College Art Association

CAA News Today

The College Art Association is proud to participate in the 2016 National Fair Use Week. This event is held annually during the last week of February, this year from  Monday, February 22, through Friday, February 26. It celebrates the important doctrines of fair use in the United States and fair dealing in Canada and other jurisdictions. In honor of National Fair Use Week, CAA presents the following article about ways its fair use code has been embraced in the year since it was first released.

It’s been exactly one year since CAA published its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. A session at this year’s Annual Conference took stock of the progress made during the past twelve months, and panelists recounted remarkable progress in applying fair use to the visual arts. Chaired by Judy Metro, editor-in-chief at the National Gallery of Art and chair of CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property, five CAA members described how they or their institutions modified their approach to using copyrighted materials because of CAA’s new Code.

Leading the way was the College Art Association itself, which overturned its copyright policies for authors. As Betty Leigh Hutcheson, CAA’s director of publications, explained, instead of demanding that authors get permissions for all images and indemnify the press, CAA’s contracts now ask authors to read the Code and apply it to their uses. Indemnification is no longer required when asserting fair use.

 

Other publishers of artwork also told of changing policy. Patricia Fidler, art publisher at Yale University Press, described how, inspired by the Code, the press has now created its own fair use guidelines specific to scholarly publishing. Just as important for Fidler is the fact that other parts of Yale University, including its museums, are now considering expanding their access to fair use. “It’s a big step,” she said, “to give authors the last word on their fair use. And we are proud that it says at the top of our new author guidelines, ‘Yale University Press supports the fair use of art images in scholarly monographs.’”

Joseph Newland, head of publications at the Menil Collection in Houston, announced new policies at his museum. Thanks to the Code, the Menil has expanded access to fair use throughout the institution by adapting CAA’s policy for internal criteria. He said improvements are already apparent: “It’s really helped work flow, especially at the press office, which often needs to respond to the news cycle in a timely way.”

 

Sometimes progress includes learning from frustration. Susan Higman Larsen, head of publications at the Detroit Institute of Arts, talked about having to publish a work in a scholarly catalogue without a relevant image, because of intolerable attempts at controlling content by an estate. “We misunderstood fair use,” she explained. “We didn’t understand that some commercial uses are just as eligible for fair use as non-commercial ones.” The Code helped clear that up, she said, and now the DIA is publishing a new book, in which the author wants to reproduce an image by the same artist. “This time, we’ll claim fair use,” she said. Furthermore, the DIA is considering changing its institutional policies about fair use.

The last success story of the session was from an artist, Rebekah Modrak, who teaches at the University of Michigan. She recounted the challenges she encountered after creating a work of art that incorporated copyrighted material. She made a video introducing an imaginary company, Re Made Co., that spoofed the overexemplifying hipster-Brooklyn site Best Made Co. After receiving a cease-and-desist letter, she turned for advice to CAA, which steered her to good legal advice at the University of Michigan. Her university’s lawyers welcomed the opportunity to support her fair uses and endorsed her intention to keep her video online. Modrak then published an account of her experience for a Routledge publication, Consumption Markets & Culture. When the editors there initially asked her to get permission to reproduce images from her video, she relied on CAA’s Code to persuade them that fair use would apply.

 

Another way CAA is measuring the impact of the Code is through annual surveys that provide longitudinal data on how CAA members are relying on fair use. At the conference session, Patricia Aufderheide shared early results from a recent 2,500-person CAA survey, showing broad awareness of the Code. More than two thirds of respondents indicated they knew about the Code, and a third of that group had already shared their knowledge, usually with more than one kind of interlocutor—for example, students, colleagues, and association members. Many of those aware of the Code had already put it to use. Indeed, 11% of all respondents had begun to employ fair use only after the appearance of the Code last year, a big leap and a demonstration of the power of understanding community values and best practice.

Peter Jaszi concluded the session by discussing next steps in CAA’s fair use efforts. Over the coming year he and Aufderheide will work to educate in-house legal counsel about the importance of mission-oriented fair use, resulting in expanded employment of fair use by museums. They will continue to give presentations about the Code to groups of arts professionals around the country, with a special focus on publishing and museum activities. And Jaszi encouraged CAA members to avail themselves of the many resources—FAQs, explainers, infographics, background documents, slideshows and more—available both on the CAA website and at the Center for Media & Social Impact.

CAA will be posting updates about fair use on its website, including the success stories described above. We would like to hear from any of you whose practices have changed because of the Code, whether you have a success story or a challenge to share. Both types of information will support the field’s efforts to make appropriate reliance on fair use the norm. If you have fair use news to share, please contact me at jlanday@collegeart.org.

Find out more about National Fair Use Week here: http://fairuseweek.org/

Below are links to some of the events taking place around the country:

https://blog.library.gsu.edu/2015/02/23/fair-use-week/

http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2016/feb/fair-use-week-021716.html

A comprehensive collection of fair use codes, articles, videos and teaching materials can be found at the Center for Media and Social Impact, http://www.cmsimpact.org/fair-use

And don’t forget to look at the materials available on CAA’s website, which focus on our fair use code. There you will find Frequently Asked Questions, explanatory videos, infographics, and a five-part webinar, along with the Code itself.

Image Captions

Betty Leigh Hutcheson (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Patricia Fidler (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Joseph Newland, Peter Jaszi, and Susan Higman Larsen (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Rebekah Modrak (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Rebekah Modrak, Fair Use Badge of Honor

Call for Board of Directors Nominations

posted by February 19, 2016

CAA seeks nominations and self-nominations from individuals interested in shaping the future of the organization by serving on the Board of Directors for the 2017–21 term. The board is responsible for all financial and policy matters related to the organization. It promotes excellence in scholarship and teaching in the history and criticism of the visual arts, and it encourages creativity and technical skill in the teaching and practice of art. CAA’s board is also charged with representing the membership on issues affecting the visual arts and the humanities.

Candidates must be current CAA members. Nominations and self-nominations should include a short statement of interest, a condensed résumé of no more than 3–4 pages, and the following information: the nominee’s name, affiliation, address, email address, and telephone number, as well as the name, affiliation, and email address of the nominator, if different from the nominee. Please send all information by mail or email to: Vanessa Jalet, Executive Liaison, College Art Association, 50 Broadway, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10004. Deadline: March 30, 2016. If sent by email, kindly enter “Nomination for Board of Directors” in the subject line.

CAA Appoints New Committee Members and Chairs

posted by February 18, 2016

CAA’s nine Professional Interests, Practices, and Standards Committees welcome their newly appointed members, who will serve three-year terms (2016–19). In addition, two new chairs will take over committee leadership. New committee members and chairs began their terms at the 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC. CAA warmly thanks all outgoing committee members for their years of service to the organization.

A call for nominations for these committees appears annually from July to September in CAA News and on the CAA website. CAA’s president, vice president for committees, and executive director review all nominations in November and make appointments that take effect the following February. CAA’s vice president for committees is an ex officio member of all nine groups.

New Committee Members and Chairs

Committee on Diversity Practices: Christopher Bennett, University of Louisiana, Lafayette; Kim Blodgett, Westminster Schools; and Radha Dalal, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

Committee on Intellectual Property: Elizabeth Varner, National Art Museum of Sport, Indiana University.

Committee on Women in the Arts: Andy Campbell, Rice University; Jennifer Rissler, San Francisco Art Institute; and Laura E. Sapelly, Pennsylvania State University.

Education Committee: Dina Bangdel, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar; Judy Bullington, Belmont University; Rebecca Easby, Trinity Washington University; Johanna Ruth Epstein, Independent Art Historian and Critic; and Anne Norcross, Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University. The new chair is Richard D. Lubben of South Texas College.

International Committee: Janet Bellotto, Zayed University; Les Joynes, University of the Arts London; and Elisa Mandell, California State University, Fullerton.

Museum Committee: Laura Flusche, Museum of Design Atlanta; Judy Hoos Fox, c2 (CuratorSquared); and Elizabeth Rodini, Johns Hopkins University.

Professional Practices Committee: Michael Bowdidge, Transart Institute, Glasgow; and Meghan Kirkwood, North Dakota State University .

Services to Artists Committee: Joan Giroux, Columbia College Chicago; Alice Mizrachi, Artist and Educator; and Gabriel Phipps, Indiana University, Bloomington. Niku Kashef of California State University, Northridge, is the new committee chair.

Student and Emerging Professionals Committee: Sooyon Lee, Cornell University; Annie Storr, Montserrat College of Art; and Amanda S. Wright, University of South Carolina.

CAA is pleased to announce the 2016 recipients of the Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant. This program, which provides financial support for the publication of book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of American art, is made possible by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this grant, “American art” is defined as art (circa 1500–1980) of what is now the geographic United States.

The nine Terra Foundation grantees for 2016 are:

  • Jean-Pierre Criqui and Céline Flécheux, eds., Robert Smithson. Mémoire et entropie, Les presses du réel
  • Erika Doss, Twentieth-Century American Art, translated into Armenian by Vardan Azatyan, Eiva Arts Foundation
  • Eva Ehninger and Antje Krause-Wahl, eds., In Terms of Painting, Revolver Publishing
  • Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Colossal: Engineering the Suez Canal, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and Panama Canal, translated into French by Karine Douplitzky, Éditions des archives contemporaines
  • Rockwell Kent, Voyaging Southward from the Strait of Magellan, translated into Spanish and edited by Fielding D. Dupuy, Amarí Peliowski, and Catalina Valdés, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Chile) and Ediciones Universidad Alberto Hurtado
  • Will Norman, Transatlantic Aliens: Modernism, Exile and Culture in Midcentury America, Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Annika Öhrner, ed., Art in Transfer—Curatorial Practices and Transnational Strategies in the Era of Pop, Södertörn University
  • Joshua Shannon, The Recording Machine: Art and the Culture of Fact, Yale University Press
  • Fred Turner, The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties, translated into French by Anne Lemoine, C & F Éditions

Two non-US authors of top-ranked books have also been awarded travel funds and complimentary registration for CAA’s 2017 Annual Conference in New York; they also received one-year CAA memberships.

The two author awardees for 2016 are:

  • Will Norman
  • Annika Öhrner

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.

Where Are the Minority Professors?

On average, seventy-five out of every one hundred full-time faculty members at four-year colleges are white. Five are black, and even fewer are Hispanic. But that’s not the whole story. Among the higher ranks and at certain types of institutions, the faculty is even less diverse. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Seven Tips from the Top: Essential Job Advice from US Museum Directors

How do you become a museum director? That’s the question behind a new book of interviews—Eleven Museums, Eleven Directors: Conversations on Art and Leadership—by Michael Shapiro, the former director of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

How Do You Make a Living, Midcareer Artist?

Hank Willis Thomas is midway through the long, slow climb to success as an artist. It’s the type of career that’s seen interest but doesn’t feel solidly sustainable. He talked about the value of an MFA, the problems and advantages of living in New York as an artist, and what banking and art have in common. (Read more from Pacific Standard.)

Syllabus Adjunct Clause

Here is a sample adjunct clause that can be inserted into any syllabus for courses taught by temporary faculty. Please keep in mind that since situations differ from school to school—and even from department to department—the following may not be universally applicable as written. Therefore, if you decide to use it,  make the necessary changes to accurately reflect your own situation. (Read more from School of Doubt.)

Maintaining the Artist Within

Don’t lose sight of that which you love. More important, don’t let life knock your source of creativity out of tune. An artist’s mind never rests, for everything they see, experience, and taste pours over into their vision. Whether you are a painter, writer, architect, chef, dancer, musician, or actor, the fuel for creativity and passion comes from every interaction you have in life. (Read more from the Huffington Post.)

Why Use a Paintbrush When You Can Make Mind-Bending Art with Code?

Computer code underpins many aspects of our lives. Usually we know exactly what we want that code to do—but what if we didn’t? This is the question posed by the Los Angeles software artist Casey Reas, who employs code to form abstract, bewildering, and literally unexpected creations. (Read more from Wired.)

Social Practice Degrees Take Art to a Communal Level

The first academic concentration in social-practice art dates to just 2005, at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Since then, at least ten other institutions have established graduate-level degree programs in the field, which is sometimes called community engagement, contextual practice, or socially engaged art making. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Ten Questions Gallerists Should Be Asking Themselves Now

Art Basel director Marc Spiegler gave a lecture at the Talking Galleries conference in Barcelona at the end of last year, at a starkly transitional moment within the art world, and posed ten questions that every gallerist should be considering seriously because the answers they find will define their future. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Filed under: CAA News, Uncategorized

People in the News

posted by February 17, 2016

People in the News lists new hires, positions, and promotions in three sections: Academe, Museums and Galleries, and Organizations and Publications.

The section is published every two months: in February, April, June, August, October, and December. To learn more about submitting a listing, please follow the instructions on the main Member News page.

February 2016

Academe

Stacy Boldrick, formerly curator of research and interpretation at Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, has taken up the post of lecturer in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in the Leicester, England.

Museums and Galleries

Lloyd DeWitt, curator of European art at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto since 2011, has become chief curator of the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia.

Caroline Jean Fernald has been appointed executive director of the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico.

Jens Hoffmann has received a new name for his position: Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at Large for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in Michigan. Hoffman is also deputy director of exhibitions and programs at the Jewish Museum in New York.

Leo G. Mazow, formerly associate professor of art history at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, has been appointed Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator and Head of the Department of American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

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.

Where Are the Minority Professors?

On average, seventy-five out of every one hundred full-time faculty members at four-year colleges are white. Five are black, and even fewer are Hispanic. But that’s not the whole story. Among the higher ranks and at certain types of institutions, the faculty is even less diverse. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Seven Tips from the Top: Essential Job Advice from US Museum Directors

How do you become a museum director? That’s the question behind a new book of interviews—Eleven Museums, Eleven Directors: Conversations on Art and Leadership—by Michael Shapiro, the former director of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

How Do You Make a Living, Midcareer Artist?

Hank Willis Thomas is midway through the long, slow climb to success as an artist. It’s the type of career that’s seen interest but doesn’t feel solidly sustainable. He talked about the value of an MFA, the problems and advantages of living in New York as an artist, and what banking and art have in common. (Read more from Pacific Standard.)

Syllabus Adjunct Clause

Here is a sample adjunct clause that can be inserted into any syllabus for courses taught by temporary faculty. Please keep in mind that since situations differ from school to school—and even from department to department—the following may not be universally applicable as written. Therefore, if you do decide to use it, make sure to make the necessary changes so as to accurately reflect your own situation. (Read more from School of Doubt.)

Maintaining the Artist Within

Don’t lose sight of that which you love. More important, don’t let life take you out of tune to your source of creativity. An artist’s mind never rests, for everything they see, experience, and taste pours over into their vision. Whether you are a painter, writer, architect, chef, dancer, musician, or actor, the fuel for creativity and passion comes from every interaction you have in life. (Read more from the Huffington Post.)

Why Use a Paintbrush When You Can Make Mind-Bending Art with Code?

Computer code underpins many aspects of our lives. Usually we know exactly what we want that code to do—but what if we didn’t? This is the question posed by the Los Angeles software artist Casey Reas, who employs code to form abstract, bewildering, and literally unexpected creations. (Read more from Wired.)

Social Practice Degrees Take Art to a Communal Level

The first academic concentration in social-practice art dates to just 2005, at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Since then, at least ten other institutions have established graduate-level degree programs in the field, which is sometimes called community engagement, contextual practice, or socially engaged art making. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Ten Questions Gallerists Should Be Asking Themselves Now

Art Basel director Marc Spiegler gave a lecture at the Talking Galleries Conference in Barcelona at the end of last year, at a starkly transitional moment within the art world, and posed ten questions that every gallerist should be considering seriously because the answers they find will define their future. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Filed under: CAA News

Art Journal Open Seeks Artists’ Projects

posted by February 17, 2016

CAA invites submissions for artists to create projects for Art Journal Open, an open-access, independently edited website that provides an agile counterpart to the quarterly Art Journal. Art Journal Open takes advantage of the unique qualities of the web to present artists’ projects, scholarly essays, conversations and interviews, notes from the field, artifacts of materials and process, and news items. The site embraces the evolving nature of multimedia formats and techniques, seeking to serve as a provisional, suggestive, and projective archive for contemporary art. Contributors include artists, scholars, critics, curators, researchers, archivists, librarians, and other cultural producers who generate primary-source material of contemporary art and the interpretative network that coalesces into the historical record. Operating on an open platform, the website is committed to fostering new intellectual exchanges. Gloria Sutton of Northeastern University serves as web editor for Art Journal Open, which publishes content on a rolling basis.

Please send a proposal describing your project, a website URL or images of your recent work, and your contact information to Sutton at art.journal.website@collegeart.org.

Filed under: Art Journal, Artists, Uncategorized

The sixteenth conference of the Centro Argentino de Investigadores de Arte (CAIA) took place in Buenos Aires from October 1 to 3, 2015. The CAIA was founded in 1989 by art historians working in the University of Buenos Aires. Its purpose is to encourage debates in art history through its conferences and editorial program, which publishes anthologies and the conference proceedings. In 2013, the CAIA started another project: a peer-reviewed online journal, Caiana.

The 2015 conference was devoted to the relationship between images and desire. More than twenty art historians from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay gathered in the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires to discuss the multilayered connection between art, pleasure, devotion, and reception in a series of panels, a roundtable, and two lectures.

The opening lecture was Laura Malosetti Costa’s “Cartografías del deseo,” in which she addressed nineteenth-century iconographies of desire and sexuality, as well as their fin-de-siècle reception in Buenos Aires. The closing lecture was María Angélica Melendi’s “La canción de las locas. Una historia sudamericana,” which was devoted to a rereading of Pedro Lemebel and the Yeguas del Apocalipsis work in Chile. These two activities framed three days of debates with nine panels dealing with different aspects of the conference theme. The topics ranged from the representation of desire to art collecting, including the cult of images and the allure of publicity. Although most of the delivered papers engaged with the visual arts, some addressed other media, such as cinema and dance.

The roundtable, organized by Viviana Usubiaga, called attention to the work of two remarkable artists: the writer Néstor Perlongher and the visual artist Liliana Maresca. This event, which attracted a wide audience, featured scholars and journalists discussing the legacies of Perlongher and Maresca. Daniel Molina, a noted art critic, offered insights into the lives and works of these two individuals through a personal recollection of the troubled decades of the 1970s and 1980s.

Traditionally, the CAIA has organized one conference every two years. These conferences are aimed at both emerging and established scholars, but the CAIA board hopes to engage undergraduate and young graduate students as well. For this reason, on even years the CAIA organizes a smaller conference for researchers who are just beginning their own projects. The call for papers for this event, which will take place from October 12 to 14, 2016, is open until May 30. The conference is open to art historians from around the world, and submissions are accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, and English For more information, please write to jornadascaia@gmail.com or visit the CAIA’s website (http://www.caia.org.ar/).

Filed under: International

A Call to Action

posted by February 16, 2016

DeWitt Godfrey, President of the CAA Board of Directors

A Call to Action

That there are many things wrong in and around our current cultural, educational, and political institutions goes almost without saying. But students of color and their allies at my university and across the country are saying and naming many of the endemic failings of our institutions, refusing to remain silent in the face of systemic racism, inequalities, and oppression. These protests demand redress, unquestionably deserved and long overdue, refusing to let the status quo resettle into old and harmful patterns. There is much anger, much emotion, and sometimes even much empathy. In the pursuit of new paradigms and patterns, territories are marked out, language crafted seeking discourse that ideally cannot support or makes impossible the reification of old injustices.

In the quest for these new spaces, in the specificity we believe will prevent and dismantle these systems of oppression and in their focused intention to redescribe and reframe the terms and debate around the responsibility of institutions and individuals, there also exists the possibility of curtailing and preventing the very conversations that might productively contribute to a process of recognition, acknowledgment, and critique of these pernicious systems of privilege and inequality. In the face of these very real grievances, in a climate of anxiety and fear, all around us the collective is at risk of fracture, dispersing into self-referential self-reinforcing pockets that create false senses of common purpose, aligned against a shared enemy composed of those who refuse or who are excluded by the preconditions of inclusion. In the final irony, this fracturing of the collective along clannish lines most suits those who opportunistically exploit the fears of those who fear losing their spaces of privilege, in a zero sum game predicated on the notion that to gain someone has to lose. We are weaker divided, and the institutional spaces, such as those enshrined at the heart of the university, a collective under which many disparate forms of knowledge production can find common purpose and support, grow also weaker, creating conditions under which the entire enterprise of higher education comes under attack as irrelevant, disconnected, and even antagonistic to the ideologically oriented common good.

Rather than arguing and debating ideas we are reduced to defending positions, constructs that by design resist and reject critique in conditions that neuter dialogue. While these constructs are created out of real conditions—real pain, suffering, and oppression—we should not counter by discounting or mediating the raw feelings at the center this experience. But we might be careful not to fall into a trap of our own design, in which debate and conversation can only occur with those in our likeminded cohort.

What does this have to do with CAA? Over the past decade the largest learned societies such as CAA and MLA have experienced steady and sometimes rapid declines in membership, while smaller discipline-specific societies’ memberships have grown.

From a peak in 2010 of 13,000 members, our current individual enrollment has fallen to 9,000. Conference attendance in New York, historically the highest and most consistent, was down 25 percent from 2013 to 2015. There are many substantive reasons for this downward trend: some are demographic (research shows that millennials are not joiners), so we restructured our membership categories when we launched our copublishing agreement with Taylor & Francis. The great recession of 2009 sharply reduced institutional support for research and conference travel and transformed hiring practices—a lot less of you are here interviewing candidates or seeking jobs than in years past. But beyond that, the fact remains that for many of our former and even current members, CAA is no longer relevant. For many the answer is to gather with like-minded individuals in narrowly defined subgroups. This has tangible consequences for CAA, but I also believe this current trend of atomization is a threat to the difficult cross-disciplinary, cross-identity, and cross-cultural conversations that must be supported and preserved that are less likely to be taken up by insular groups.

So what do productive and viable institutions make possible? What can large institutions provide that small ones can’t? Specifically, CAA carves out spaces of debate and conversation, opportunities to talk across difference, to bring focus and attention to issues that cross disciplines and fields. Our Mellon-funded task force produced guidelines for the fair use of third-party images in teaching, publishing, and creative work could not have been undertaken without the broad reach, constituency and intellectual reputation that we have at CAA. In the past five years our partnership with the Getty Foundation has gathered ninety art historians from over forty-five countries in every conceivable area of art and art-historical inquiry for a one-day preconference. The plurality and heterogeneity of our membership should be seen as our greatest asset, how a diverse spectrum of practitioners and scholars gather at the annual conference, through our publications and programs from across the range of arts, artists, art historians, museum and arts professionals, designers, and educators.

What I have offered above is a frank appeal for your support and advocacy for CAA, an appeal for an association that has been, in particular for our academic members, at the front lines for over a century, for an organization that has played a critical role in the integration of art history and studio practice into a frequently resistant academy. Times have changed, battles have been fought and won, and while there are standards to be defended, CAA must face a future where many—even most—of our colleagues no longer have access to the institutional resources which were once the norm, to advocate for the fair and equitable treatment of part-time and contingent faculty, to lead the debate around how education will be delivered, to keep education affordable, to protect and preserve a higher-education system that despite its flaws remains the envy of the world. We must also imagine a CAA that reaches further beyond the academy than we already do, as relevant to the unaffiliated artist, designer, and even art historian, as we are to those of us who hold academic positions. Our task force on design, design theory, design education, and design history has uncovered exciting potential for greater advocacy for our design colleagues and how to reimagine our structures and programs to strengthen and expand our association, acknowledging the growing stature of design in our culture and in our institutions. Artists without a permanent or sometime itinerant academic connection have long been, despite specific outreach attempts, on the periphery of our association because we have yet to clearly articulate what the benefits of membership are. CAA will need to clear new spaces for such new contributors and membership

Change is frightening and nearly everyone despises ambiguity—conversely conditions in which art and artists thrive. In the midst of an election cycle that has upended assumptions on both the left and right, now more than ever art matters. And I mean matters more than instrumentally—not merely as an economic driver and not as an adjunct practice that increases student’s math scores or that it is somehow “good for us.” Art matters because artists work and thrive in the interstitial spaces between disciplines, around institutions, who assume the permission to ask questions that cannot be formulated from inside the confines of a particular, single point of view or perspective.

This speech was first delivered as opening remarks at the CAA Annual Conference Convocation Ceremony on February 3, 2016. A Keynote talk by artist Tania Bruguera followed (Watch on YouTube).

Filed under: Advocacy, Annual Conference