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Top News in 2015 from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard

As 2015 comes to a close, CAA would like to wish a safe and happy holiday season to its members, subscribers, partners, and other visual-arts professionals. As we reflect on the past twelve months, we would like to offer CAA News readers a look at the most accessed articles from the past year.

I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me

I’m a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. Yet things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me—particularly the liberal ones. (Read more from Vox.)

Why Absolutely Everyone Hates Renoir

When God-Hates-Renoir protesters recently rallied outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, there was only one reason why anyone might have been surprised to see them there. The museum isn’t mounting a big Renoir show, or celebrating the artist in some other way. Any institution foolhardy enough to do so knows by now to expect some kind of pushback, because everyone hates Renoir, and everyone always has. (Read more from the Atlantic.)

Entire USC First-Year MFA Class Is Dropping Out

We are a group of seven artists who made the decision to attend USC Roski School of Art and Design’s MFA program based on the faculty, curriculum, program structure, and funding packages. We are a group of seven artists who have been forced by the school’s dismantling of each of these elements to dissolve our MFA candidacies. In short, due to the university’s unethical treatment of its students, we, the entire incoming class of 2014, are dropping out of school and dropping back into our expanded communities at large. (Read more from Art and Education.)

Speaking for the “Quitters” and “Failures”

In the eyes of many academics, as Leonard Cassuto recently pointed out, I am considered a failure because I did not earn a doctorate. Meanwhile, American universities are awarding more doctorates than ever. And yet I have something most of those newly minted PhDs will never have: a full-time, tenured teaching job. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Why Is College So Expensive If Professors Are Paid So Little?

Twenty-five years ago, a student at a public college or nonresearch university campus would see twice as many faculty as administrators on average; now the ratio is roughly equal. Just 20 percent of the teaching workforce in 2013 were permanent or tenure track. About half worked part-time or as adjuncts, often stitching together temporary gigs at different institutions. (Read more from the Nation.)

Dealing with Inappropriate Emails from Students

About once a week I will open my inbox and be greeted by an email that will leave me at a loss for words. A few nights ago, for instance, one student emailed me at 10:30 PM on a Sunday requesting—”urgently”—a meeting at 7:30 the next morning. She wanted to discuss an assignment that was due the day after and couldn’t make it any other time during the day. I decided not to respond—at least not immediately. (Read more from GradHacker.)

Making the Most of the Syllabus

On the first day of class, after a brief introduction to the class topic and my related background, I pass out the syllabus in hard copy. We then read the document together out loud. I ask a student to read the first paragraph. Then the next student reads the next paragraph, and so on. In addition to ensuring that every student reads the entire syllabus, I help students get over possible anxieties about hearing themselves speak in front of their peers. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

What Ever Happened to Google Books?

It was the most ambitious library project of our time—a plan to scan all of the world’s books and make them available to the public online. “We think that we can do it all inside of ten years,” Marissa Mayer, who was then a vice president at Google, said to the New Yorker in 2007, when Google Books was in its beta stage. “It’s mind-boggling to me, how close it is.” Today, the project sits in a kind of limbo. (Read more from the New Yorker.)

Great Colleges to Work for 2015

This special issue features results of the Chronicle’s eighth annual Great Colleges to Work For survey, based on responses from nearly 44,000 campus employees. The survey found that at colleges recognized for a strong workplace culture, employees were more likely to feel acknowledged, supported, well informed by their leaders, and engaged in a common mission. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Dying of Exposure

At some point, two years ago, maybe, I stopped doing things for free: no free writing, no free talks, no free critiques with artists or art students, nothing. I didn’t make the decision out of avarice; I made it as a matter of survival. I used to accept all kinds of invitations to do such things, paid or not, when I was a tenured professor. But, of course, the privilege of not having to think about my intellectual labor in those terms was predicated on the very fact that I was being paid, by my university, if not by the publishers, colleges, students, or artists who hosted the events to which I was invited. (Read more from Art Practical.)

Thirty Art-Writing Clichés to Ditch in the New Year

It’s a new year, which is a fine excuse as any to ditch old bad habits. Here below, I have assembled a not-at-all exhaustive list of art-writing words that I could do without in 2015. I admit that I’ve been guilty myself of abusing some or all of them—but of course that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for. (Read more from Artnet News.)

Behind the Impasse That Led USC’s 2016 MFA Students to Withdraw in Protest

The graduate class of 2016 at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design has withdrawn in protest from the visual-arts program over administration and curriculum changes. The conflict stems from changes made to the program after students had already arrived on campus, as well as resignations by prominent faculty members. (Read more from the Los Angeles Times.)

Is Adjuncting the “Kiss of Death”?

Numerous commentators have observed that being an adjunct, as a recent essay put it, “actually seems to decrease your chances of securing a tenure-track position.” Some have even gone so far as to label adjuncting a career destroyer, the proverbial “kiss of death.” But is it really? (Read more from Vitae.)

The Hostile Renegotiation of the Professor-Student Relationship

There is a scourge on college campuses today, driving a wedge between students and faculty. Political correctness? Maybe that, too. But I’m referring instead to the newly triumphant caricature of today’s undergrad (and perhaps some grad students as well) as a hypersensitive, helicoptered student-customer who will file a Title IX complaint if the dining hall kale isn’t organic. Today’s undergrad is so entitled as to demand to be employable after graduation. (Read more from the New Republic.)

O Adjunct! My Adjunct!

I spent half of my undergraduate career figuring out what I didn’t want to do. I started off in the journalism program, switched to literature, was undecided for a few panicked, free-floating months, and studied photography for a time. But the spring of my sophomore year, I enrolled in a fiction-writing workshop with an instructor named Harvey Grossinger. What I didn’t know at the time—and what I wouldn’t figure out for the better part of the next decade—was that Harvey was an adjunct. He didn’t tell us, and I didn’t know to ask. As an undergraduate, I never heard the term. (Read more from the New Yorker.)

The Conference Manifesto

We are weary of academic conferences. We are humanists who recognize very little humanity in the conference format and content. We have sat patiently and politely through talks read line by line in a monotone voice by a speaker who doesn’t look up once, wondering why we couldn’t have read the paper ourselves in advance with a much greater level of absorption. (Read more from the New York Times.)

How Art Became Irrelevant

In terms of quantifiable data—prices spent on paintings and photographs and sculptures, visitors accommodated, funds raised, and square footage created at museums—the picture could hardly be rosier. Equally robust is the art market, to judge by a Christie’s auction on May 11 that set several records, including the highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art. But quantifiable data can only describe the fiscal health of the fine arts, not their cultural health. Here the picture is not so rosy. (Read more from Commentary.)

Dear Liberal Professor, Students Aren’t the Problem

In a recent Vox essay, a self-described “liberal professor,” writing under a pseudonym, explained how students had changed over his nine years in the college classroom. His liberal students now “terrify” him, he wrote, with their identity politics and imagined grievances. Here we go, I thought, another lament of the loss of white-male privilege, this time set at the university. What I quickly realized, however, was that the essay might be better characterized as a jeremiad, a cautionary tale that exaggerates current woes to elicit social change. (Read more from Vitae.)

The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking

The moment of truth for me came in the spring 2013 semester. I looked out at my visual-communication class and saw a group of six students transfixed by the blue glow of a video on one of their computers, and decided I was done allowing laptops in my large lecture class. “Done” might be putting it mildly. Although I am an engaging lecturer, I could not compete with Facebook and YouTube, and I was tired of trying. The next semester I told students they would have to take notes on paper. Period. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Historian Uses Lasers to Unlock Mysteries of Gothic Cathedrals

Thirteen million people visit the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris every year, entering through massive wooden doors at the base of towers as solidly planted as mountains. They stand in front of walls filigreed with stained glass and gaze at a ceiling supported by delicate ribs of stone. If its beauty and magnificence is instantly apparent, so much about Notre Dame is not. To begin with, we don’t know who built this cathedral—or how. (Read more from National Geographic.)

I’m Paid Less Than My Colleagues. Help!

I’m in the biological sciences at an R1 school and am a relatively new full professor. Recently, I was shown the mean salary for all faculty at this rank within my department. To my surprise, my salary was about 20 percent less than this number. Meanwhile the mean salary for full professors in my department is approximately 6 percent lower than the average provided by the Chronicle’s latest salary report for my university. (Read more from Vitae.)

What’s the Point of a Professor?

In the coming weeks, two million Americans will earn a bachelor’s degree and either join the work force or head to graduate school. They will be joyous that day, and they will remember fondly the schools they attended. But as this unique chapter of life closes and they reflect on campus events, one primary part of higher education will fall low on the ladder of meaningful contacts: the professors. (Read more from the New York Times.)

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.)

A Guide to Thesis Writing That Is a Guide to Life

How to Write a Thesis, by Umberto Eco, first appeared on Italian bookshelves in 1977. For Eco, the playful philosopher and novelist best known for his work on semiotics, there was a practical reason for writing it. Up until 1999, a thesis of original research was required of every student pursuing the Italian equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. Collecting his thoughts on the thesis process would save him the trouble of reciting the same advice to students each year. (Read more from the New Yorker.)

What Are Some Good Art Documentaries?

What are some worthwhile art documentaries? I am an art instructor and working on compiling a list of films for my students to watch in their spare time. Any suggestions? (Read more from Burnaway.)

Six Dos and Don’ts for Gallery Representation

The road to getting into a gallery can seem impossibly rocky with obstacles at every turn. How do you know if you’re choosing the right path and using the right approach? We chatted with a veteran gallery owner and turned to the experts for six important dos and don’ts to achieving gallery representation. (Read more from Artwork Archive.)

Thirteen Art-History Emojis We Desperately Wish Were Real

This one goes out to all the art-savvy texters of the world, looking to add some of history’s finest manifestations of creative expression to their OMGs and LOLs. It’s been over two years since the glory days of #emojiarthistory, when the art world banded together to adapt art classics into emojis using the options available. What if, instead of using two dancing ballerinas to signify a Diane Arbus photo, there existed a whole realm of ready-made art emojis based on the canon of art history? (Read more from the Huffington Post.)

The Art of Having Difficult Conversations

The ability to have difficult conversations is important for career success, productivity, and relationships in almost every field, and higher education is no exception. However, despite the need to have these conversations, the idea of addressing sensitive issues can be scary. This article provides strategies for having difficult conversations and gives example scripts. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Ten Tips for More Efficient and Effective Grading

Many instructors dread grading, not just because grading takes up a sizable amount of time and can prove itself a tedious task, but also because instructors struggle with grading effectively and efficiently. However, effective grading does not have to take inordinate amounts of time, nor does one need to sacrifice quality for speed. The following tips can help instructors grade more effectively while enhancing student learning. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)

A Win for Academic Freedom: Steven Salaita Awarded Back-to-Back Victories against University That Fired Him

The first part of June has awarded back-to-back victories to Steven Salaita, a professor who last year was dismissed from his post at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, for posting tweets considered by some to be beyond the pale of proper academic discourse. What makes this case especially interesting—and what the recent court decision and a critical vote by the largest confederation of US professors in the country shows—is the undue and improper interference of wealthy donors on the internal affairs of public educational institutions. (Read more from Salon.)

There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts

Apart from feeling sorry for the underpaid faculty, why should we care that college professors have the same job conditions as day laborers, fast-food workers, cashiers, taxi drivers, or home-care aides? They did, after all, choose to pursue a career in higher ed. Administrators at these institutions of higher learning argue that they need to use adjuncts because it is the only way to keep tuition from rising even faster than it has. And isn’t access to education the higher good? (Read more from the Atlantic.)

Re: Your Recent Email to Your Professor

In the age of social media, many students approach emailing similar to texting and other forms of digital communication, where the crucial conventions are brevity and informality. But most college teachers consider emails closer to letters than to text messages. This style of writing calls for more formality, more thoroughness, and more faithful adherence to the conventions of Edited Standard Written English—that is, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and syntax. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Using Smarthistory to Generate Good Conversations in the Art-History Survey

I had been aware of Smarthistory for years, occasionally assigning videos as supplemental readings and directing students to its content. But following their use of the Khan Academy platform in 2011, the site’s content expanded exponentially. Suddenly, there were enough videos on diverse topics that I could assign Smarthistory videos for every topic in my syllabus. (Read more from Smarthistory.)

Does Color Even Exist?

Color perception is an ancient and active philosophical problem. It’s an instance of the wider category of sensory perception, but since the color spectrum fits on a single line, it has always been of particular interest. In her new book Outside Color, M. Chirimuuta gives a serendipitously timed history of the puzzle of color in philosophy. To read Outside Color as a layman feels like being let in on a shocking secret: neither scientists nor philosophers know for sure what color is. (Read more from the New Republic.)

That “Useless” Liberal-Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket

Stewart Butterfield, Slack Technologies’ cofounder and CEO, proudly holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Canada’s University of Victoria and a master’s degree from Cambridge in philosophy and the history of science. “Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings.” (Read more from Forbes.)

There’s a Game for That: Teaching Art History with “Reacting to the Past”

When faculty facilitate involvement in activities such as simulations and games, and when students work collaboratively through role play and debate, deeper learning and transfer occurs. As part of my efforts to include more active and student-centered learning opportunities into my courses and to encourage knowledge, skills, and attitudes that support higher-order thinking tasks such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, I added a “Reacting to the Past” role-playing game to my introductory-level art-history course. (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

Two Bronzes Attributed Convincingly to Michelangelo

A team of art historians, scientists, and anatomical experts has announced that a pair of bronze statues—meter-high, idealized, muscular nude male followers of the god Bacchus riding panthers—are by Michelangelo and date from around 1508–10. The pair, which is in a private collection, will go on display on February 3 at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

An Illustrated Guide to Arthur Danto’s “The End of Art”

In an obituary for the New York Times, Ken Johnson described Arthur Danto as “one of the most widely read art critics of the Postmodern era.” Danto, both a critic and a professor of philosophy, is celebrated for his accessible and affable prose. Despite this, his best-known essay, “The End of Art,” continues to be cited more than it is understood. What was Danto’s argument? Is art really over? And if so, what are the implications for art history and art making? (Read more from Hyperallergic.)

Filed under: 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.

Academics: Forget about Public Engagement, Stay in Your Ivory Towers

Academics are constantly encouraged to engage with the public more often, but this advice ignores the way that specialized knowledge already affects civic life. Specialization has social importance—but often only after decades of work. It is time for us to reassess what we mean by public scholarship. We must recognize the value of the esoteric knowledge, technical vocabulary, and expert histories that academics produce. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Give Your Syllabus an Extreme Redesign for the New Year

Do you ever feel like you want to get more out of your syllabus? Sure, it plays center stage during the first day of class, but does it really have to end there? Perhaps it’s a matter of presentation. (Read more from GradHacker.)

Built-In Self-Assessment: A Case for Annotation

If we want students to be critical thinkers, we must routinely and explicitly give them structured practice opportunities to critically examine their own thinking. Squeezing two or three metacognitive activities into a hectic semester teaches students that such reflection is only for special occasions. Rather, student self-evaluation should be a daily course routine. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)

Virtual-Reality Lab Explores New Kinds of Immersive Learning

For students attending class via webcam or video lecture, the video is two dimensional, and the audio doesn’t sound as it would if they were in a real classroom. Ramani Duraiswami, a computer-science professor and cofounder of the start-up company VisiSonics, thinks virtual-reality technology could help the experience feel more immersive. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Dual Careers, One Academic

I’ve seen a lot written and discussed about the so-called two-body problem, as universities take on the challenge of dual-career couples coming into a new position. It’s a particularly important issue in my field, as the majority of married women in it are married to men in the field. The problem is that I’m not one of them, as I married someone whose career is outside academia. (Read more from Tenure, She Wrote.)

Swiss Artists Program Laptop to Make Random Purchases from the Dark Web

It’s unlikely that police will swoop down on a south London art gallery and apprehend a laptop that is busy making random purchases from a secretive part of the web known as the dark net. Then again, it depends what the automated shopping bot known as Random Darknet Shopper chooses to buy online and have delivered to the gallery. (Read more from the Independent.)

New Site Lets You Report Facebook and Other Networks When They Censor Art

Nudity in art has been around for thousands of years, but Facebook still can’t take it. The social-media site has blocked users like Frédéric Durand-Baïssas for sharing paintings, including Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde. Though some people have protested by creating Facebook groups like Artists Against Art Censorship, recording every instance of censorship—let alone fighting back—is next to impossible. (Read more from Hyperallergic.)

Art History, Feminism, and Wikipedia

What might the internet’s most popular general reference and free-access encyclopedia (not to mention the fifth-largest website in the world) offer a centuries-old academic discipline? How might its participatory model—the fact that anyone can access and edit most of its articles—generate new stakeholders in and audiences for our field? (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

Filed under: CAA News


The clock is ticking! Early Conference Registration Rates end December 21, 2015! Submit your Individual Registration Information to attend the largest gathering of visual arts professionals! This year, don’t miss Tania Bruguera, the chairs of the NEA and NEH, MacArthur Fellows LaToya Ruby Frazier and Rick Lowe, and much more!

We are very pleased to invite you to join us for the College Art Association’s Annual Conference. The 104th Annual Conference will be held in Washington, DC at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel from Wednesday, February 3 to Saturday, February 6, 2016. As the world’s largest international forum for professionals in the visual arts, the conference offers more than 200 sessions, panel discussions, roundtables, and meetings on topics in current art scholarship and practice. Join more than 4,000 artists, art historians, designers, museum directors and curators, arts administrators, and educators in networking opportunities and the exchange of ideas and information between colleagues from across the globe. We invite you to join us.

This year’s highlights include Convocation Keynote address by Cuban installation and performance artist, Tania Bruguera; Opening Night Reception at the Katzen Center at American University; and the Fourteenth Annual Distinguished Scholar session honoring Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History and Dean of Humanities at Duke University.

Additional highlights include the NEA and NEH 50th Anniversary Presentation Lecture with Jane Chu, Chair of the NEA, in conversation with William “Bro” Adams, Chairman of the NEH; the Annual Distinguished Artists’ Interviews with Joyce Scott, artist of social commentary on racism, sexism and violence, in conversation with George Ciscle, Curator-in-Residence of MICA; and conversation between two MacArthur “genius” fellowship recipients, Rick Lowe (2014) and LaToya Ruby Frazier (2015); Jarl Mohn; National Public Radio CEO and President, will speak on the visual arts and the public; a special tribute to Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art at New York University; and the Book and Trade Fair with over 120 publishers, art materials manufacturers, and services in the arts, and much more.

The 2016 CAA conference will also host ARTspace, a conference within the conference. ARTspace is programmed by artists, and tailored to the interests and needs of artists. It is open to all attendees and includes the Annual Artists’ Interviews mentioned above, Media Lounge, and ARTexchange.

CAA has arranged for a curator-led tour of “Marvelous Objects: Surrealist Sculpture From Paris to New York” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; a US Capitol Building Tour; a tour of the Kogod House and Art Collection (Donor Circle and Life Members only); a tour of the Glenstone Museum, a Charles Gwathmey-designed private museum housing prime examples of Post-WWII works; and tours of DC-based artist studios and galleries.

CAA members receive substantial discounts on conference registration. For those members who are not eligible for CAA’s discounted memberships, the best overall value on combined membership and conference registration is with the Premium or Donor Circle level membership. CAA members at the Basic level planning to attend the Annual Conference are encouraged to upgrade to the Premium level, which when combined with the discounted conference registration will provide the greatest value. To upgrade your membership please email us or call 212.691.1051, ext. 1 with any feedback or questions.

CAA’s partners are offering exclusive discounts on airfare, car rentals, train travel, and hotel rooms to all conference attendees. Book now and save even more. It is strongly encouraged that you reserve your accommodations at one of the official Conference Hotels. Please note that CAA commits to a block of rooms at these hotels on behalf of its members and has a financial obligation to fill those blocks. Please help us avoid potential penalties and control costs for future events by staying at one of the official hotels.

We look forward to seeing you in DC!


Filed under: Annual Conference, ARTspace


The 2015 Nominating Committee has selected the following slate of six candidates for election to the CAA Board of Directors for the 2016-2020 term. Voting begins in early January 2016. Please go to CAA’s website to read each candidate’s statement, biography, and endorsement – and watch their video comments – before casting your vote. The candidates are:

  • Dina Bangdel Associate Professor & Director, Art History Program, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar
  • Carma Gorman Associate Professor & Assistant Chair, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin
  • N. Elizabeth Schlatter Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University of Richmond Museums, Richmond
  • Andrew Schulz Associate Dean for Research & Associate Professor, College of Arts and Architecture, Pennsylvania State University
  • Roberto Tejada Cullen Distinguished Professor, Departments of English and Art History, University of Houston
  • Anuradha Vikram Lecturer, Graduate Public Practice, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles
    About the Board

The Board of Directors is charged with CAA’s long-term financial stability and strategic direction; it is also the Association’s governing body. The Board sets policy regarding all aspects of CAA’s activities, including publishing, the Annual Conference, awards and fellowships, advocacy, and committee procedures.

About the Election

CAA members may vote for no more than four (4) candidates (which may include one write-in candidate who must be a CAA member). The four candidates receiving the most votes will be elected to the Board. CAA members may cast their votes and submit their proxies online only. CAA holds the Board election on its own website. To vote, members will need only to log into their CAA member account.

All voting must take place prior to 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. The results of the Board election will be announced at CAA’s Annual Business Meeting which is to be held at 5:30 p.m. EST at the start of Convocation at the Annual Conference in Washington on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 in the Marriott Ballroom, Salon 2, Lobby Level at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road, NW., Washington, D. C. 20008. CAA’s President, DeWitt Godfrey, will preside.

Questions? Contact Vanessa Jalet, executive liaison, at (212) 392-4434 or

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.

Confronting America’s Shameful Mass Incarceration with Art

Yoko Ono and Chris Burden are known for challenging the relationship between the art and the audience. The thirty-three-year-old performance artist Lech Szporer does this, too. But, unlike the hard-to-define nature of his antecedents, Szporer’s The Cage Project and its kin clearly express their purpose, and the performances are accompanied by actions that the larger public can more easily recognize as real. (Read more from the New Yorker.)

Help Desk: Culture and Compensation

The problem: sincere offers, from sweet, well-intended people, to show my work without compensation. The result: my polite refusal is taken as a slight, and I’m thought of as ungrateful. These people think they are doing me a favor and are confused when their request is turned down. What I’d like to have access to: an article written for the layperson that elucidates the situation. (Read more from Daily Serving.)

For Art to Flourish and Leave Its Trace

Art museums pledge to collect, display, study, interpret, and conserve works of art because those objects provide rich and soulful echoes of who we are. How will art made using interactive, decidedly variable, hastily obsolescent high-tech media fare? Digital and computer-based artworks are an active force behind retooling the museum and expanding methods of stewardship. (Read more from the Voices of Contemporary Art Journal.)

Researchers Observe Effects of Art on the Brain

When it comes to art, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but some scientists now are looking for it in bursts of brain waves. Seeking a biological basis for our response to art, researchers from the University of Houston recorded the electrical brain activity from 431 gallery visitors last year as they explored an exhibit of works by the conceptual artist Dario Robleto at the Menil Collection. (Read more from the Wall Street Journal.)

Influencing How Students Discuss Content

When students are talking with each other about content, many of us worry. We’ve all heard less-than-impressive exchanges. For example, four students are in a group discussing three open-ended questions about two challenging readings. In less than five minutes, they’re already on question three. Or, they’re working with clickers, supposedly exchanging ideas about a problem, but the group has already decided on one member’s solution. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)

Thoughts about Ashgate and Libraries

By now you are probably aware of the ongoing discussion about the fate of Ashgate Publishing, which was acquired by Informa last summer. Over the years Ashgate has increasingly become a respected venue for art historians, especially younger scholars publishing their early books on diverse and often groundbreaking topics that were organized—as the press matured—into a variety of interesting series. (Read more from the ARLIS/NA Collection Development SIG Blog.)

Breaking It to Your Family

We often discuss the effects of the tenure track on faculty lives. Much like the military, family members are also “drafted” into the academic lifestyle. Last month, we discussed how to break it to yourself that tenure does not mean less work. Here, we address this hard fact as it relates to families. The reality is that, even after gaining tenure, you may well face a relentless and often invisible set of career demands that can confuse and frustrate family members. (Read more from Inside Higher Education.)

Academic Job Hunts from Hell: Inappropriate, Hostile, and Awkward Moments

A doctoral student on the job market described a truly uncomfortable moment during a campus visit. An assistant professor giving her a campus tour stopped in front of an office filled with packing boxes and gestured inside, stating with a wistful air, “This is mine, or rather was. They are firing me; hence the opening.” Then he stood there, waiting for her reaction. My informant was so shocked that she responded, “That’s nice….” (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Filed under: CAA News

ARIAH’s East Asia Fellowship Program

posted by Christopher Howard

The Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH), a consortium of museums and research centers based in North America or affiliated with North American institutions, has established a new program that will strengthen intellectual connections among art-history disciplines in different regions of the world. With generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Getty Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art, ARIAH’s East Asia Fellowship Program will enable twelve scholars from countries in East Asia to conduct research at ARIAH member institutes on any topic in the visual arts. The project is funded for a three-year period, beginning in 2016, with four fellowships offered each year.

The East Asia Fellowship Program is open to scholars of art history from Japan, Mongolia, the People’s Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Taiwan, and South Korea. Each fellow will be hosted by an ARIAH member institute and have the opportunity to travel to other research centers during the three- to four-month fellowship period. Fellowships will be awarded through an open, competitive application process. One fellowship per year, supported specifically by the Terra Foundation, will focus on research topics related to the art of the United States before 1980. Topics for all other fellowships will be open, as long as they can be supported by research on the collections of the host institute. The deadline for the first of three rounds of fellowships is December 31, 2015.

“It’s impossible to overstate how important material support, not to mention encouragement, from the Mellon, Getty, and Terra foundations has been for launching this program,” said Jon Mogul, chair of ARIAH and assistant director for research and academic initiatives at the Wolfsonian–Florida International University in Miami Beach, Florida. “Art history and visual studies, like other academic fields, thrive when scholars who come from different traditions and view their subject through different lenses have the chance to learn from one another. The birth of this program really underscores just how essential these three foundations are to sustaining an ecosystem in which such intellectual interchange among art historians from different regions of the world can happen more and more routinely.”

The East Asia Fellowship Program grew out of a successful project that ARIAH designed in the late 1990s which brought art historians from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean to ARIAH member institutes. The Latin American program was part of larger process that yielded longer-term results and fostered increased collaboration and intellectual exchange among academic disciplines in Latin American countries.

ARIAH conceived of and developed the new program to encourage a similar intellectual, cross-cultural exchange between scholars and to establish lasting professional connections. The fellows will work side by side with curators, librarians, and fellows from other areas of research. Among the twenty-seven member organizations of ARIAH are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty Research Institute. The largest concentration of members can be found in the Smithsonian museums in the Washington, DC, area.

Peter Lukehart, associate dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, said that East Asia is “a geographic region from which, historically, there have been fewer applications” to the programs of ARIAH’s member institutes. “Consequently, the rich resources of these institutes are not known or available to scholars who might otherwise benefit from them. ARIAH hopes that encounters between scholars and administrators at ARIAH institutes will lead to future collaboration and interchange between fellows and their hosts. “Given the increasingly global nature of the discipline of art history,” Lukehart said, “these goals seem especially urgent.”

Support CAA with a Gift to the Annual Fund

posted by Nia Page

As a member of the College Art Association, you understand the importance of the work of CAA in service to the individuals and institutions that make up the world’s largest international professional community in the visual arts. The Association supports and enhances the field through advocacy efforts on important issues such as those impacting populations, like part-time faculty, and the protection of archaeological and historical sites in countries of conflict, to name a few; vital professional tools like CAA’s Standards and Guidelines; critical projects like the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts; prestigious publishing grants for books; career-development resources, including the Online Career Center; Professional-Development Fellowships; new scholarship published in The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, and; and CAA’s forum for exchange of creative work, scholarly research and critical issues in the field at the Annual Conference. None of this would be possible without the support of dedicated members like you.

With an ever-changing academic and museum landscape, CAA is responding to the evolving needs of its constituents. Many new member opportunities are being created, such as flexible and expanded Annual Conference programming, as well as new communication tools and platforms to further our dialogue beyond the conference. Even as CAA innovates, it continues its longstanding leadership in career development for early, mid, and senior level visual-arts professionals.

Today, I ask that you support CAA’s important work with a gift to the Annual Fund. Your contribution will enable us to continue providing invaluable resources and services to members like you. Voluntary support from individuals is critical to our collective advancement, and your contribution to the Annual Fund makes this possible. Your gift will benefit those who share your dedication to the visual arts.

Should you have given in the past, please know that your gift was very much appreciated. We hope you will continue your generosity at the same or even greater level. On behalf of the artists, art historians, collectors, critics, curators, designers, educators, and other professionals who make up CAA, I thank you for your dedication. Please give generously!


John J. Richardson
VP for External Affairs and President-Elect

P.S. This year’s conference in Washington, DC February 3–6 will be one that you will not want to miss. I look forward to seeing you there.

Filed under: Development

The New #CAA2016 Social Media Wall

posted by CAA

We are very excited to announce a new digital platform for this year’s Annual Conference that will bring together the online conversations taking place before, during, and after the big event. The new platform is part of CAA’s strategic plan for better serving the membership and offering improved communications.

We are pleased to introduce the #CAA2016 Conference Social Media Wall.

The Social Media Wall will be a space where attendees and the public can make contributions and follow the conversation on a single, updating page. The Social Media Wall will gather any Twitter or Instagram posts using any of the #CAA2016 conference hashtags below.

Conference Hashtags:
#caa2016 [Official Conference Hashtag]
#caabtf [Book and Trade Fair]
#caacareers [Mentoring, Workshops, and Interview Hall]
#caaarttspace [ARTspace]
#caainternational [Getty Travel Fellowship and International News]
#caasepc [Student and Emerging Professional Committee]
#caafairuse [Fair Use Code of Conduct]
#caaadvocacy [Advocacy Work]

How your posts will appear on the #CAA2016 Social Media Wall:

  • Post a witty observation or proclaim your excitement about the conference to your Twitter or Instagram account using one of the hashtags above
  • Wait a few minutes…
  • Watch your post appear alongside the collection of other amusing and astute comments about the 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, February 3-6, 2016.
  • Repeat!

Lastly, our Instagram account is new, so please do follow us and tag us in posts.

We are happy to bring this improved communication feature to the CAA membership, and we hope you enjoy using it.

We look forward to seeing you in DC!

Filed under: Annual Conference, Social Media

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.

Three Artists Who Think outside the Box

Rick Lowe’s achievements resonated well beyond Houston. Theaster Gates and Mark Bradford, who both cite him as an influence, are Lowe’s coconspirators in a mode of political or “social practice” art that actively involves them in underserved neighborhoods. Now old friends who have over the years spoken on many panels together and called each other regularly for advice, the three artists have also assisted each other on their large-scale, community-based artworks. (Read more in the New York Times.)

Revisiting the Educational Turn (How I Tried to Renovate an Art School)

At the dawn of the 2000s, the idea of an “educational turn” in the art world was everywhere. On paper, this evolution seemed irresistible, logical, even profound. So much so that, back then, curators such as Hou Hanru, Maria Lind, Okwui Enwezor, and Ute Meta Bauer started to occupy significant positions within art schools. But none lasted too long. (Read more from Art Review.)

How to Be a Brilliant Conference Chair

Think of the worst conference chairs you have ever experienced. The ones who forgot or mispronounced the speakers’ names or failed to turn up altogether. The ones who didn’t notice the shy hand-raisers and only called on the masters of gesticulation. Or the ones who took advantage of the opportunity to tell the audience about their fascinating research and superior knowledge. Although such debacles can be something of a scholarly rite of passage, there are ways to avoid these pitfalls. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Isabelle Graw on Twenty-Five Years of Texte zur Kunst

There’s no arguing that the publication Texte zur Kunst, founded in 1990 in Cologne by Stefan Germer and Isabelle Graw, has shaped art criticism in Germany and beyond. What started as a small enterprise run from the heart of the German art underground and read by a close circle of like-minded thinkers has, in the course of twenty-five years and one hundred issues, produced a veritable theoretical canon. (Read more from Artnet News.)

I Fit the Description

On his way to get a burrito before work, the artist and professor Steve Locke was detained by Boston police. He noticed a police car in the public parking lot behind Centre Street. As he was walking away from his car, the cruiser followed him. He walked down Centre Street and was about to cross over to the burrito place when the officer got out of the car. “Hey my man,” he said. He unsnapped the holster of his gun. (Read more from Art and Everything After.)

The Mass Market Ain’t What It Used to Be (and What That Means for the Arts)

What does it mean to “engage with an audience”? Whole industries thrive on trying to define, quantify, and strategize engagement and building audience. It breaks down into three parts: Can you find an audience? Can you motivate it to respond in some desired way? Can you convince that audience to continue a relationship with you? (Read more from Diacritical.)

Is It Unwise to Post Unpublished Papers Online?

Is it unwise to make unpublished papers publicly available (e.g., on ResearchGate or I’d like to do this but have two concerns. The first is that someone will steal the work. My second concern relates to publishability—journals don’t want previously published work. (Read more from Vitae.)

How to Explain Art to Your Mother

How do I explain to my mother why her sweet little girl, who got straight As in school and still goes to church, is interested in a photograph of a naked child stomping on his mother? In most families you could skirt the issue, tucking it away in the conversational corner reserved for politics and religion. But I’m married to an artist, and just this year we set out to make a living primarily from selling his art. (Read more from Burnaway.)

Filed under: CAA News

CAA’s publications deliver the world’s leading scholarship in the visual arts in formats that include long-form essays, innovative artists’ projects, and critical reviews. With the addition of our new digital platforms, we can now engage readers with new multimedia forms of scholarly publications and broader interactive functionality.

In The Art Bulletin, online versions of essays can now incorporate supplemental media files,  for example, allowing Halle O’Neal to animate the calligraphy on a jeweled pagoda painting and Lisa Pon to model the effects of Raphael’s Acts of the Apostles tapestries on sound and music in the Sistine Chapel. Art Journal’s website, Art Journal Open, publishes probing interviews with artists and curators, most recently by curator Dina Deitsch exploring the creative processes of three artists with whom she worked on exhibitions, William Lamson, Kate Gilmore, and robbinschilds. Our fully open-access online publication now includes about 150 reviews a year, and covers digital publications on diverse topics and geographic regions, like Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities (book and website, is now read on every continent, and its audience has grown over 100 percent since it became open access in January 2014.

Readers like you enable CAA to carry out our work. Please support our mission of advancing the highest standards of intellectual engagement in the arts by making a fully tax-deductible gift to the Publications Fund today.

Here are some are some highlights from CAA publications:

In The Art Bulletin:

  • The long-form essay remains the backbone of the journal. Recent authors have included Sun-ah Choi on the medieval Chinese reception of an Indian statue of the Buddha, Kim Sexton on architectural manifestations of self-government in communal-period Italy,  P. Park on surprising sources of artistic inspiration in late Chosŏn Korea,and Therese Dolan and Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby in twin essays on overlooked aspects of Manet’s Olympia
  • In the “Whither Art History?” series, prominent art historians trace advances in the discipline, among them Florina Capistrano-Baker on diasporic art andFiliz Yenişehirlioğlu on global elements of Ottoman art and architecture
  • Reviews of books on a wide range of topics, from temporality in Mesopotamian art, to the worldwide textile trade from 1500 to 1800, to art history through a Marxist lens

In Art Journal:

  • In a project that will be of critical value to both present-day and future art historians and artists, the artist Carolee Schneemann shared thirty pages of key texts, artworks, and photographs from her personal archive; in the artist’s project “Yoga for Adjuncts,” Christian Nagler considered the working conditions of adjunct professors with wily humor
  • Recent essays have featured Silvia Bottinelli on nomadism in Italian art and architecture of the 1960s and 1970s, Caroline V. Wallaceon the work of the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition in diversifying US museum exhibitions, Raven Falquez Munsell on the impact of the overthrow of the Chilean Allende government on the 1974 Venice Biennale, and Christopher Tradowsky on Nietzschean ressentiment in current art of a political cast
  • Reviews of new books on topics as diverse as how artists sustain their careers, the art of Bruce Nauman, and feminism in museum culture
  • The website Art Journal Open launched a new feature, Bookshelf, with annotated snapshots of books in queue on the shelves of scholars and artists such as Steven Nelson, Judith Rodenbeck, and Lenore Chinn


  • Recently reviewed books included:  Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the Art of the Figure by Michael Cole, Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro-Atlantic Art and Music by Robert Ferris Thompson, Escultura monumental mexica (revised edition) by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and Leonardo López Luján, and Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow: Essays on the Present and Future of Photography by David Levi Strauss. Exhibitions reviewed include Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Playthings: The Uncanny Art of Morton Bartlett at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In at the National Gallery of Art, and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston

These highly regarded journals reach tens of thousands of readers around the world and serve as essential resources to those working in the visual arts—none of which would be possible without your support. Contributors who give at a level of $250 or higher are prominently acknowledged in the publication they support for four consecutive issues, as well as on the publication’s website for one year, through CAA News, and in the Annual Conference’s convocation booklet. On behalf of the scholars, critics, and artists who publish in the journals, we thank you for your continued commitment to maintaining a strong and spirited forum for the visual-arts community.

With best regards,





Gail Feigenbaum
Vice President for Publications

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