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CAA News

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard


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.

Colleges Are Slashing Adjuncts’ Hours to Skirt New Rules on Health-Insurance Eligibility

Allison G. Armentrout, an adjunct instructor at Stark State College, doesn’t get paid by the hour. She earns $4,600 to teach two English composition courses. But now she carefully tracks how many hours she works on an electronic time sheet. On a recent week, she spent three hours preparing for her lectures, close to six hours in the classroom, and sixteen more grading assignments for a grand total of about twenty-five hours. She came in under the college’s new twenty-nine-hour-a-week wire designed to keep her ineligible for health-care coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Women on the Verge

A lady in a bonnet is shaking up the art world. When After Lunch, Berthe Morisot’s portrait of a doe-eyed woman, sold for $10.9 million in February, it set a record as the most expensive work by a female artist ever sold at auction. It also helped power a wave of interest among collectors and dealers looking to identify undervalued female artists. While an age-old debate rages over whether talent, sexism, or lack of promotion has held many women out of the art world’s boys club, everyone agrees that prices for female artists have always lagged behind those of their male counterparts. (Read more in the Wall Street Journal.)

Born Digital: Rhizome’s Heather Corcoran

When Heather Corcoran was appointed executive director of the art and technology nonprofit Rhizome last summer—replacing the long-time director Lauren Cornell, who had resigned in the spring to curate the New Museum’s triennial with Ryan Trecartin—she was an unknown quantity in New York. Nevertheless, her entire career has focused on the overlapping fields of contemporary art and technology (mostly in the United Kingdom), making the twenty-nine-year-old Canadian a good fit for Rhizome. (Read more in Art in America.)

Meet the First Digital Generation. Now Get Ready to Play by Their Rules

Anna Daniszewski, a sophomore at Bard College, takes a dozen or more cell-phone pictures daily, usually around dusk or after dark—moody shots of found objects, bare branches against a gray sky, or lighted windows in the distance, evoking the way sensitive, artistic young men and women have always felt about life. You can totally imagine Goethe doing the same thing, preserving each precious instant of angst for the posterity that would someday recognize his genius. Except Daniszewski doesn’t preserve them all—she is embracing the ephemeral. (Read more in Wired.)

Open Access: Four Ways It Could Enhance Academic Freedom

Are politicians stealing our academic freedom? Is their fetish with open-access publishing leading to a “pay to say” system for the rich? And will the trendy goal of making publicly financed research freely available skew the world of scholarship even further toward the natural sciences? I don’t think so. But it took me a while to get there. (Read more in the Guardian.)

Credit without Teaching

Earlier this year Capella University and the new College for America began enrolling hundreds of students in academic programs without courses, teaching professors, grades, deadlines, or credit-hour requirements, but with a path to genuine college credit. The two institutions are among a growing number that are giving competency-based education a try. Students can earn credit by successfully completing assessments that prove their mastery in predetermined competencies or tasks—maybe writing in a business setting or using a spreadsheet to perform calculations. (Read more at Inside Higher Ed.)

Spirituality and Sprite, Aisle 1? What an Artist Sees in Walmart

Most people would be hard-pressed to call Walmart a source of artistic inspiration. Yet that’s exactly what the artist Brendan O’Connell sees in the sprawling big-box stores. For the past decade, O’Connell has been snapping photographs inside dozens of Walmarts. The images have served as inspiration for an ongoing series of paintings of everyday life—much of which involves shopping, which he calls “that great contemporary pastime.” (Read more from National Public Radio.)

Top 10 Online Colleges Names the “Top 30 Most Beautiful College Art Galleries”

A website dedicated to college rankings, Top 10 Online Colleges, recently named the “30 Most Beautiful College Art Galleries” in the world. The international list is based on qualities such as reputation, location, architecture, history, and artistic culture, making a handy web resource for students to learn more about the role of fine arts in college life. (Read more at BWW Art World.)



Filed under: CAA News

CAA Awarded $20,000 NEA Grant for ARTspace

posted by Nia Page


CAA has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the next ARTspace, taking place during the 2014 Annual Conference in Chicago. Initiated twelve years ago by CAA’s Services to Artists Committee, ARTspace is a forum for presenting programming designed by artists for artists that is free and open to the public. Held at each conference since 2001, ARTspace is intended to reflect the current state of the visual arts and arts education and is among the most vital and exciting aspects of the yearly meeting.

The grant, which is the NEA’s fifth consecutive award to CAA for ARTspace, will help fund ARTexchange, the popular open-portfolio event for artists, and [Meta] Mentors, which has recently addressed such topics as making a living as an artist with and without a dealer. ARTspace programming at the 2013 conference in New York also included several panels on the intersections of art and ethics, law, and social change.

Designed to engage CAA’s artist members as well as the general public, ARTspace offers program sessions free of charge and includes diverse activities such the Annual Artists’ Interviews (most recently with Mira Schor and Janine Antoni); screenings of film, video, and multimedia works; live performances; and papers and presentations that facilitate a conversational yet professional exchange of ideas and practices.

Image: the painter and writer Mira Schor (left) participated in CAA’s Annual Artists’ Interviews, hosted by ARTspace during the 2013 Annual Conference in New York. Schor was interviewed by Stuart Horodner, artistic director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (photograph by Bradley Marks)




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 in North America and around the world.

The CWA Picks for April 2013 are composed of seven significant exhibitions now on view in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, is hosting the traveling retrospective Hilma af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid is presenting a survey of work by Cristina Iglesias, who lives and works in the Spanish capital. Visitors to the British Isles can see daring painting and sculpture in Dorothy Iannone: Innocent and Aware at the Camden Arts Centre in London and extraordinary photographs by Edith Tudor-Hart at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Across the pond, institutions in New York are displaying hybrid drawings by the Italian Pop artist Giosetta Fiorni, video installations and photographs by the Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman, and strikingly innovative prints by the American Impressionist Mary Cassatt.

Check the archive of CWA Picks at the bottom of the page, as several museum and gallery shows listed in previous months may still be on view or touring.

Image: installation view of Cristina Iglesias: Metonymy at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid



Filed under: Committees, Exhibitions

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard


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.

Arts and Humanities Endowments Would Edge Up under Obama’s Budget

Federal funds for the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities would remain stable under President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year. His budget proposal, released last week, would raise each endowment’s budgets by roughly $200,000, to $154.5 million for the coming fiscal year. The two endowments offer grants to colleges for research and fellowships in the arts and humanities, among other activities. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Video of Instructor at USC Sets Off Controversy, but Is Context Missing?

A video of an instructor at the University of Southern California bashing Republicans in class goes viral and is cited as evidence of liberal indoctrination. But critics don’t mention that he was hired as an adjunct instructor for a program that seeks partisans—liberals and conservatives alike. (Read more at Inside Higher Ed.)

How Photographers Joined the Self-Publishing Revolution

Having long since shaken off the kind of stigma that still attaches to, say, self-published fiction, the self-published photobook is currently a mini-phenomenon within the bigger thriving culture of photography book publishing. The wider context for this DIY approach is the availability of relatively cheap digital technology and the attendant rise of social media–led networking, which allows photographers to disseminate, market, and sell their own books without recourse to the traditional artist–publisher relationship. (Read more in the Guardian.)

A Page from Our Handbook: Building Your Internet Presence

Because the internet is contemporary culture’s primary means for communication and information dissemination, having an active online presence is essential for artists. The web continues to rapidly evolve, so what follows are some basic ways to think about building and refining how you represent yourself and your work online. What’s most important is for you to find the best way to communicate the clarity, force, and excellence of your work and put that online. (Read more at Creative Capital.)

Cell Phones in the Classroom: What’s Your Policy

Are we old fuddy-duddies when we ask (demand) students to put away their cell phones in the classroom or clinical areas? Students tell me this is just the way it is now, but I disagree. What is the answer to this problem? Are faculty members being too demanding by placing cell-phone restrictions in syllabi or clinical handbooks? (Read more in Faculty Focus.)

Advocates Say Ethnic Studies Misunderstood, Needlessly under Fire

Ron Scapp, president of the National Association for Ethnic Studies, exited the airplane headed to his annual board meeting last week in Fort Collins, Colorado, ready to galvanize ethnic-studies program chairs from colleges across the country. He said he felt a sense of urgency because there were too many headlines in the news recently that might have detrimental consequences for ethnic-studies programs across the board. (Read more at Diverse Issues in Higher Education.)

Why Not a Two-Tier System?

In recent years, some very smart people—such as Michael Bérubé, Marc Bousquet, Anthony Grafton, and William Pannapacker—have offered their thoughts about how to fix graduate education and, by extension, the academic labor market, which, we all seem to agree, has “unraveled.” I approach this issue from a different perspective: as someone who does not work at a prestigious research university but rather at a two-year teaching college; as someone with several decades of experience on faculty search committees; and as someone who does not hold a PhD but instead something much closer to what Bérubé describes as “a rigorous four-year MA.” (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Pragmatic Advising

My students, especially soon-to-be master’s-degree recipients, frequently ask about whether PhD programs are a good career path. Given the difficulties of this job market, even for students in a professional program who have experience in the field, the prospect of a PhD can seem like a permanent safe harbor. Appearances deceive, though, as a tight academic job market and a deepening reliance on adjuncts make even employment after the PhD a difficult proposition. It’s no surprise, then, that there’s been an increasingly strident pushback to the idea that PhDs are necessary. (Read more at Inside Higher Ed.)



Filed under: CAA News

ArtTable, a national organization dedicated to the visual arts and women’s leadership in the field, launched a year-long series of public programs on April 8 with “The Digitization of the Art World: Are New Media Artists Transforming Art Practice and How We Think About Art Itself?” Heather Corcoran, Executive Director of Rhizome, opened the event at the School of Visual Arts Beatrice Theatre in Manhattan with a historical overview of new media and a description of trends within this practice. Framed by this introduction, panel members described diverse methodologies: Marina Zurkow presented animations and installations that probe the relationship of humans to the rest of the natural world; Wafaa Bilal, an artist displaced from Iraq after two wars and now living in New York, described his confrontational, interactive performance piece Domestic Intention (2008); and Brad Troemel discussed his relationship to art-making as a subversion of the gallery/museum complex through the remediation of images in the open space of the internet.

I attended this presentation with the College Art Association’s executive director, Linda Downs, to gain further understanding of how artists understand and consider rights in the works they produce, particularly as it relates to fair use. Unfortunately, little mention was made of this concept during presentations. Nor was it defined in any depth during the panel’s wide-ranging opinions about ownership. Alexandra Darraby of the Art Law Firm, whose practice focuses on guiding creators towards licensing their works, was the final presenter prior to the panel discussion. Darraby’s presentation only briefly acknowledged that fair use exists, even though it is an important part of the Copyright Act. Rather, she referred repeatedly to creators having a monopoly on their works, and asserted the need for artists to ensure that their work is properly licensed so that it can be monetized and protected. Those in the audience without knowledge of their legal right to reuse a copyrighted work under certain conditions could not have left the presentation with a sense of that possibility. While Darraby’s postulated thesis adheres to some works created by, on, or through the internet, it did not represent the full range of legal advice for artists.

For example, Zurkow’s work makes use of ActionScript coding that she develops with programmers. In Mesocsom (Wink, Texas) (2012), thousands of lines of script create a dynamic scene that changes based on constraints such as season or time of day. This type of complex, collaborative project should define the roles and rights of the participants to clarify future use of the project and any financial benefit that might derive from it. A polar opposite legal assumption is found in the work of Troemel, who upends the idea of ownership, like many of his generation, through constant reframing of material found on the internet. Troemel articulates his vision through his writing: “On one hand exists a utopian vision for art on the Internet, a world where intellectual property is part of a commons, where authorship is synonymous with viewership, and where the boundary between art and everyday life is fluid” (“Art After Social Media,” lecture given at MoMA PS1, March 22, 2012). Zurkow’s and Troemel’s distinct approaches are only two examples in which an understanding of fair use might benefit both creator and user.

The College Art Association is working to define a balanced consideration of fair use principles through its Task Force on Fair Use, supported by the long-standing CAA Committee on Intellectual Property. Recently awarded a preliminary grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and a multi-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CAA embarked last fall on a comprehensive research project to identify and disseminate best practices in the fair use of copyrighted works under current U.S. law. The resultant code will represent the ways in which creators and their works are protected by law and act as a guide for when and how a copyrighted work may be reused by another artist or by a scholar, teacher, or museum professional. The project will include interviews and focus groups comprising representatives from every corner of the arts community and will be carried out by Pat Aufderheide, University Professor and Director, Center for Social Media, School of Communication, American University; and Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic of the Washington College of Law, American University. Consultants to the project include Gretchen Wagner, formerly General Counsel, ARTstor; Jeffrey Cunard, CAA Counsel and Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Virginia Rutledge, art historian and copyright lawyer; and Maureen Whalen, Associate General Counsel, J. Paul Getty Trust.

ArtTable should be applauded for posing complex questions in a public forum. Answers to the problems faced by artists in considering authorship, collaborative work, open source, and the purpose and value of art today aren’t easily answered. In a post to Rhizome’s events page, Meredith Niemczyk posed a question about this presentation: Are there new strategic, economic, and legal models for applying protections in digital art without stifling originality? (Rhizome Community Announcements, Monday, March 25, 2013, http://rhizome.org/announce/events/59353/view/) The answer to this question is yes. The qualification of this answer must be defined in such a way to promote creativity while protecting ownership rights and the fair use of works by third parties.

ArtTable’s next panel, “How Are Museums Using Digital Technology to Advance Education and Exhibition Practices?” takes place on Monday, June 24, 6:00 p.m., at the Sony Wonder Lab, 550 Madison Avenue.



News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard


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.

AAUP Releases 2012–13 Salary Survey

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has released its new salary survey, called Here’s the News: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012–13. The AAUP’s annual report is the premier source for data on full-time faculty salaries, and this year’s document also provides updates on pay and working conditions for colleagues in contingent appointments. (Read more from the American Association of University Professors.)

From Math Teacher to Adult Film Extra: The Unexpected Early Jobs of Thirty Art Stars

Everyone started out somewhere—including your favorite art stars. Some of the biggest names in the visual arts came from surprisingly humble beginnings, and we’ve picked out thirty of the most telling examples of artists who had less-than-glamorous jobs while pursuing their craft. Sometimes, this exercise actually yields serious insight into the styles they became known for, sometimes not. In every case, though, it gives a window into the life behind the work. (Read more at Blouin Artinfo.)

The National Digital Public Library Is Launched

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), to be launched on April 18, is a project to make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans—and eventually to everyone in the world—online and free of charge. How is that possible? In order to answer that question, I would like to describe the first steps and immediate future of the DPLA. But before going into detail, I think it important to stand back and take a broad view of how such an ambitious undertaking fits into the development of what we commonly call an information society. (Read more in the New York Review of Books.)

Scholars Increasingly Use Online Resources, Survey Finds, but They Value Traditional Formats Too

Scholars continue to get more comfortable with electronic-only journals, and they increasingly get access to the material they want via digital channels, including internet search engines and more-specific discovery tools provided by academic libraries. When it comes time to publish their own research, though, faculty members still seek out journals with the highest prestige and the widest readership in their fields, whether or not those journals are electronic and make articles free online. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)

The scientists who were recruited to appear at a conference called Entomology-2013 thought they had been selected to make a presentation to the leading professional association of scientists who study insects. But they found out the hard way that they were wrong. The prestigious, academically sanctioned conference they had in mind has a slightly different name: Entomology 2013 (without the hyphen). The one they had signed up for featured speakers who were recruited by email, not vetted by leading academics. Those who agreed to appear were later charged a hefty fee for the privilege, and pretty much anyone who paid got a spot on the podium that could be used to pad a résumé. (Read more in the New York Times.)

To Salvage and Sell?

After Superstorm Sandy hit New York City last October, the conservator Gloria Velandia’s studio was littered with hundreds of damaged works of art. But whether she repaired a work depended not so much on the extent of the damage, but on whether or not she received approval to proceed from the insurance company paying the bill. “It’s a decision made by the insurance adjusters,” Velandia says, and they might decide it’s cheaper instead to declare a work “a total loss” and pay out its insured value. (Read more in the Art Newspaper.)

How Many Light Bulbs Does It Take to Discolor a van Gogh?

Last year, conservators at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam noticed that areas of bright yellow paint in many of the artist’s works, such as Sunflowers, were turning shades of green and brown. To find out why, they teamed up with scientists at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. Online news reports claimed that the scientists found prolonged exposure to LED lights to be the cause of the darkening. That conclusion, however, is inaccurate. (Read more in ARTnews.)

Fighting the Fear

Seeking to rouse their colleges to stand up against inadequate compensation and working conditions, adjunct instructors and labor activists at the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers conference collided with the concern that speaking out could be worse than keeping quiet. But in searching for solutions that would inspire instructors off the tenure track to overcome that fear, speakers at the conference cast about for cultural and historical analogies without seeming to settle on a specific one. (Read more at Inside Higher Ed.)



Filed under: CAA News

ITHAKA S + R has surveyed U.S. faculty members at four-year colleges and universities every three years since 2000 to determine practices and attitudes related to faculty research methods, teaching, and opinions about resource providers—libraries, archives and scholarly societies. The latest survey was presented April 8, 2013 at the Coalition for Networked Information. ITHAKA S + R: http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/us-faculty-survey-2012.

CAA sent the survey to its members who are art historians. In the past ITHAKA concentrated only on humanities, social science and science faculty. Thus, artists are unfortunately not represented in this survey since it is the government’s definition of the humanities that places artistic practice in the arts only, even though in reality it is part of the concept of the humanities.

Research Practices: The survey shows that there is increasing reliance on specific electronic research resources and general purpose search engines on the internet as compared to the online catalog of libraries and use of the library building. Yet, 78% of the journals and books routinely used are found in local college and university libraries. The majority of respondents also seek out freely available online resources.

Audiences for Faculty Research: 90% of humanities faculty and 95% of art historians believe that the audience for their research is scholars in their subdisciplines. Only 35% indicated that there is a public audience for their research. And yet 52% believe their research is important for a general public audience. 50% of art historians also believe that their research is important for an undergraduate audience.

Need for Scholarly Societies: The primary way that 71% of the respondents “keep up” with current scholarship in their field is by attending conferences and workshops.

Academic Publishing: The three most important characteristics of an academic journal that are important to art historians are 1) the journal has a high impact factor (85%); 2) the current issues of the journal are circulated widely, and are well read by scholars in the field (80%); 3) the journal’s area of coverage is close to the immediate area of research (75%); and 4) the journal permits scholars to publish articles for free, without paying page or article charges (72%).

The most highly valued activities performed by academic publishers by humanities faculty are 1) associating work with a reputable brand that signals its quality (70%); 2) providing professional copy-editing and lay-out of the work (65%); and 3) managing the peer review process to provide high-quality feedback to vet and improve the work (70%). Art historians in particular see the greatest value in 1) associating the work with a reputable brand (71%); 2) managing the peer review process; and 3) providing professional copy-editing and lay-out (all at 65%). The humanities faculty in general continues to rely on scholarly publishers as opposed to those in the sciences. Only 11% of art historians agreed with the statement: “Scholarly publishers have been rendered less important to my process of communicating scholarly knowledge by my increasing ability to share my work directly with peers online.”

Role of the Library: Faculty perceives the role of the library primarily as a buyer and repository of resources and less as a teaching facilitator. When asked whose responsibility it is to teach undergraduates how to locate and evaluate scholarly information, 42% of faculty believe it is their responsibility and 24% believe it is the library’s responsibility.

Transition to Online Journals: The increased interest on the part of humanities faculty in online journals declined from 60% in 2009 to 55% in 2012. There were also slight declines in the social sciences and sciences in this regard. 30% of humanities faculty are “…happy to see hard copy collections discarded and replaced entirely by electronic collections,” compared to 48% of social sciences and 47% of sciences. With regard to repositories of hard copy journals, 68% of humanities faculty agree that “…it will always be crucial for some libraries to maintain hard-copy collections of journals.” As CAA begins the transition to online journals, it will be important to stay informed on how faculty utilizes journals online and the value placed on online and print journals.

Scholarly Societies: Scholarly societies remain important to humanities faculty. 80% of art historians who responded to the survey were members of the primary society for their field and 72% were also members of other scholarly societies.

The most highly valued functions of scholarly societies are conferences, information on fellowships and jobs, peer-reviewed publications and advocacy for the field’s values and policy priorities. The conference is important as a source of hearing about new research by peers, socializing and networking, learning about new technologies and engaging in broad discussion about the state of the discipline (in that order). This information confirms the findings of CAA membership surveys.



Filed under: Research, Surveys

Flying over the Grand Canyon after a meeting at the University of Washington with digital humanities faculty and marveling at the fractal-like patterns that moving water has sculpted out of solid rock, made me think of the slow but steady impact digital humanities centers and institutes are having on academic structure of research and evaluation. Project by project new research tools, interdisciplinary and collaborative research and new approaches to problems at these centers are altering the once rock-solid academic structures of research, peer review and evaluation.

The Scholarly Communications Institute (SCI) http://uvasci.org/ called a meeting on March 11 and 12 in partnership with the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) http://chcinetwork.org/ and centerNet http://digitalhumanities.org/centernet/ an international organization of digital humanities centers with a focus on the topic of “Rethinking Humanities Graduate Education.” The meeting focused on developing pilot projects that would leverage the specific strengths of CHCI and center Net. Possible consortial courses and cross-institutional cohorts of scholars were two of the many ideas presented. Individuals from 15 universities and the American Association of Museum Directors, the New York Council for the Humanities and College Art Association. (For a summary of the meetings and a participants list see: http://uvasci.org/)

Digital humanities centers, institutes and computing centers have been an important presence at universities since the 1990’s first as resources to provide technical assistance to students and faculty and now as strong academic centers of intellectual activity unto themselves offering courses, research products, developing frameworks and digital tools, fellowships, and public programs. Each center has a different disciplinary and technological focus depending on their original mission and purpose. Many of the centers grew out of language, literature and history disciplines. Now the commonality is in method and approach rather than specific disciplinary content or theory. Visual arts projects are being developed in DH centers by graduate students and faculty who have been working on cross-disciplinary research projects.

Computing centers such as the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Center offer digital tools, one-on-one assistance in developing a project and introductory courses on organizing collaborative digitalinitiatives. The University of Virginia’s Scholar’s Lab http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/scholarslab/ offers students technical assistance on digital research to advanced students and faculty, graduate fellowships, workshops, and the opportunity to work on collaborative digital projects. The programs at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University are targeted to teachers and faculty of history with a huge number of online resources as well as sponsoring dozens of digital history projects as well as free tools such as Zotero, a research tool to help gather, organize and analyze data and images. The concept for THAT Camp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) held at the College Art Association Annual Conference in New York which focused on digital tools, data bases and collaborative projects in art history this past February, originated with Columbia University Libraries and Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Plans are to offer THAT Camps at the CAA Annual Conference again in Chicago next February 2014. The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture grew out of film and media studies. Their multimedia research and publishing platform, Scalar has been utilized for the anniversary projects of  CAA’s The Art Bulletin (“Publishing The Art Bulletin: http://scalar.usc.edu/anvc/the-art-bulletin/index developed by Thelma Thomas at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and of caa.reviews by Sheryl Reiss at the University of Southern California.

Other well established digital humanities centers offer digital resources, publications, programs and tools. The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities http://mith.umd.edu/, as their website indicates, “ is jointly supported by the University of Maryland College of Arts and Humanities and the University of Maryland Libraries, MITH engages in collaborative, interdisciplinary work at the intersection of technology and humanistic inquiry. MITH specializes in text and image analytics for cultural heritage collections, data curation, digital preservation, linked data applications, and data publishing.” (While I was attending the SCI Anne Collins Goodyear, CAA President was presenting at MITH on her digital curatorial work at the National Portrait Gallery.)

The wide-ranging discussions touched upon collaborating on introductory courses for first year graduate students; changing standards to assist in evaluating collaborative digital projects and dissertations and promotion and tenure; how DH can contribute to lowering the time-to-degree; interdisciplinary collaboration; developing shared meaning between humanities researchers and technologists unfamiliar with the humanities; teaching basic skills required for digital research and analysis in either keystone or capstone courses;  and assessing the role that DH centers provide to graduate students who are considering non-faculty career alternatives.  Ideas came forward on how the academy can introduce non-faculty career options to graduate students from shadowing professionals to internships at museum and non-profit public service institutions where they can apply the knowledge gained in graduate school.

There was general agreement on offering keystone courses on basic programming, how to approach a collaborative digital research project, and database organization and analysis. The University of Victoria Computing Center offers introductory courses in utilizing digital tools to entry level graduate students and to students who sign up for summer courses, or 5 day courses at learned society conferences.

The new standards mentioned at the meeting for evaluation of digital scholarship included the Modern Language Association’s Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media http://www.mla.org/guidelines_evaluation_digital and the digital dissertation guidelines at George Mason University http://historyarthistory.gmu.edu/graduate/rules-guidelines that were established in 2000. Tara McPherson, Associate Professor, School of Cinematic Arts at USC indicated that her graduate students are submitting digital dissertations but still feel compelled to provide approximately 120 pages of written and printed documentation on the process of building the digital tools that they used for research and analysis to the dissertation review committees. Tara also emphasized that her students, enter her program highly skilled in the use of digital technology and are able to devote greater effort in content study.

According to the Humanities Indicators statistics on time-to-degree for tertiary degrees in the humanities in the US is 10.93 years. The United States is ranked fifth internationally (behind Germany at 17 years, Japan, Hungary and Korea) http://www.humanitiesindicators.org/content/hrcoIIB.aspx#topII14 . Todd  Presner, Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies and Chair of the Digital Humanities Program at UCLA floated a concept which became shortened throughout the day and a half meeting as “the twenty-year dissertation.” The idea is not to lengthen the time-to-degree average but to develop one collaborative digital project that several graduate students would work on in part. Each student could develop facets of a major problem that could encompass several disciplines and they could also contribute to enhancing the digital tools that could expand research, analysis and construction of databases.

The time-to-degree issue also raised the question of what is expected of DH graduate students. Are faculty expecting new knowledge or is the expectation that graduate students master problem solving, project organization and leadership qualities to prepare them for faculty positions or for non-academic positions where they can apply their academic knowledge on a daily basis? The reality check was the question as to how many current dissertations actually produce new knowledge.

Kevin Franklin, Executive  Director, Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed cross-disciplinary projects where shared meaning is developed between programmers and framework and platform builders who are coming from STEM and humanities disciplines.  I-CHASS is also reaching out to governmental policy makers in the Americas to provide collaborative projects that address major global challenges related to the environment, educations and cultural preservation where STEM and humanities researchers are collaborating with international government entities. Two projects that involve image recognition will be presented at future CAA Annual Conferences.

CAA will be seeking opportunities to bring DH courses, workshops and presentations of new digital tools and visual arts research projects to future annual conferences. We hope to find support for more open access publications such as The Art Bulletin and caa.reviews digital projects on the Scalar open access publishing platform.  In the meantime, for those who are unfamiliar with the offerings of DH centers, I would recommend visiting the DH centers at your colleges and universities or reading up on DH in the latest issue of Visual Resources: An International Journal of Documentation (29:1-2) and Debates in the Digital Humanities, Ed. Matthew Gold, University of Minnesota Press, 2012 (and check out the review of this book by Paul Jaskot also in the latest issue of Visual  Resources).



March 2013 Issue of The Art Bulletin Published

posted by Christopher Howard


The March 2013 issue of The Art Bulletin, the leading publication of international art-historical scholarship, launches the celebration of its centennial year. Gracing the cover is a photograph by the artist Martha Rosler that depicts the installation of her traveling library at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris in 2007. Karen Lang, the journal’s editor-in-chief, writes of this image: “These days … it remains unclear whether a ‘library user’ would hunker down with a book or nestle in for a session on a laptop…. Rosler invites us to consider how we interact with books. Her artwork makes us conscious of this activity and of the status of the book itself.”

In a brief essay, Craig Clunas ponders the conditions of seeing and description in “Regarding Art and Art History.” This issue’s “Notes from the Field” features short essays on the topic of materiality by Rosler, Caroline Walker Bynum, Natasha Eaton, Michael Ann Holly, Amelia Jones, Michael Kelly, Robin Kelsey, Alisa LaGamma, Monika Wagner, Oliver Watson, and Tristan Weddigen. The March interview brings Svetlana Alpers, professor emerita of history of art at the University of California, Berkeley, into conversation with her fellow scholar Stephen Melville.

In the opening essay, “Meaningful Spectacles: Gothic Ivories Staging the Divine,” Sarah M. Guérin uncovers the strategic use of microarchitectural frames in sacred ivory carvings of thirteenth-century Western Europe. Next, in the evocatively titled “Ingres’s Shadows,” Sarah Betzer demonstrates how the nineteenth-century French artist’s depictions of ancient sculpture for the publication Museé français relate to philosophical considerations of sensory experience, revealing the distinctly modern terms of its allure for the artist.

Paul Smith examines the perspectival distortions in Paul Cézanne’s paintings and the political implications of his repudiation of perspective, that is, the rejection of spectacle as the normative form of visual experience in modern life. Yi Gu’s essay “What’s in a Name?” studies the appellations of photography that circulated in China between 1840 and 1911 to trace the emergence of a new understanding of visual truth in Chinese art. Finally, Leora Maltz-Leca explores relations between William Kentridge’s ambulatory animation process and local imagery of striding figures as allegories of political regime change in South Africa.

The books under review in this issue represent a broad cross-section of art-historical scholarship. Robert H. Sharf examines Secrets of the Sacred: Empowering Buddhist Images in Clear, in Code, and in Cache, a collection of lectures delivered by the late scholar Helmut Brinker at the Spencer Museum of Art. An-Yi Pan assesses The Night Banquet: A Chinese Scroll through Time by De-nin D. Lee, the first book-length study on a well-known handscroll, and Leo G. Mazow evaluates Elizabeth Hutchinson’s The Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturalism in American Art, 1890–1915. John Ott’s review considers three recent books on race and art: Kirsten Pai Buick’s Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject; Renée Ater’s Remaking Race and History: The Sculpture of Meta Warrick Fuller; and Jacqueline Francis’s Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America.

CAA sends The Art Bulletin to all institutional members and to those individuals who choose to receive the journal as a benefit of their membership. The next issue of the quarterly publication, to appear in June 2013, will feature essays on, among other topics, institutional art history in the mid-twentieth century through the lens of H. W. Janson’s classic survey text History of Art.



Filed under: Art Bulletin, Publications

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard


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.

ARTstor to Help Launch the Digital Public Library of America

ARTstor is partnering with the Digital Public Library of America to provide access to more than ten thousand high-quality images from six leading museums. In addition to linking to the original contributing museum’s own website, each DPLA record will link to the image in Open ARTstor, a new ARTstor initiative that allows users to view and download large versions of public-domain images. (Read more from the Digital Public Library of America.)

The Etiquette of Accepting a Job Offer

The academic job market is overcrowded, but departments are hiring, and each year thousands of graduate students and other candidates will get phone calls offering them tenure-track positions. It is typically a moment of mutual giddiness. The department heads are excited at the prospect of a terrific new colleague; the job applicants now know that their immediate future is assured. Then, well, complications may ensue. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Help Desk: Juried Shows

I am a painter who recently graduated from art school but haven’t had much gallery experience, and I was interested in submitting work to some juried shows as a way of gaining some experience and making some new connections. Could you offer some advice on finding reputable juried shows to apply to? (Read more at Daily Serving.)

Having “The Talk”

Anyone considering joining the alt-ac job market will eventually tell his or her academic colleagues that he or she might be jumping off the tenure-track train. For graduate students this will often mean having “the talk” with their advisers. There are several reasons why it is important to seek your adviser’s support, even for an alt-ac career. (Read more at Inside Higher Ed.)

How Can We Reimagine Arts Schools?

Perhaps what was most thrilling and unexpected about the meeting of 250 arts leaders at the “3 Million Stories” conference was an emerging sense of urgency and excitement about the need to think seriously about how arts schools and training institutions—especially at the collegiate level—might reimagine themselves and respond to changes in how creative work is done and the nature of creative careers. In short, who will invent the twenty-first-century arts school? (Read more at Barry’s Blog.)

STEM and Liberal Arts: Frenemies of the State

When I was getting ready for college, I knew I was going to pursue a degree in some area of science; I never even considered a liberal-arts degree. To be honest, I did my best to not take any liberal-arts courses I didn’t need to. These classes were at odds with my science, and I didn’t want to waste my time on something I wasn’t going to use. (Read more at Plos.)

Sotheby’s Controversial Sale of Precolumbian Artifacts Yields Low Sales Figures and Highlights the Increased Efforts of Countries to Repatriate Artifacts

Last week’s sale of Precolumbian artifacts predominantly from the Barbier-Mueller collection, conducted at Sotheby’s in Paris, proved an anticlimactic end to a controversial story. Though estimated to bring in $19 to 23 million, the sale only made $13.3 million, and 165 of the 313 lots were unsold. An unwelcome spotlight had been fixed on the sale, as four countries—Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, and Costa Rica—demanded return of artifacts that were allegedly stolen from their borders decades before. (Read more at the Center for Art Law.)

Managing Your Online Time

Over the course of a teaching day, most faculty members find themselves on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, iTunes, Blackboard (or its competitors), blogs, and email. We manage a steady stream of online demands. Yet one of the most frequent complaints from students is that their instructors have “no online presence.” (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)



Filed under: CAA News

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