College Art Association

CAA News Today

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.

Art Collection Assessed as Detroit Nears Bankruptcy

As the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy case survived its first legal challenges in federal court, the Detroit Institute of Arts remains at the center of a national debate over what city-owned property can and should be liquidated to help cover its estimated $18 billion debt. At some point in the past two months, Christie’s auction house sent two employees to Detroit to assess the collection. The employees did not meet with museum leadership during their visit. (Read more in the Art Newspaper.)

Embargoes for Dissertations?

The American Historical Association has released a policy calling on history departments and university libraries to allow students to place embargoes on the online versions of PhD dissertations in the field for up to six years. The association says that such a policy is needed to enable new PhDs to successfully publish books based on their dissertations. But some historians are upset about the proposal, which they say isn’t needed and runs counter to the scholarly mission of sharing research findings. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Publishing Your Dissertation Online: What’s a New PhD to Do?

The American Historical Association recently released a controversial statement that strongly advised graduate programs and libraries to adopt a policy allowing the embargoing of the publication of completed dissertations online for up to six years. Supporters argue that it protects junior authors, given that in the current academic climate a completed and published single-authored monograph continues to be the standard for tenure and promotion. Opponents counter with several arguments, such as making the dissertation research public allows the junior scholar to gain credit for his or her work. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Jeffrey Deitch Resigns as Head of Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Jeffrey Deitch has made it official: he’ll be stepping down after a stormy three years as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The museum’s board said it had launched a search for his successor. Deitch told the board of his decision to leave at a recent meeting, according to an official statement. “He will stay on to ensure a smooth transition and the successful completion” of a campaign begun in March to boost the museum’s endowment to $100 million. (Read more in the Los Angeles Times.)

From Art Book to iPad App: Josef Albers’s Classic Work Undergoes a “Magical” Transformation

Interaction of Color—Josef Albers’s iconic book that taught legions of students and professionals alike how to think creatively about color—has been given a modern makeover as an iPad app, just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of its publication by Yale University Press. The app, which combines Albers’s traditional teaching methods with twenty-first-century technology, was created by the press and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and developed by Potion, an award-winning design and technology firm specializing in interactive experiences. (Read more in Yale News.)

Genres, Like Sand, Tricky to Pin Down

It is pitch dark as you are swallowed up in a crowd of unknowable size, voices chanting and burbling around you, bodies jostling close by. There is no way to know how big the room is, where you are going, or whether you are about to collide with a wall or a human. It is Tino Sehgal’s This Variation, and as your eyes adjust, performers become slowly visible, moving amid the crowd, dancing and singing or pausing to talk about money and jobs. (Read more in the New York Times.)

Is the Australian Resale Royalty Scheme Benefiting Indigenous Artists?

Australia’s artist resale royalty scheme, which came into effect in June 2010 and is currently being reviewed, seems to be offering increased protection to indigenous artists, with 60 percent of the artists who have been paid royalties being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Indeed, one of the driving forces behind the introduction of the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Bill was to improve the welfare of indigenous artists. (Read more in the Art Newspaper.)

Union Raises for Adjuncts

When adjuncts push to unionize, they typically want better pay, better benefits (or any benefits if they don’t have them), and job security. With unionization drives spreading, a key question is: does collective bargaining yield meaningful gains? The results of numerous initial contracts suggest the answer is “Yes.” Negotiations on first contracts can take six months or more, but gains in those contracts frequently include significant pay increases and other, nonfinancial benefits. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Filed under: CAA News

The new issue of Art Journal, which features Burn the Diaries, an artist’s project by Moyra Davey, is the first in the editorship of Lane Relyea.

Essays consider topics such as role of the art critic in the emerging art market of China ca. 1990, the 1970s Tee Pee Video Space Troupe of the artist Shirley Clarke, obscurity and stillness in current film-based installations, and ethnicity in Marcel’s Duchamp’s gender-bending alter ego, Rrose Sélavy.

An essay by Michael Jay McClure on the work of Trisha Donnelly, titled “If It Need Be Termed Surrender,” has been published as free content on the Art Journal website, along with Maymanah Farat’s review of the exhibition and publication The Fertile Crescent.

Filed under: Art Journal, Publications

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 Rise of the Machines: NEH and the Digital Humanities, the Early Years

Stephen Mitchell suffered from allergies. “When the trees come out, I can’t see. People stand around saying, ‘Isn’t it lovely,’ but I weep,” he told the New York Times in 1965. A thirty-five-year-old professor at Syracuse University, he found sanctuary in the temperature-controlled environment of the school’s computer center, where he surprised many people by showing how computers could be used to advance work in the humanities. (Read more in Humanities.)

Well-Marked Paths to Tenure Put New Professors at Ease

Peter Seldin has visited more than 350 colleges as a consultant specializing in faculty evaluation. At nearly every one, he says, young faculty members have the same problem: “They are scared to death.” The reason, he says, is that unclear expectations about tenure generate apprehension among tenure-track faculty members who are worried their careers might stall or jump the rails. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

AHA Statement on Policies regarding the Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations

In its June 2013 meeting, the AHA Council drafted a statement on policies regarding best practices for embargoing completed history PhD dissertations. “The American Historical Association,” the document begins, “strongly encourages graduate programs and university libraries to adopt a policy that allows the embargoing of completed history PhD dissertations in digital form for as many as six years.” (Read more from the American Historical Association.)

Detroit Art Caught in Bankruptcy Battle

Detroit, which became the largest city to declare bankruptcy in United States history, is home to one of the most prestigious collections of art in the world. And one of the options on the table to deal with its crippling debt is for all of that to be sold. But it’s not so simple. To Rod Spencer, the Detroit Institute of Arts is priceless. “The DIA is the history of Detroit. That’s what it means to me,” he said. (Read more from CBS News.)

Does Art Help the Economy?

An unexpected upshot in the wake of Britain’s latest spending review was the fate of the culture budget—it avoided a pummeling. What might be considered an easy target in a time of austerity emerged relatively unscathed, with only a 5 percent decrease in funding from £472 million to £451 million. The arts world had already been hit by a 30 percent cut meted out in the 2010 budget and had been waiting to find out whether they might be granted a reprieve at this latest round of belt-tightening. This time, advocates for arts funding breathed a collective sigh of relief, with the budget reduction described as a “best-case scenario.” (Read more in the Atlantic.)

LACMA, Broad, and Other Art Museums Work to Put Storage on Display

Behind an art museum’s gleaming galleries lies the off-limits and uninviting space that can hold as much as 95 percent of its collection: storage. These spaces are often packed with hundreds or even thousands of paintings, decorative art objects, and other artifacts that can languish, unappreciated and untouched by curators, for years. But as a way to bring art out from its underbelly and display more of a museum’s possessions, several institutions are embracing “visible storage” in public areas, exhibiting the art without the expense of a spacious, beautifully installed and curated show. (Read more in the Los Angeles Times.)

Smithsonian Institution Grapples with Maintenance of Its Growing Inventory

The world’s largest museum complex is bursting with stuff, from elephants to first-lady gowns, biological specimens to space shuttles. Now, the Smithsonian Institution is grappling with a long-term challenge: how to maintain the 137 million items in its collection. Last week the Committee on House Administration held a collections stewardship hearing to discuss challenges to implementing a maintenance plan to care for the art, archival footage, and dinosaur bones. (Read more in the Washington Post.)

Art Education Fails to Paint a Pretty Picture

The views of older men of painting are often dismissed as out-of-touch and old-fashioned, harking back to a mythical golden age. But the critical remarks made by the acclaimed artist Ken Currie, in advance of his first exhibition in over ten years—Meditations on Portraiture at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery—warrant consideration. He raises serious questions about the problems with art schools today. (Read more in the Scotsman.)

Filed under: CAA News

Americans for the Arts sent the following email on July 23, 2013.

House Subcommittee Cuts the NEA by 49 Percent

Today, the US House of Representatives Interior Appropriations Subcommittee approved its initial FY 2014 funding legislation, which includes a proposed cut of $71 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This would bring funding of the NEA down to $75 million, a level not seen since 1974!

Please take two minutes to send a customizable message to your members of Congress rejecting these dramatic cuts to NEA funding.

While the subcommittee bill includes a 20 percent reduction in total spending as a part of the House budget plan, the proposed cuts of 49 percent to the NEA are significantly disproportionate. The arts community recognizes the challenges our elected leaders face in prioritizing federal resources, but funding for the NEA has already been cut by more than $29 million over the past three years. These disproportionate cuts recall the dramatic decline of federal funding for the arts in the early 90s, from which the agency has still not recovered.

In her statement during today’s markup, senior appropriator Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) said these cuts “harken back to a time when a misguided war on the arts and culture ignored the educational and cultural benefits they provide our communities.”

Final FY 2013 (includes 5 percent sequester cut)

National Endowment for the Arts: $138.4 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $138.4 million

FY 2014 President’s Request

National Endowment for the Arts: $154.466 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $154.466 million

FY 2014 House Subcommittee Proposal

National Endowment for the Arts: $75 million
National Endowment for the Humanities: $75 million

This is just the first step in an annual appropriations process, which this year appears to be heading toward a dysfunctional ending. It is expected that the full House Appropriations Committee will consider this legislation next week; however, as the Senate and the House have vastly different appropriations levels, it remains unclear whether this bill will reach the House floor or a final version will ever be completed with the Senate. A message from you now registering your concerns with your member of Congress would be well-timed to arrive prior to any possible next step in the appropriations process.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, you can play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today—it’s free and easy to join.

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by July 23, 2013

In its regular roundup of obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, photographers, scholars, architects, educators, museum directors, and others whose work has significantly influenced the visual arts. Notable deaths this summer include the artist Sarah Charlesworth and the former Museum of Modern Art director John Hightower. In addition, CAA has published a special obituary on Jens T. Wollesen, a historian of the art of medieval Italy and Cyprus who taught at the University of Toronto for many years.

  • Gabriele Basilico, a prominent Italian photographer of architecture and urban landscapes, died on February 13, 2013. He was 68
  • George Paul Horse Capture Sr., former deputy assistant director for cultural resources at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and later senior counselor to its director, died on April 16, 2013. Also known as Nay Gyagya Nee (Spotted Otter), he was 75 years old
  • Sarah Charlesworth, an artist and photographer associated with the Pictures Generation, died on June 25, 2013, at the age of 66
  • Alex Colville, a celebrated Canadian painter who depicted realistic scenes of everyday life, passed away on July 16, 2013. He was 92 year old
  • Martha Mayer Erlebacher, a figurative artist and longtime professor at the New York Academy of Art, died on June 22, 2013. She was 75
  • Paul Feiler, an Anglo-German painter of lyrical abstraction, died on July 8, 2013, at age 95. He had taught for many years at the West of England College of Art (now Royal West of England Academy) in Bristol
  • Mark Fisher, a set designer for the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and U2 who trained as an architect, died on June 25, 2013. He was 66
  • John Hightower, director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1970 to 1971, died on July 6, 2013. Hightower also led the New York State Council of the Arts from 1964 to 1970 and later served as director of the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia, for thirteen years
  • Elspeth kydd, a filmmaker, author, and scholar, passed away on April 9, 2013, at the age of 46. She had taught at the University of Toledo, the University of the West of England, and the University of the West Indies
  • Henning Larsen, an award-winning architect who designed the Copenhagen Business School Dalgas Have and the Royal Danish Opera, died on June 22, 2013. He was 87 years old
  • Virginia Pitts Rembert Liles, a professor of art history who served as chair of the Art Department at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, died on July 5, 2013. The fall 2012 issue of the Loupe published a profile on Liles’s long, distinguished career
  • Cynthia Moody, a British filmmaker and editor of documentaries and advertisements, died in summer 2013, at the age of 89. Moody was also the caretaker of the estate of her Jamaican-born uncle, the sculptor Ronald Moody
  • Norman Parish, an artist and art dealer whose gallery in Washington, DC, showed the work of African American artists, died on July 8, 2013. He was 75
  • Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, an Australian-born ceramicist whose work was known internationally, passed away on July 5, 2013, age 78. The National Gallery of Victoria held a major retrospective of her pottery in 2006
  • Alejandro Puente, an Argentinian artist who participated in the avant-garde scene at the Instituto Di Tella in Buenos Aires, has died. Born in 1933, Puente was also associated with the geometría sensible movement
  • Monica Ross, a performance artist, feminist, and professor at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, died on June 14, 2013. She was 63 years old
  • William Z. Slany, chief historian of the US Department of State whose work helped to recover Jewish property looted by the Nazis, died on May 13, 2013. He was 84
  • Jeffrey Smart, an Australian painter based in Italy who was known for his postindustrial urban landscapes, died on June 20, 2013. He was 91 years old
  • Bert Stern, a commercial photographer and documentary filmmaker best known for his portraits of Marilyn Monroe taken six weeks before her death, passed away on June 26, 2013. He was 83
  • William Turner, an English artist who was a leading member of the Northern School of Lancashire painters, died on July 10, 2013, at the age of 93
  • Jens T. Wollesen, a historian of medieval art who was a longtime professor in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto, died on April 22, 2013. Born in 1947, Wollesen had recently completed a book, Acre or Cyprus: A New Approach to Crusader Painting around 1300. CAA has published a special obituary on the late professor
  • Walter Zanini, a Brazilian professor of philosophy and the founder of the Brazilian Committee of History of Art, died on January 29, 2013. Born in 1925, Zanini served as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of São Paulo from 1963 to 1978

Read all past obituaries in the arts in CAA News, which include special texts written for CAA. Please send links to published obituaries, or your completed texts, to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, for the next list.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

The League of American Orchestras has circulated a statement that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will be using in response to press inquiries.

Statement on the House Appropriations Subcommittee Draft FY2014 Spending Bill for the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

If enacted, the FY2014 budget proposed for the National Endowment for the Arts in the draft appropriations bill would severely hamper the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission of investing in arts organizations throughout all 50 states.

As the President, Congress, and the American people continue to be focused on the country’s economy, it is important to note that a dollar invested by the NEA is matched by $9 of additional investment and generates $26 in economic activity.

Last year, the NEA invested nearly $116 million through more than 2,200 grants in communities of all sizes. In turn, these nonprofit arts organizations had direct expenditures of $31.2 billion that helped support the 5.7 million arts-related jobs and 2 million working artists in this country.

The President’s FY2014 budget request recognizes the importance of this investment and lays out a strong case for funding the NEA at $154.5 million, which the full House and the Senate will review as the budget process continues.

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on July 22, 2013.

Oppose devastating cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released its FY 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill this morning with a 49 percent ($71 million) cut for the National Endowment for the Humanities. If enacted, this funding level would devastate an agency that has already been reduced by 19 percent since 2010.

This drastic cut would end programs that provide critical support for humanities teaching, preservation, public programming, and research, and result in positive impacts on every community in the country. Programs supported by the NEH teach essential skills and habits including reading, writing, critical thinking, and effective communication that are crucial for ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to learn and become a productive member of society. Further, NEH’s programs strengthen communities by promoting understanding of our common ideals, enduring civic values, and shared cultural heritage.

Click here to send a message today to urge your Representative to vote against these devastating cuts.

Please share this message with your friends.

The NEH desperately needs your help.

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on July 19, 2013.

Action Alert: Act Now to Preserve Critical Humanities Funding

Over the last three years the budget of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), an agency critical to preserving America’s documentary heritage, has been cut from $13 million to just $4.75 million. Last week, the House of Representatives proposed another 36 percent reduction that threatens to further erode this small agency’s capacity to preserve endangered collections and provide access to our shared cultural heritage. Your voice can help to ensure that the Senate acts to prevent this draconian cut.

The Senate will begin voting on NHPRC funding on Tuesday, July 23, so your senators must hear from as many of their constituents as possible before that date in order to prevent this reduction.

To preserve NHPRC funding:

1) Click the link below to send a message urging your senators to provide full funding to the National Historical Publications and Records Administration. We have provided a template letter that you may customize if you choose, so it is quick and easy.

2) Share this message with your friends.

More information on NHPRC:
The National Historical Publications and Records Administration (NHPRC) provides critical support for preservation of at-risk collections in communities around the country. Its grants leverage state, local, institutional, foundation, and other private funding by requiring 50 percent cost sharing—i.e. for every federal dollar invested, another dollar is spent from a non-federal source. NHPRC also supports publications projects of national significance such as the Papers of Abraham Lincoln and the Papers of George Washington. Just this year, it launched Founders Online, an unprecedented resource that provides online access to more than 100,000 documents of the founding generation.

It is critical that you act now to ensure that efforts to preserve and provide public access to national treasures can continue. Once these materials are lost, they are lost forever.

Click this link to send a message:
http://cqrcengage.com/nhalliance/app/write-a-letter?3&engagementId=13034

For the first time, CAA is offering advertising space in its annual directories of graduate programs in the arts. Promote your institution, program, product, or service in the go-to resource for prospective graduate students in the arts.

CAA’s directories are the most comprehensive resources available for new and incoming graduate students in fine art and design, art and architectural history, curatorial and museum studies, arts administration, art education, film production, conservation, and more in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

The directories provide prospective graduate students with the critical information they need to complete the application process and navigate the academic landscape, from availability of financial aid and fellowships to faculty and deadlines.

Filed under: Publications, Students

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.

Art Teaching for a New Age

In arts education, something profound is happening that will force us to rethink what and how we teach. Art making has changed radically in recent years. Artists have become increasingly interested in crossing disciplinary boundaries: choreographers use video, sculpture, and text; photographers create “paintings” with repurposed textiles. New technologies enable new kinds of work, like interactive performances with both live and web-based components. International collaboration has become de rigueur. And policy makers and businesspeople have embraced at least the idea of the so-called creative economy, with cities rushing to establish arts districts, and business schools collaborating with design schools. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Academia’s Pink-Collar Workforce

Victoria Baldassano, an English instructor at Montgomery College and the mother of a child with disabilities, thought turning to teaching from her previous career as a journalist would offer more stable pay and a better career path. But in the nearly eight years she’s been working at the community college, she hasn’t seen much improvement in the long hours, the inadequate office space and the poor salary. Recently president of the SEIU Local 500 at Montgomery, Baldassano and her fellow part-time faculty workers are beginning to organize for better pay and working conditions. (Read more in the Nation.)

Arts Leader Sentiment Survey Results

Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research has released the results of its Arts Manager Sentiment Survey, which collected and analyzed national arts leaders’ opinions on the health of the nation’s cultural sector across a range of disciplines. The survey results indicated that, overall, arts leaders have a positive outlook for the future of their organizations in areas like attendance and revenue streams. (Read more from Southern Methodist University.)

Arts Education Has Many Benefits, but Links to Improved Academics Are Limited

A comprehensive new report called Art for Art’s Sake: The Impact of Arts Education outlines the benefits and limits of arts education by digging into data and outlining what research has already been established in the field. Among the findings: Learning music can boost students’ IQ scores and visual arts likely help students’ understanding of geometrical reasoning. But the report also notes that there’s no evidence theater and dance help with overall academic skills. (Read more from Southern California Public Radio.)

US Government Strengthen Ties with UNESCO

The United States government has confirmed it is committed to restoring relations with UNESCO, with the intention of resuming funding to the cultural agency. On July 9, President Barack Obama announced that the lawyer and writer Crystal Nix-Hines, who also raised funds for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, has been nominated as the next US ambassador to UNESCO. If the Senate approves her post, Nix-Hines will succeed David Killion, whose four-year term is up this summer. (Read more in the Art Newspaper.)

Mind the Gap

When Stanford University enrolled over 100,000 students in its first massive open online courses (MOOCs) in fall 2011, the subjects were database architecture and artificial intelligence. A small but growing number of MOOCs is growing in the humanities, the largest of which is a course in modern and contemporary poetry, which enrolled 36,000 students this fall. The Museum of Modern Art has offered online courses since fall 2010, which are neither massive (enrollment is capped in the low double-digits) nor free (a five-week course costs $350). Last fall I took an online course in contemporary art at MoMA, and enrolled simultaneously in the poetry class, to see what it was like. (Read more in Artforum.)

The Rapper Is Present

Three years ago, when the performance artist Marina Abramović sat in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art for 750 hours, many people who had waited in long lines to sit across from her melted down in her presence. Abramović remained silent and still, enduring thirst, hunger, and back pain (and speculation as to how, exactly, she was or was not peeing), while visitors, confronted with her placid gaze, variously wept, vomited, stripped naked, and proposed marriage. But the other day, at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea, where Jay-Z was presenting his own take on Abramović’s piece—rapping for six hours in front of a rotating cast of art-world VIPs—viewers’ primary response was to get up and dance. (Read more in the New Yorker.)

Rescued Art: Meet Rodney Parrott, the King of Thrift-Store Finds

Last year was a banner year for dramatic art finds. A Salvador Dalí etching surfaced at Goodwill, a possible Leonardo da Vinci painting turned up at a Scottish farmhouse, and a $100,000 avian masterpiece was found in the dusty corners of someone’s attic. The series of unexpected discoveries made us wonder just how easy it is to uncover a fine art treasure outside a high-priced gallery. (Read more in the Huffington Post.)

Filed under: CAA News