CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Feb 06, 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.

Classroom Meets Gallery

At the Yale University Art Gallery, a sunny new fourth-floor gallery was filled recently with a collection of artworks highly unlikely ever to meet in such proximity again. What thread could possibly unite these works? Not a purely curatorial one, of course, but a thread that wends its way through the often wonderfully murky territory where art appreciation meets education. The room, the Levin Study Gallery, is given over to professors—from art history but also from African American studies, South Asian studies, and gender and sexuality studies, among others—who choose pieces from Yale’s vast collection to serve as teaching tools. (Read more in the New York Times.)

Draft Document on Open Review Practices and Possibilities

In April 2011, MediaCommons and New York University Press jointly received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a yearlong study of open review practices and possibilities. The document that follows is a draft of the white paper that will serve as the grant’s primary outcome. (Read more at MediaCommons Press.)

Publishers and Library Groups Spar in Appeal to Ruling on Electronic Course Reserves

Fair use and electronic course reserves are back in court. A keenly watched copyright case that pitted three academic publishers against Georgia State University has entered the appeals phase, with a flurry of filings and motions this week and more expected soon. One surprise motion came from the United States Department of Justice, which requested more time to consider filing an amicus brief either in support of the publishers or in support of neither party. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

An Art Installation Made of the Cable News Crawl

We’re constantly inundated with news. Just look at your Twitter feed. We hop from North Korea to Top Chef to productivity tips without a second’s thought. But it’s strange, if you really think about it, that we process the world’s news as indiscriminately as sticking our fingers into every dish on a buffet. And That’s the Way It Is explores this idea of media inundation. By Ben Rubin, it’s a media installation at the University of Texas that scans closed-captioned chirons during the nightly news and projects those hot topics onto a building. (Read more at Fast Company.)

Major Art Museum Group Bolsters Rules for Acquiring Ancient Art

The ethics for adding ancient works to American art museum collections became substantially more stringent five years ago when the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) decided to set the bar higher—prompted by complaints from Italy, Greece, and other ancient lands that museums had long turned a blind eye to evidence that pieces they owned had been looted from archaeological sites. Last month, the group announced a few more subtle tweaks to those guidelines, including requiring a public explanation on the AAMD’s website if a museum decides to acquire a piece despite gaps in its ownership record going back to fall 1970. (Read more in the Los Angeles Times.)

A Bronx Post Office, Home to Ben Shahn Murals, Could Be Sold

A landmark post office in the Bronx that contains thirteen Depression-era murals by the famed New Jersey artist Ben Shahn could be put up for sale. The proposal to sell the Bronx General Post Office on the Grand Concourse was outlined in a letter from the postal service to the Bronx borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr. (Read more at

A New Way Forward

While some American art museums receive some government support, most depend on three main sources of money: (1) earned income from admissions, retail, restaurants, and the like; (2) revenue drawn from their endowments; and (3) annual contributions, which too often provide the largest part. In lean times, those donations tend to drop or level off—forcing cuts in staff, programming, and other costs or, sometimes, an increase in debt—and if Washington ever caps the tax deductibility of charitable donations, as many politicians want, it will make matters worse. (Read more in the Wall Street Journal.)

Curator, Tear Down These Walls

A modest proposal for this country’s great repositories of pre–twentieth-century American art: why don’t you, as Diana Vreeland might have asked, mix folk art in with the more realistic, academically correct kind that has so dominated museums since the nineteenth century? Despite rising interest in and scholarship about folk art—and even after the wholesale rethinking of several major American wings on the East Coast—the isolation of folk from academic is still the norm. (Read more in the New York Times.)

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