CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Mar 05, 2014

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 and Architecture Thesaurus Now Available as Linked Open Data

The Getty Research Institute has released the Art and Architecture Thesaurus as Linked Open Data. The data set is available for download at under an Open Data Commons Attribution License. The Art and Architecture Thesaurus, a reference of over 250,000 terms on art and architectural history, styles, and techniques, is one of the institute’s four Getty Vocabularies, a collection of databases that serves as the premier resource for cultural-heritage terms, artists’ names, and geographical information. (Read more from the Getty Iris.)

Colleges Need Free Speech More Than Trademarks

What’s in a trademark? To many people in higher education, mention of the term—which denotes the legal protection afforded words or other devices that identify a good’s or service’s source—leads to bewildered looks. “You mean the designs on shirts sold in the bookstore?” Trademarks in higher education encompass institutional names, logos, and insignias, the iconography that fans love to see featured on all kinds of merchandise. Institutions license their marks on these products, often relying on third parties to broker deals that can produce significant royalties. This $4.6-billion industry appears to be good for colleges, which exploit the revenue channel to make up for losses elsewhere in their operations. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Good Art Is Popular Because It’s Good, Right?

In July of last year, a man named Sidney Sealine went to see the Mona Lisa in Paris. The idea was to spend some time with the picture, to see for himself the special spark that made the painting so famous. But he couldn’t even get close to Leonardo’s famous work. (Read more from National Public Radio.)

Women at the Top

Their ages span four generations, and their careers follow no linear path. They have enough letters behind their names to form a small university. They’ve worked in Switzerland, Qatar, and too many small towns to count, hailing from regions as diverse as the southern hemisphere and the segregated South. The thirteen women who direct some of the region’s prominent museums are as different as the institutions they lead. But nine of them have at least one similarity: they succeeded men. (Read more from the Washington Post.)

Frieze Sits Down with New York Labor Unions

Representatives from Frieze New York met with local union leaders for the first time to discuss the organization’s labor practices. The fair, which is set to return to Randall’s Island in May, has been criticized by artists and activist groups for employing nonunion workers to build its sprawling tent and transport art. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

The Adjunct Penalty

Much discussion exists about how to escape the adjunct’s life of indentured servitude for tenure-track positions. After all, positions in the coveted ivory tower will always outrank a life of little pay and heavy, lower-level teaching loads. Despite the many pitfalls of adjunct life, many adjuncts choose to forgo the ivory tower. In doing so, they enter a career with a penalty that is both tangible and psychological. (Read more from the Adjunct Blog.)

Speculating on Trophy Art

Works by contemporary artists born after 1945 generated $17.2 billion in worldwide auction sales last year, a 39 percent increase from 2012, according to figures just released by the French database Artprice. Last November, a triptych by Francis Bacon sold for $142.4 million, a record for any work of art at a public sale. And a handy new website,, now advises speculators on which hot young artists to buy, sell, or “liquidate.” (Read more from the New York Times.)

The Art World’s “Wild West”

A fake Marc Chagall painting, owned by a businessman from Leeds who had bought it for $167,309 in 1992, was ordered to be burned last month, and an Istanbul art gallery closed down its Joan Miró exhibition in 2013 after directors of the Spanish Surrealist painter’s estate said some of the works were forgeries. The uncovering of fakes by committees comprising descendants of the artist is increasingly common and has prompted one of Britain’s foremost art historians to condemn the methods used by scholars to authenticate works as a “professional disgrace.” (Read more from the Tapei Times.)

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