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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.

By Paying Artists Nothing, We Risk Severing the Pipeline of UK Talent

Contrary to public expectation, but not the experience of many in the sector, most galleries in the United Kingdom do not pay exhibiting artists. In the past three years, 71 percent of artists didn’t get a fee for contributions to publicly funded exhibitions. And this culture of nonpayment is actually stopping artists from accepting offers from galleries, with 63 percent forced to reject gallery offers because they can’t afford to work for nothing. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Looking beyond the Tenured

An interesting dilemma lies ahead: where will all the academic administrators come from? Historically most administrators in academic affairs—whether they be department chairs, program directors, deans, or provosts—have come from the ranks of tenured faculty. But with faculty increasingly being contingent and off the tenure track (70 percent), there has not been much consideration of where administrators within academic affairs will come from. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Let’s All Stop Worrying about Grade Inflation

This month, all over the country, thousands upon thousands of college instructors are losing sleep over grade inflation. They’ve worked hard all semester to make their students better thinkers and writers with a wider base of knowledge. They’ve done their level best to assess their students’ performance in class fairly and accurately. They’ve devoted many hours to choosing the most appropriate assessment criteria for the their classes’ objectives. And yet, staring at a long list of As, A-minuses, and B-pluses, these otherwise confident and self-assured teachers feel real guilt at adding to what is surely the scourge of American education. (Read more from Vitae.)

“Empathetically Correct” Is the New Politically Correct

When I was attending graduate school in the late 1980s and early 1990s, political correctness reigned supreme. Lassoing the powers of language, literature, and the law, the movement dubbed PC initially worked toward the good goal of greater inclusiveness for marginalized communities. Eventually, it morphed into a tyranny of speech codes, sensitivity training, and book banning. But it seems political correctness is being replaced by a new trend—one that might be called “empathetic correctness.” (Read more from the Atlantic.)

Prehistoric Hunting Scenes Unearthed in Spanish Cave

A series of hunting scenes dating from seven thousand years ago have been found by archaeologists on the six-meter long wall of a small cave in the region of Vilafranca in Castellón, eastern Spain—but it is being kept a secret for now. A layer of dust and dirt covered ten figures, including bulls, two archers, and a goat. The murals were exposed to harsh weather, but the paintings pigments have not seriously deteriorated. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Impressionists with Benefits? The Painting Partnership of Degas and Cassatt

In her novel I Always Loved You, Robin Oliveira imagines a passionate scene between Edgar Degas—a French artist known for his paintings of dancers—and Mary Cassatt—an American painter known for her scenes of family life. The kiss in the novel is pure fiction, but then again, “nobody knows what goes on in their neighbor’s house, let alone what happened between two artists 130 years ago,” the author says. (Read more from National Public Radio.)

Glasgow School of Art Archivists Begin Fire Salvage Effort

Specialist archivists from the Glasgow School of Art have begun the operation to conserve items damaged by the fire that ripped through the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building in the city center last week. The salvage effort will also retrieve the work of students who were preparing for their final-year degree show in the building at the time of the fire, which is believed to have started in the basement. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Faculty Refuse to See Themselves as Workers. Why?

Many academics, especially those in the tenure track, just resist seeing themselves as laborers. Academics, even many adjuncts, continue to think they belong to a loosely meritocratic system in which the best work rises to the top, peer review remains the optimal way to judge the quality of work, and if you work hard enough, you’ll be fine. (Read more from Vitae.)

Filed under: CAA News

Last month CAA restructured its membership program and added exciting new benefits, including: online access to The Art Bulletin and Art Journal; online access to additional journals in the Taylor & Francis collection; and access to JPASS, JSTOR’s expansive selection of more than 1,500 journals, at a 50 percent discount. As part of this restructuring, CAA included a new category for Part-Time Faculty among its discounted memberships. And now, based on thoughtful feedback CAA received from supportive members, we have expanded this category to include “Independents” to help support independent artists, scholars, designers, and the like.

The creation of these new membership categories is part of CAA’s response to changing conditions in the workplace for many professionals in the visual arts. CAA is committed to supporting part-time, non-tenure-track faculty, and those in transition, who receive limited institutional support, as well as independent professionals with no institutional affiliation.

Visit the Individual Membership section of the CAA website to learn more about all the new categories.

Filed under: Membership, Workforce

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.

The New Manifestos: Six Artist Texts That Are Defining Today’s Avant-Garde

Once upon a time, you couldn’t flip through a European newspaper without coming across the polemical manifesto of a budding avant-garde artists’ movement. The major movements of the twentieth century all started with formal statements of intent written by artists, not critics, and often in inflammatory prose. In contrast, today’s categories like “conceptual art,” “relational aesthetics,” “bio art,” and “new media” refer to general trends in contemporary art as a whole rather than describing specific groups of artists who are professionally or socially associated with one another. What’s more, these terms are more often cooked up by critics than by artists themselves. (Read more from Artspace.)

Metropolitan Museum Initiative Provides Free Access to 400,000 Digital Images

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced today that more than four hundred thousand high-resolution digital images of public-domain works in the museum’s world-renowned collection may be downloaded directly from the museum’s website for noncommercial use—including in scholarly publications in any media—without permission from the museum and without a fee. The number of available images will increase as new digital files are added on a regular basis. (Read more from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

An Academic Working Dad

At a recent meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, I spoke on a panel about the challenges and possibilities of being an academic and a parent. I took the panel, organized by the group’s graduate-student council, as a positive sign that next-generation scholars in my field believe that it’s possible to integrate their professional and personal lives. Here’s the problem: not one male graduate student attended. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Judge Rules Detroit Bankruptcy Creditors Can’t Remove Art from DIA Walls

Judge Steven Rhodes ruled today that he won’t allow some of Detroit’s largest creditors to remove art from the walls at the Detroit Institute of Arts in order to inspect and appraise the works as part of the city’s bankruptcy. He also denied the creditors’ motion seeking access to up to a million additional pages of historic documents about the art housed at the city-owned museum. However, Rhodes said he would allow creditors to work with DIA officials to gain access to artwork in storage at the museum for purposes of inspection. (Read more from the Detroit Free Press.)

Detroit Bankruptcy Judge Nixes Art Access Request

A judge in Detroit’s bankruptcy refused to grant hands-on access to a valuable trove of art last week, telling creditors who face steep losses in the case that they can visit a city museum and browse the walls like any other patron. Bond insurers have pointed to the art as a possible billion-dollar source of cash in the bankruptcy. But the city is firmly opposed to any sale and instead is banking on a separate, unique deal that would protect the art forever and soften pension cuts for thousands of retirees. (Read more from ABC News.)

Writing Environments

One of my priorities when I teach my university’s first- and second-year writing courses is to help students become more self-aware and reflective about their own writing practices. As you might expect, this means that each semester I also find myself reflecting on my own writing practices. Sometimes even experienced writers forget to consider the physical and temporal environments within which we write. We often fall into habits, and once a habit is established, it can lull us into a sense of comfort, or stagnation. It is a lesson not only that novice student writers need to learn but one from which experienced writers may also benefit. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

The Three Letters of Recommendation You Must Have

I am currently a visiting assistant professor at a regional campus of a state university system. Should I still be including a letter of recommendation from my grad-school advisor in applications? I’m three years out of grad school, and my advisor is great—always updates the letter, takes into account new work I’ve published, and so on—but does it look bad (too “grad student-y”) to rely on an advisor’s letter at this point in my career? (Read more from Vitae.)

Should I Go to Grad School? versus MFA vs. NYC

PhD and MFA programs are costly; job prospects are dim; graduate student labor is not recognized as work; there is a huge opportunity cost to spending seven years toiling away on book you worry will never see the light of day. These are urgent problems. (Read more from the Billfold.)

Filed under: CAA News

CAA Professional-Development Fellowships Suspended

posted by Michael Fahlund

At its May 4, 2014, meeting, the Board of Directors agreed to suspend the Professional-Development Fellowships in Art History and Visual Arts until a thorough analysis of the program and an exploration into other professional-development opportunities take place. When CAA’s newly approved Strategic Plan 2015–2020 begins on July 1, 2014, the board will, among the plan’s priorities, investigate the full range of possibilities that might best serve the professional-development needs of CAA’s membership.

CAA’s fellowship program began in 1993 and, with the exception of 2009, when it was suspended for a year due to the global financial crisis, has provided grants to worthy graduate students about to receive their terminal PhD or MFA degrees. The program has benefitted 51 graduate students in the last seven years and 154 since 1993.

The board hopes to reinstate the fellowships by May 2015 or to design another program to help professionals in the visual arts and art history. invites nominations and self-nominations for two individuals to join its Council of Field Editors, which commissions reviews within an area of expertise or geographic region, for a three-year term: July 1, 2014–June 30, 2017. An online journal, is devoted to the peer review of new books, museum exhibitions, and projects relevant to art history, visual studies, and the arts.

The journal seeks two field editors for books in two areas: Korean art and African diaspora art. Candidates may be artists, art historians, critics, curators, or other professionals in the visual arts; institutional affiliation is not required.

Working with the editor-in-chief, the Editorial Board, and CAA’s staff editor, each field editor selects content to be reviewed, commissions reviewers, and reviews manuscripts for publication. Field editors for books are expected to keep abreast of newly published and important books and related media in his or her field of expertise. The Council of Field Editors meets annually at the CAA Annual Conference. Field editors must pay travel and lodging expenses to attend the conference.

Candidates must be current CAA members and should not be serving on the editorial board of a competitive journal or on another CAA editorial board or committee. Nominators should ascertain their nominee’s willingness to serve before submitting a name; self-nominations are also welcome. Please send a statement describing your interest in and qualifications for appointment, a CV, and your contact information to: Editorial Board, College Art Association, 50 Broadway, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10004; or email the documents to Mallory Roark, CAA publications department assistant. Deadline: June 15, 2014.

Filed under:, Publications, Service

Mapping Titian: A New Digital Resource in Art History

posted by Christopher Howard

Mapping Titian is a new digital resource that allows users to visualize one of the most fundamental concerns of the discipline of art history: the relationship between an artwork and its changing historical context. Focusing on the paintings executed by the Venetian Renaissance artist Titian (ca. 1488–1576), this site offers a searchable provenance index of his attributed pictures and allows users to create customizable collections of paintings and customizable maps that show the movement of the pictures over time and space. Mapping Titian has been generously funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation through a digital art-history grant to Boston University.

Mapping Titian contains the most up-to-date information available from print publications and from museum websites for the provenance of the paintings. The sources for each work’s provenance are cited each time the picture changes ownership and/or location. A references page includes a complete bibliographic entry for these sources. Users are encouraged to share new information or to offer corrections to the current database. As of now, the site has only paintings attributed to Titian and, because of attribution questions, does not yet include drawings by the artist. Information is still being entered and refined, and the site should be fully developed by September 2014.

Titian’s paintings have proven to be an especially rich microcosm of possible directions for the future project, Mapping Artworks, of which this current site would be one part. The application would provide a template for other scholars and educators to map other groups of objects, whether by artist, medium, or another criterion. Future phases of this project will include additional ways beyond geographic maps to visualize these “lives,” including nongeographic networks and three-dimensional virtual reconstructions of important collecting spaces in history.

CAA members who are interested in joining the advisory board for Mapping Titian and/or have any questions can contact Jodi Cranston, professor of Renaissance art at Boston University.

Image Caption

Titian, Madonna of the Pesaro Family, 1519–26, oil on canvas, 16 x 9 ft. Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice (artwork in the public domain)


Filed under: Art History, Digital Issues, Research

CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2015 Awards for Distinction, which will be presented at the 103rd Annual Conference in New York. Please review the guidelines below to familiarize yourself with the nomination process and to download, complete, and submit the requested materials. Deadline: July 31, 2014, for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award and the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Awards; August 31, 2014, for all others.

General Guidelines

In your letter, state who you are; how you know (of) the nominee; how the nominee and/or his or her work or publication has affected your practice or studies and the pursuit of your career; and why you think this person (or, in a collaboration, these people) deserves to be recognized. We also urge you to contact up to five colleagues, students, peers, collaborators, and/or coworkers of the nominee to write letters; no more than five letters are considered. Letters of support are important for reference, but the awards decisions are the responsibilities of the juries based on their expert assessment of the qualifications of the nominees.

Nominations for book and exhibition awards should be for authors of books published or works exhibited or staged between September 1, 2013, and August 31, 2014. Books published posthumously are not eligible. Letters of support are not required for the Morey and Barr awards. All submissions must include a completed 2015 nomination form and one copy of the nominee’s CV (limit: two pages); book-award nominations do not require a CV (see below for the appropriate forms for the Morey and Barr awards and the Porter Prize).

Charles Rufus Morey Book Award

To give the jury full opportunity to evaluate each submission fairly, submit materials well before the deadline. Please review the following nomination guidelines:

  • A publisher may submit no more than five titles. In addition, CAA accepts nominations from its membership, jury members, reviews editors for The Art Bulletin and Art Journal, and field editors from
  • Publishers may not submit the same title for the Morey and Barr awards. The Morey jury does not accept exhibition catalogues
  • Eligible books must have been published between September 1, 2013, and August 31, 2014
  • Books published posthumously are not eligible
  • CAA and each jury member must receive a copy of the nominated book. A total of six copies of the book must be sent. To receive the mailing addresses for the jury, please contact Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs
  • Complete and submit the Morey nominaton form
  • Letters of support are not required

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award

To give the jury full opportunity to evaluate each submission fairly, submit materials well before the deadline. Please review the following nomination guidelines:

  • A publisher may submit no more than five titles. In addition, CAA accepts nominations from its membership, jury members, reviews editors for The Art Bulletin and Art Journal, and field editors from
  • Publishers may not submit the same title for the Morey and Barr awards. The Morey jury does not accept exhibition catalogues
  • Eligible books must have been published between September 1, 2013, and August 31, 2014
  • Books published posthumously are not eligible
  • CAA and each jury member must receive a copy of the nominated book. A total of six copies of the book must be sent. To receive the mailing addresses for the jury, please contact Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs
  • Complete and submit the Barr nomination form
  • Letters of support are not required

Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize

To determine eligibility, authors of articles in The Art Bulletin must complete the Porter nomination form.

Frank Jewett Mather Award

Please submit copies of critical writings, which may be website links and printouts, photocopies or scanned pages of newspapers or magazines, and more. If the writing is contained in a single volume (such as a book), please provide the publication information.

Distinguished Teaching of Art and Art History Awards

Letters for these two awards are particularly important for the juries because of the personal contact involved in successful teaching.


Please write to Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs, for more information about the nomination process. Visit the Awards section of the CAA website to learn more about the individual awards.

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.

Sustaining Open Access

A recently proposed model on open-access publishing has drawn praise for rethinking the roles institutions, libraries, and professional organizations play in promoting scholarly communication, but can its collaborative structure be sustained? The proposal envisions stakeholders forming partnerships, each handling one or more of the duties of funding, distributing, and preserving open-access scholarly research—specifically in the humanities and social sciences. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Detroit’s Clever and Likely Illegal Art-for-Pensions Deal

The $816 million art-for-pensions deal that is designed to preserve the Detroit Institute of Arts collection is fascinating, imaginative, and clever. But it’s almost certainly illegal. And I’ll show you why. (Read more from the Washington Post.)

Artworks for Sale Online: It’s a Booming Way to Gatecrash the Elite Gallery World

The World Wide Web is frequently cast as the great enemy of traditional culture, undermining the music industry, the film industry, and publishing. Yet one form of art has now found a way through—perhaps even a way to thrive—and provide careers for artists of the future. The visual arts are booming online. Experienced art collectors and newcomers are both increasingly using websites to find original contemporary works and ordering them for delivery like furniture. (Read more from the Guardian.)

What’s the Most Common Mistake Artists Make?

Your question has set my head spinning. There are so many possibilities. So many mistakes that artists make—like not taking the business side of art seriously or only taking it seriously in the middle of a crisis when, as I mentioned in my last post, it is too late. Or romanticizing the “starving artist” notion. Or allowing themselves to become resentful of other artists’ success. (Read more from KCET.)

The Paradox of Art as Work

There are few modern relationships as fraught as the one between art and money. Are they mortal enemies, secret lovers, or perfect soul mates? Is the bond between them a source of pride or shame, a marriage of convenience, or something tawdrier? The way we habitually think and talk about these matters betrays a deep and venerable ambivalence. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Flipped Learning Skepticism: Do Students Want to Have Lectures?

Students in a flipped classroom are rebelling because they want you to lecture to them and to explain how to do everything so that they can earn a top grade in the class. Here are some responses to this issue that one could make. (Read more from Casting Out Nines.)

Teaching Outside Your Subject Area

This spring Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR) asked Jenn Ball if it could facilitate a project with her students with the intent of posting the process on the AHTR site. At her suggestion, the discussion focused on teaching a unit in the survey outside of one’s area of expertise, something art history professors are faced with each semester. (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

Sixteen Artist Hangouts You Can Still Go To

Since the days of Hemingway and Faulkner, bars and cafes where writers, painters, and performance artists go to procrastinate have often caught the public’s imagination. The romance of the artist’s hangout is irresistible. From rivalries fermented over drinks to witty one-liners exchanged by Dorothy Parker and her well-read pals, these are the places of a struggling artist’s networking dreams. Even better, some of the most iconic artist hangouts and literary pubs that continue to welcome patrons today. (Read more from CNN.)

Filed under: CAA News

Smarthistory Call for Essays

posted by Christopher Howard

Khan Academy’s mission is a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere, and the site has ten million unique visitors each month. During the past year, the art-history content alone was visited by every country in the world, save three, and Khan anticipates that this material will reach more than four million visitors during the fall 2014 semester. Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization whose content is free and free of advertising.

Smarthistory at Khan Academy seeks to bring the expertise of individual scholars and curators to a new global audience. In fact, Khan Academy is now partnering with select museums. And thanks to the nearly one hundred contributors that “claimed” topics and submitted essays during their first call in October 2013, Smarthistory has published close to ninety new essays. To get a sense of their vision, read Steven Zucker and Beth Harris’s recent post on the blog for AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums.

If you are interested in sharing your expertise in the form of short introductory essays, Smarthistory could really use your help. The website’s founders, Zucker and Harris, seek art historians, archaeologists, and conservators in many areas of study; they have a particular need for specialists in African, Asian, precolonial American, and Pacific art. Together we can ensure that strong, global art-history content is well represented.

Smarthistory has created an interactive list of topics, a Trello Board, with an eye toward supporting introductory art-history courses. If something critical is missing, please let Zucker and Harris know. Once you’ve decided on a topic, send an email to Zucker and Harris (along with your CV). If everything is in order, you will be added to the Trello Board, so that you can claim that topic.

Here are the essay guidelines:

  • Length: 800–1,000 words
  • Writing style: informal, experiential, contextual
  • Content: for teaching (not original research)

Essays are reviewed and edited by Harris, Zucker, and Smarthistory’s contributing editors. As a general rule, Smarthistory looks for the narratives a great professor tells his or her class in order to make students fall in love with the history of art.

All accepted contributed content is published on both and All content is published with a Creative Commons attribution noncommercial, share-a-like license. You remain the owner of your content, and your contribution is always attributed.

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.

Michelangelo’s David Sculpture at Risk of Collapse

Michelangelo’s famous statue of the biblical figure David is at risk of collapse due to the weakening of the artwork’s legs and ankles, according to a report recently published by art experts. The findings, which were made public by Italy’s National Research Council, show microfractures in the ankle and leg areas. (Read more from the Los Angeles Times).

The False Promise of the Digital Humanities

The humanities are in crisis again, or still. But there is one big exception: digital humanities. In 2009, the nascent field was the talk of the Modern Language Association convention: “among all the contending subfields,” a reporter wrote about that year’s gathering, “the digital humanities seem like the first ‘next big thing’ in a long time.” Even earlier, the National Endowment for the Humanities created its Office of Digital Humanities to help fund projects. And digital humanities continues to go from strength to strength, thanks in part to the Mellon Foundation, which has seeded programs at a number of universities with large grants. (Read more from the New Republic).

The Adjunct Revolt: How Poor Professors Are Fighting Back

Mary-Faith Cerasoli has been reduced to “sleeping in her car, showering at college athletic centers and applying for food stamps,” the New York Times recently reported. Is she unemployed? No, in fact, she is a college professor—but an adjunct one, meaning she is hired on a short-term contract with no possibility of tenure. (Read more from the Atlantic).

Art and the Internet of Things: A Turning Point in Creative Education

In the art world’s internal sense of time, the degree show is in many ways the equivalent of New Year’s Eve: a point at which to collectively celebrate the birth of the future, while taking stock of the events of the past year. Reflecting on the 2013–14 academic year, it is clear that one of the most pressing issues is that of value, and the need continually to defend the arts in this respect. It is interesting to note the difference between making art for yourself—which holds value for you as an individual—and pursuing a career as an artist by studying for a degree in fine art or a related field. By doing the latter, you are implicitly deciding that your creativity also holds value for others. (Read more from the Guardian).

To Bind and to Liberate: Printing Out the Internet

“Printing the internet is not creative nor art. It is a waste of time and resources. Please, find something more creative to do.” So reads a comment on a petition on Directed at Kenneth Goldsmith, the petition was published in 2013 in response to a project the poet organized at LABOR gallery in Mexico City, where Goldsmith invited people from all over the world to print out the internet and send the pages to the gallery. (Read more from Rhizome).

Five Tips for Grant Research

It’s easy to get excited about the prospect of funding via grants, which carry a certain amount of prestige and the assurance that your work is (at least somewhat) funded, not to mention the fact that, if a funder is willing to give you a grant, they respect your work. But as the saying goes, only fools rush in. (Read more from Fractured Atlas).

Pat Badani at CAA: In Conversation with the Editor of Media-N Journal

At CAA’s 2014 Annual Conference in Chicago, Joshua Selmanand Pat Badanilaunched a discussion that examined what was happening at CAA this year as it applied to the New Media Caucus, to Media-N Journal, and to CAA members. (Read more from Artist Organized Art).

Filed under: CAA News

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