College Art Association

CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — May 15, 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.

Cultivating Partnerships in the Digital Humanities

As academics we can be too snug in our institutional silos. We sometimes think of one another as competitors for students, and as a result we duplicate scarce resources in mutually damaging ways. Without more coordinated programs, will we go on teaching the way we have since the Industrial Revolution? Will our students, knowing it doesn’t have to be that way and worried about their future, lose patience with us? The digital humanities provide a context for facing those questions head-on. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

What We’re Not Arguing About

The solutions to the crisis in higher education are still a subject of fierce debate, and I’m happy to see people from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds adding their voices to the conversation. At the same time, I think it’s important to clarify what academics and former academics are and aren’t arguing about. (Read more at Adventures in (Post) Gradland.)

How Long Is the Average Dissertation?

The best part about writing a dissertation is finding clever ways to procrastinate. The motivation for this blog comes from one of the more creative ways I’ve found to keep myself from writing. I’ve posted about data mining in the past, and this post follows up on those ideas using a topic that is relevant to anyone that has ever considered getting, or has successfully completed, their PhD. (Read more at R Is My Friend.)

To Raze or Not? MoMA Rethinks Plan

After impassioned protests from prominent architects, preservationists, and design critics, the Museum of Modern Art said that it would reconsider its decision to demolish its next-door neighbor, the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, to make room for an expansion. In a recent board meeting, the directors were told that a board committee had selected the design firm Diller Scofidio & Renfro to handle the expansion and to help determine whether to keep any of the existing structure. (Read more in the New York Times.)

Help Desk: Ideal Representation

I’ve been meeting with a commercial gallery in my city for some time, and they’ve extended me an offer to come aboard. I’m excited about the idea of professional representation, having a platform to promote myself to a larger audience and further opportunity for sale of work. Some of the work the gallery represents is totally not my style, which is to say, artwork that favors more commercially viable subject matter or style at the cost of exercising any real dynamic or conceptual verve. How much should this influence my decision to join the gallery? (Read more in Daily Serving.)

Thinking about Accreditation in a Rapidly Changing World

Enormous change is under way in higher education, driven by a perfect storm of crisis (around cost, access, quality, and funding), technological innovation and what that innovation makes possible, the growing presence and influence of for-profit providers, abuses (of various kinds), opportunity, and workforce-development needs in a global and technological context. Any one of those challenges might fill an agenda for a commissioners’ retreat or a small conference, but accreditors now wrestle with all of these various forces across a broad landscape of change and urgency. (Read more in Educause Review.)

Counting, Not Curtailing, Adjuncts’ Work

Nowhere does the Law of Unintended Consequences run more rampant than in the field of taxation. That was clearly demonstrated at the Internal Revenue Service’s rule-making hearing on April 23, in the agency’s attempts to craft regulations to impose a steep tax on employers who fail to provide employee health-care coverage required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While most of the twenty-five other witnesses at the hearing represented various employers or organizations, I testified in my personal capacity as an interested citizen who happens to be an adjunct faculty member and former IRS lawyer. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

How Prevalent Is Money Laundering in the Art World?

Recent federal charges against the New York dealer Helly Nahmad included that he worked “to launder tens of millions of dollars on behalf of the illegal gambling business.” While Nahmad has pleaded not guilty to all the charges in the indictment, the accusation raises the questions of whether (and if so why) art would be used in this way. Art lends itself to money laundering because the market’s lack of transparency means art can become what Judge Fausto Martin De Sanctiscalls an “invisible asset.” Values can be manipulated, and complex ownership schemes, with an emphasis on secrecy, are commonplace. (Read more in the Art Newspaper.)

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