. Although I continue to practice every day and enjoy my musical adventure, the talent part remains elusive, if not totally hidden. But this is not the case for everyone. There are people who start to paint or play a musical instrument later in life and become very accomplished—often only when their brain begins to deteriorate. (Read more at the Atlantic.)

Students Rush to Web Classes, but Profits May Be Much Later

In August, four months after Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng started the online education company Coursera, its free college courses had drawn in a million users, a faster launching than either Facebook or Twitter. The cofounders, computer-science professors at Stanford University, watched with amazement as enrollment passed two million last month, with 70,000 new students a week signing up for over 200 courses taught by faculty members at the company’s partners, 33 elite universities. (Read more at the New York Times.)

What Is the Role of Art in the Wake of Tragedy?

The Economist gave the United States a whole weekend to mourn the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre before telling the entire nation to suck it up. “Those of us who view the events remotely … unless we start to evince a newfound appetite for gun-control measures to prevent future mass slayings, are doing little more than displaying and enjoying our own exalted strickenness,” writes one M. S. “This is an activity at which we, as a culture, excel.” (Read more at Washington City Paper.)

Authenticating Picasso

Pablo Picasso could be capricious when it came to authenticating his own work. On one occasion, he refused to sign a canvas he knew he had painted, saying, “I can paint false Picassos just as well as anybody.” On another, he refused to sign an authentic painting, explaining to the woman who had brought it to him, “If I sign it now, I’ll be putting my 1943 signature on a canvas painted in 1922. No, I cannot sign it, madam, I’m sorry.” Even today, forty years after the artist’s death, the question of how his heirs exercise their right under French law to authenticate his work is a knotty one. (Read more at ARTnews.)

What Enters the Public Domain in 2013 as Defined by Copyright Laws?

Although commonly used in copyright parlance, the phrase “public domain” is often misunderstood. Public domain is commonly used to refer to content that is not protected by copyright law. Determining if a work is in the public domain in the United States is fairly complicated due to various factors such as different durations for different works and amendments in US copyright laws. (Read more at

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