CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Sep 11, 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.

DIA in Peril: A Look at the Museum’s Long, Tangled Relationship with Detroit Politics and Finances

Anyone who thinks that art and politics inhabit separate spheres within civic life need only explore the roller-coaster history of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The latest example, of course, is Detroit’s bankruptcy. The crisis, which has attracted international attention, could cripple—or kill—one of America’s finest encyclopedic art museums, the signature cultural institution not only in Detroit but for the state of Michigan. (Read more in the Detroit Free Press.)

Responding to Negative Feedback about Your Art

I recently had an email conversation with an artist who had just been through battle on her blog. After years of extensive blogging, she received her first negative comment, an inflammatory comment about a post she had written with some derogatory comments about her art thrown in for good measure. The level of vitriol in the comment was a bit dumbfounding, especially since it didn’t seem to be coming from a dissatisfied customer, rather from a random visitor to the site who wouldn’t seem to have any good reason to be so … blunt. (Read more in Red Dot Blog.)

Insider Tips from the Art World’s Social-Media Pros

To get a better sense of how museums and art organizations are adapting to and embracing the increasing centrality of social media to their missions, Blouin Artinfo spoke to the experts: the people behind some of the art world’s richest and most rewarding social-media accounts. For this second installment in a three-part series, we put some questions to workers at the Brooklyn Museum the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Henry Art Gallery, and the Queens Museum of Art. (Read more from Blouin Artinfo.)

Museum Jobs That Didn’t Exist in 2003

Many of these new positions, whether or not they are grounded in new technologies, reflect deeper changes in organizational focus and culture. When the Victoria and Albert Museum appoints Sophia George as their first game designer in residence, it acknowledges that gaming has become a new literacy through which people can connect with museum content. When the Worcester Art Museum hires Adam Rozan as director of audience engagement and the Oakland Museum of California engages Lisa Sasaki as director of audience and civic engagement, it signals a subtle but profound shift in organizational focus. (Read more from Center for the Future of Museums.)

The Adjunct Advantage

A major new study has found that new students at Northwestern University learn more when their instructors are adjuncts than when they are tenure-track professors. The study—released by the National Bureau of Economic Research—found that the gains are greatest for the students with the weakest academic preparation. And the study found that the gains extended across a wide range of disciplines. The authors of the study suggest that by looking at measures of student learning, and not just course or program completion, their work may provide a significant advance in understanding the impact of non-tenure-track instructors. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Belittled Women

One recent afternoon, a gallerist visiting from the United States walked into the office of an established London gallery, openly accessible from the exhibition space. “Hello girls,” he said in greeting to the two young women who were working at adjacent desks. The visitor (male, white, middle-aged) assumed that these “girls” (female, white, seemingly in their 20s) were not gallerists, but rather gallerinas. (Read more in Frieze.)

Technology Sheds Light on Six Great Art Mysteries

Beneath the familiar faces of hundreds of paintings lining the walls of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, a host of secrets sit, waiting to be discovered. Whether a Picasso or Leonardo, every canvas holds brushstrokes that might conceal something else: a secondary painting, perhaps, or a mystery waiting to be untangled by John Delaney, the museum’s senior imaging scientist. On a typical day, he patiently places a painting in front of a specialized camera and completes a scan, which will reveal not just what’s under the paint, but also what is happening at each layer of paint that lies under the surface. (Read more in National Geographic.)

The Conversations We’re Not Having—Overcoming Uncertainty, Chilling Effects, and Open-Access Complacency

On more than one occasion in the past year, I’ve overheard a publisher or librarian note that there is an important topic in the library world, one that has major implications for libraries’ futures, and for librarianship in general. Yet, these observers have noted, very few librarians are willing to publicly discuss this topic. The topic is how open access threatens to defund libraries and marginalize their librarians and staffs. (Read more in the Scholarly Kitchen.)

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