College Art Association

CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Sep 30, 2015

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.

Am I a Hack or a Budding Genius?

I’m an undergraduate in painting and approaching my final semester. While I feel like I’ve come so far over the last several years, I can’t get over the fact that deep down, when I look at my pieces, they seem so derivative. Should I quit painting? What can I do to be more original? (Read more from Burnaway.)

What Is Transformative?

There has been a recent surge in interest around fair use both in academia and in the trenches of artistic production. Several books and articles have been written on the subject of late, not to mention the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts that CAA released in early 2015. These publications have provided an alternative to the “sky is falling” copyright narrative that Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle, and other legal scholars propagated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (Read more from the Enemy.)

Will Facebook’s “Dislike” Button Change the Art World as We Know It?

Facebook will soon start testing a “dislike” button, or something very close to it. But will you really be able to dislike something? And what will the repercussions be for the hypersensitive contingency of contemporary art worlders? We decided to look at—you guessed it—Facebook to see what art types were saying about it. (Read more from the New York Observer.)

“So, What Is a Postdoc?”

After six years of graduate school, I got pretty good at explaining my research in evolutionary genetics to friends, family, strangers sitting beside me on an airplane, and anyone else who made the mistake of expressing an interest. What I didn’t anticipate was that when I finally finished my PhD, I would have to start explaining my actual job description. “I’m what’s called a ‘postdoc,’” I find myself saying regularly these days. And then I flounder. (Read more from Vitae.)

From Cory Arcangel to Pac-Man: How Digital Art Curators Save Vintage Data and Hardware

The artist Alexander Taylor was recently awarded a grant from Rhizome to support a project called .3gp. He plans to build a web app using YouTube’s API to let visitors digitally channel surf through a collection of videos shot on Motorola Razr–era cellphones. The project comes as the art world is increasingly concerned with preserving digital and electronic works, from amateur digital videos to experimental pieces by international art stars such as Cory Arcangel and Nam June Paik. (Read more from Fast Company.)

Not Paying Artists Deeply Entrenched in Gallery Culture, Research Suggests

The image of the hard-up artist toiling away day and night for little or no reward is nothing new, but recently published research may still surprise. It shows that more than 70 percent of contemporary visual artists who took part in publicly funded exhibitions in the last three years received no fee. Almost as many are now saying no to galleries because they cannot afford to work for free. The figures are published as part of a new campaign called Paying Artists, which is seeking a more equitable system. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Slow Teaching

At some point on the first day of classes I am going to ask my students to answer some questions anonymously. In all honesty, why did you enroll in this course? What final grade you would be happy with? What about this class are you most concerned or anxious about? Exploring students’ responses over the years has led me to identify two prevailing suspicions: that art-history courses are based on rote memorization of names and dates, and that class time will consist of a battery of artworks crammed into a swiftly delivered lecture. (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

Preventing Ethnic Fraud

Rachel Dolezal made headlines for claiming to be black even as her parents publicly insisted she was white. The case brought to light something that academe has dealt with for decades: faculty applicants claiming an ethnic affiliation they don’t actually possess, either to gain some kind of edge in the hiring process or to appear more expert in one’s field—or both. While a variety of ethnic and cultural groups have been the subject of such fraud, Native Americans might be the most consistently affected group. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

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