College Art Association

CAA News Today

Top News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Dec 31, 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, CAA would like to wish its members, subscribers, partners, and other visual-arts professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past twelve months, we would like to offer you a look at the most accessed articles from 2014.

Ten of the Most Influential MFA Programs in the World

Artspace Magazine has tallied up the top ten master of fine arts programs in the world. While they may not be the cheapest avenues into the art world, these are, without a doubt, the top-ranked MFA programs for art students looking to add a gold star to the top of their CVs—and to build a ladder into the gallery sphere. Of course, there’s no “silver bullet” for instant postgraduate success. But there are certain programs that tend to spark the interest of curators, critics, and collectors alike. (Read more from Artspace Magazine.)

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.)

Scholarly Journal Retracts Sixty Articles, Smashes “Peer Review Ring”

Every now and then a scholarly journal retracts an article because of errors or outright fraud. In academic circles, and sometimes beyond, each retraction is a big deal. Now comes word of a journal retracting sixty articles at once. The reason for the mass retraction is mind-blowing: a “peer review and citation ring” was apparently rigging the review process to get articles published. (Read more from the Washington Post.)

Race, Gender, and Academic Jobs

I am currently the lowest-paid tenure-track faculty member in my department and was told by the man paid to manage me that if I wanted a raise I would probably need to get a new job or at least an offer that might prompt a counteroffer. So I went on the job market and was lucky enough to score a campus interview for an assistant professor position at a liberal arts college in an ideal location. Let’s just call this place Rich Liberal Arts College. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

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.)

Dealing Direct: Do Artists Really Need Galleries?

When Haunch of Venison closed in 2013, the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos was left without a gallery in London or New York—the two cities where Haunch, which was bought by Christie’s in 2007, had spaces. Since her gallery closed, Vasconcelos’s career has been on an upward trajectory: she has represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale, unveiled public sculptures in Porto and Lisbon, and produced several new works for a retrospective at the Manchester Art Gallery. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Twelve Things You Should Never Say to an Artist

One of the hardest parts of being an artist is courting the seemingly endless barrage of awkward, inappropriate, and downright rude comments hurled your way. Whether it’s an intended compliment or an ignorant gaffe, some statements about l’arte are better left unsaid. Thus we’ve compiled an unofficial guide outlining what you definitely, positively should not say to an artist, whether friend or foe. (Read more from the Huffington Post.)

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.)

The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom

A colleague of mine in the Department of Computer Science at Dartmouth College recently sent an email to all of us on the faculty. The subject line read: “Ban computers in the classroom?” The note that followed was one sentence long: “I finally saw the light today and propose we ban the use of laptops in class.” While the sentiment in my colleague’s email was familiar, the source was surprising: it came from someone teaching a programming class, where computers are absolutely integral to learning and teaching. Surprise turned to something approaching shock when, in successive emails, I saw that his opinion was shared by many others in the department. (Read more from the New Yorker.)

How to Avoid Being Published

I enjoyed Maureen Pirog’s recent piece “How to Get Published,” which is filled with common sense and good advice. Back in 2009, I too posted some publishing tips. I wish I could report that things have gotten better since then, but alas, from what I’ve observed with several journals, magazines, and newspapers with which I’m associated, writing in the humanities remains dire. Want to avoid being published? Here’s how. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

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.)

Creative Schools: The Artists Taking Art Education into Their Own Hands

Several artists and arts professionals, spotting the same or similar failures in the UK’s official education programs at both schools and universities, have taken matters into their own hands. If the government’s curriculum changes, funding cuts, and fees are barring the way to education for many aspiring artists, independent initiatives might offer alternative routes into the creative industry. Who’s leading the way? (Read more from Apollo.)

No Longer Appropriate?

“Appropriating” other artists’ work without consent is still common, but there is growing evidence—albeit rarely reported—that, although some artists may have started out as willing or unwitting outlaws, they decided that possibly infringing other artists’ copyright was legally unwise and potentially expensive, and they stopped. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Beyond the Relic Cult of Art

I am nostalgic for a time before the modern concept of art forgery had gelled, when it was possible to imagine many ways for artworks to exist out of their time. I love the culture of Renaissance art because it was not settled in its categories, and produced art out of that unsettlement. It knew forgery, but it wrinkled time in other ways as well. (Read more from the Brooklyn Rail.)

The Most Expensive Colleges in the Country Are Art Schools, not Ivies

I recently stumbled across this handy tool from the Department of Education, which generates lists of colleges by cost. The schools that usually get dinged for high tuition (and as a result, scare off low-income applicants) are the elite colleges. But many of those schools are quite rich and distribute a lot of financial aid. (Read more from the Washington Post.)

Whose Work Is It Really? On the Much-Maligned Role of the Artist’s Assistant

The job of artist’s assistant has a confusing reputation in the press. Articles about the ongoing saga of Jasper Johns’s civil suit against his longtime assistant for the theft and sale of $3.4 million of his drawings is a prime example of the way the media talks about the relationship between artist and assistant. The horrifyingly theft aside, one recent article about the incident presents the power difference between an artist and his assistant as tauntingly acute and palpable. (Read more from Artslant.)

Science and Art Meet, Unveiling Mystery and Cultural Tragedy

In the last decade, art conservators—the people who protect and preserve works of art—have begun practicing complicated science. Now they can tell more stories of the secret lives of artists, the chemistry behind great works, and why many of the most famous masterpieces no longer look anything like they did when they were painted. They also discovered that one form of paint may reduce great works of modern and Impressionist art into white canvases with smudges. (Read more from Inside Science.)

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.)

What They Never Told You about Consigning Your Art

Art consignment agreements are deceptively simple. This essay goes behind that simplicity to raise issues for art owners that are not fully addressed—or only imperfectly so—by the text of the usual agreement. Rescission by the auction house (undoing the sale long after the auction) is one of these issues. There are others. (Read more from Spencer’s Art Law Journal.)

Participatory Learning in the Art-History Classroom

In a participatory learning environment, learners get the opportunity to become part of a community of inquiry and explore abstract concepts in a nonhierarchical social context. Rather than the mere transmission and acquisition of knowledge, learning becomes relevant, engaging, and creative. (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

77,000 Images of Tapestries and Italian Monuments Join the Open Content Program

The Getty Research Institute has just added more than 77,000 high-resolution images to the Open Content Program from two of its most often-used collections. The largest part of the new open-content release—more than 72,000 photographs—comes from the collection Foto Arte Minore: Max Hutzel photographs of art and architecture in Italy. (Read more from Getty Iris.)

What Twitter Changes Might Mean for Academics

Time-based organization works really well for many popular academic uses of Twitter—particularly conferences, where it’s easy to find an interesting panel or meet-up in the moment, while the rest of the timeline becomes one historical record of the conference interactions. However, it’s precisely the timeline that may be at risk. (Read more from ProfHacker.)

Indicting Higher Education in the Arts and Beyond

There’s one very clear take-away from the latest report released by the collective BFAMFAPhD: people who graduate with arts degrees regularly end up with a lot of debt and incredibly low prospects for earning a living as artists. Or, as they put it in the report, titled Artists Report Back: A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists, “the fantasy of future earnings in the arts cannot justify the high cost of degrees.” (Read more from Hyperallergic.)

Help Desk: Performance Anxiety

I am not trained as a visual artist—I hold my graduate degree in dance choreography and before that worked primarily in live theatrical concert dance. However, my focus shifted in grad school, where I started developing work in performance that should live in a gallery space. Now that I am out of school, I have a great new project in the works but no idea how to make it happen. What are the unspoken rules for approaching art spaces and museums with performance work? (Read more from Daily Serving.)

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.)

Are MFAs Ruining Art?

This summer has seen another bumper year of MA and MFA students. As ever, the work coming from international art schools is good, bad, and everywhere in between. There is also an increasing professionalization of the artists coming from the academic system. Degree-show presentations can resemble solo booths at art fairs. Often the work presented is ready to slip immediately into the gallery system. The question remains: Is this a good thing? (Read more from Artsy.)

On the False Democracy of Contemporary Art

Art claims that it expands into the sphere of social transformation and genuine democracy. Yet paradoxically, art’s ambition for direct social engagement and its self-abandonment loop back to the very territory of contemporary art, its archive machine, and its self-referential rhetoric of historicizing. Hence the question is: Are we really witnessing the anticapitalist transformation that excuses art’s self-sublation and its dissolution in newly transformed life? (Read more from e-flux Journal.)

No Laughing Matter: President’s Quip about Art History Pricks Some Ears

Art history caught some unwelcome attention from President Obama in a recent speech emphasizing the need for job training. To reinforce his point that manufacturing jobs pay off, Obama said that young people who train for them could outearn art-history majors. The remark drew laughter from the president’s audience in Wisconsin, but some in higher education felt slighted. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Why Drawing Needs to Be a Curriculum Essential

Drawing has seen something of a renaissance in the last twenty years in the United Kingdom. From the Campaign for Drawing to the Drawing Research Network, and from the Drawing Room to the Rabley Drawing Centre, we’ve witnessed a proliferation of passion, effort, and energy matched by increased museum exhibitions, dedicated degree courses, professors, publications, and conferences. All of the above have been established in pursuit of understanding, developing, and promoting drawing, and many inside and outside the sector endure to evidence drawing as the most sophisticated means of thinking and communicating as well as an activity for everyone. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Filed under: CAA News