College Art Association

CAA News Today

Top News in 2016 from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Dec 28, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, CAA would like to wish a safe and happy holiday season to its members, subscribers, partners, and other professionals in the visual arts. As we reflect on the past twelve months, the association would like to offer readers a look at the most accessed articles in the weekly CAA News email from the past year.

I Survived My First Year on the Tenure Track, but I’m Ready to Bail!

Now that I’ve survived my first year in a tenure-track position at a small liberal-arts college, all I want to do is curl up in a ball. A nonacademic position is opening up in my hometown. If I got the job, I’d still have adjunct faculty status and be able to supervise grad students. I’d also probably get a 30- to 50-percent salary increase. (Read more from Vitae.)

Advice for the Newly Tenured

I would love to share with you the three biggest mistakes that I observe newly tenured faculty members make. If you know what those mistakes are, then you are not only far less likely to make them, but you also have the opportunity to experiment with new ways of thinking and working that will help you to truly enjoy your tenured status. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

How Many Hours a Week Should Academics Work?

How many hours do you work in a week? Many academics feel overworked and exhausted by their jobs. But there is little evidence that long hours lead to better results, while some research suggests that they may even be counterproductive. (Read more from Times Higher Education.)

The Disappearing Humanities Jobs

The arrival of annual reports on the job market in various humanities fields this year left many graduate students depressed about their prospects and professors worried about the futures of their disciplines. This week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released several new collections of data that show that these declines, part of a continuing pattern, are far more dramatic when viewed over a longer time frame. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Publish or Be Damned

The London office of Yale University Press has been a leading publisher of art history in the English language. When we heard of a new book planned by a leading scholar in the field, we expected to learn that Yale had pledged to publish it. When a bright graduate finished his or her dissertation, we hoped that Yale would publish it. (Read more from the Burlington Magazine.)

Racially Charged St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum Show Sparks Outrage

Racially charged works at a Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis exhibition have some calling for boycotts and the resignation of the museum’s chief curator. The museum has opted to build walls around the controversial pieces of art. The show will remain up and visitors will have access to all of the work. (Read more from Fox 2 News.)

Learning from My Teaching Mistakes

As a professional failed academic, I get asked if my decisions in graduate school were to blame for my failures. The answer is, of course, yes and no. Similar to anyone else with a PhD who isn’t delusional or lying, my relationship with my doctorate contains multitudes of defeats. And now, six years after I finished, I’ve got some perspective on both what I screwed up and what I didn’t. (Read more from Vitae.)

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.)

When Students Won’t Do the Reading

Is there a more common lament among college instructors than “Why won’t students just do the reading?” It’s an important and difficult question. In my experience, many students understand, at least in the abstract, that the reading is important. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Why You Weren’t Picked

There are two major downsides to not getting that tenure-track job you applied for. The second one is the less obvious but may be the more pernicious in the long run: no one will tell you why you weren’t chosen. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Why Most Academics Will Always Be Bad Writers

For at least a generation, academics have elaborately and publicly denounced the ponderous pedantry of academic prose. So why haven’t these ponderous pedants improved, already? The critics would say the ponderous pedants are doing it on purpose. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Balancing the Books at Yale University Press in London

A letter signed by over 290 academics, curators, and writers expressed a “sense of shock at the restructuring of Yale University Press in London, particularly as it affects the renowned art books department.” Having learned that two commissioning editors were to be made redundant, the signatories asked for reassurance about Yale’s commitment to scholarly art publishing and for the rationale for the changes. (Read more from Apollo.)

How to Be an Unprofessional Artist

No one likes being called an amateur, a dilettante, a dabbler. “Unprofessional” is an easy insult. The professional always makes the right moves, knows the right thing to say, the right name to check. Controlled and measured, the professional never sleeps with the wrong person or drinks too much at the party. (Read more from Momus.)

Make No Mistake, Art History Is a Hard Subject. What’s Soft Is the Decision to Scrap It

In the UK, art history A-level is to be scrapped in 2018. The decision taken by the exam board AQA seems related to the Conservative government’s policy of ranking subjects by perceived relative difficulty, using an analogy of “soft” and “hard” that may be designed to belittle students and teachers who have apparently taken the easy way out. (Read more from Apollo.)

Essential PhD Tips: Ten Articles All Doctoral Students Should Read

If you’re still deciding whether to study for a doctorate, or even if you’re nearing the end of your PhD and are thinking about your next steps, we’ve selected ten articles that you really should take a look at. They cover everything from selecting your topic to securing a top job when your years of hard graft come to an end. (Read more from Times Higher Education.)

How to Become a Curator

Start out as an artist instead. In school, you’re always saddled with organizing the group shows, buying the beer, placating fellow artists’ fears, making the invitations, composing the checklist, finding the funding, contacting the press, inviting the audience. Your entire art practice becomes a smudgy line between curating and art, and you grow to feel strange and unnecessary. (Read more from Momus.)

Donald Trump, Taste, and the Cultural Elite

It’s said that taste defines us. The music I like lets you know, to some degree, what kind of person I am. Yet though this year’s presidential election has raised issues of racism, sexism, and classism, not much has been said about taste, and the role it may or may not have played in getting Donald Trump to the White House. (Read more from the Washington Post.)

Black Arts Community Expresses Outrage with Kelley Walker

“This is a mess, and I’m uncomfortable,” said Kat Reynolds as she spoke before the capacity crowd at the Contemporary Art Museum on September 22. The panel of artists and educators—who spoke during the Critical Conversations talk presented by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts—didn’t hold back from voicing their disdain about the art that hung in the very space where the discussion was taking place. (Read more from the St. Louis American.)

What Learning People Really Think about Lecturing

Is there really a war on lecturing going on across higher education? Do learning professionals want to kill the lecture? Read Christine Gross-Loh’s “Should Colleges Really Eliminate the College Lecture?” and you would be forgiven in thinking that there is and that we do. The problem is that her description of the current climate bears little resemblance to reality. (Read more from Inside Higher Education.)

Gallery Defends Kelley Walker, Artist under Fire in St. Louis Exhibit

The New York City–based gallery representing the artist Kelley Walker has responded to the controversy surrounding a racially charged exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis, but with a statement that raises more questions than it answers. (Read more from Riverfront Times.)

Should Colleges Really Eliminate the College Lecture?

Despite the increased emphasis in recent years on improving professors’ teaching skills, such training often focuses on incorporating technology or flipping the classroom, rather than on how to give a traditional college lecture. It’s also in part why the lecture—a mainstay of any introductory undergraduate course—is endangered. (Read more from the Atlantic.)

What Happens When a Museum Closes?

Four recently dissolved cultural institutions—the Museum of Biblical Art in New York, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science in California, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Higgins Armory Museum in Massachusetts—each offer a lesson in how to weather the complex process of closing a museum. (Read more from Artsy.)

Artiquette: Ten Mistakes Not to Make While Promoting Your Art

How do you make it in the art world? It’s a magical formula that involves, talent, drive, grit, and the ability to promote oneself. Unfortunately, talking up your own artwork, projects, and ideas can be a delicate balancing act. To help you walk that line, Artnet News has rounded up a list of mistakes to avoid in self-promotion. (Read more from Artnet News.)

Six Things to Keep in Mind When Applying for Art Grants

With governments cutting funding for the arts, it is getting harder for artists and art institutions to obtain art grants, fellowships, or scholarships. The professional grant writer Ethan Haymovitz has put together a list of things to keep in mind when writing your application. (Read more from Art Report.)

Getting beyond the Anecdote: Research and Art-History Pedagogy

Pedagogical innovations abound in art-history classrooms. National and regional conferences increasingly feature panels of inspirational examples and case studies. These sessions are well attended by instructors eager for new, proven ideas to improve their teaching. The speakers assure this audience of improved student engagement and efficacy at achieving learning outcomes with this or that innovation. But how can they prove it? (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

This Art Historian Teaches FBI Agents and Surgeons How to See

Amy Herman teaches people how to see. Her tools of choice are famous artworks from major art institutions all over the world. Her typical pupils? Cops, FBI officers, medical students, and first responders. Herman teaches a class that helps people fine-tune their observational skills—which often prove critical in solving a crime or conducting open-heart surgery. (Read more from Fast Company.)

Five Strategies Successful Artists Follow to Thrive in Their Careers

As a gallery owner, I’ve been particularly interested in watching the careers of artists who have built strong sales of their work. These artists are able to generate sales that allow them to devote all of their time to their art. They have found ways to make a successful living while at the same time pursuing their passion. (Read more from Red Dot Blog.)

Five Time-Saving Strategies for the Flipped Classroom

I often hear comments like “The flipped classroom takes too much time,” “I don’t have time to devise so many new teaching strategies,” “It takes too much time to record and edit videos,” and “I don’t have time to cover everything on the syllabus.” I also hear “I tried to flip my class, but it was exhausting; so I quit.” If these comments sound familiar, it might be helpful to create margins in your flipped classroom. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)

How Do I Get My Foot in the Art World?

I’m a recent grad and want to learn more about the art world, so hopefully, one day, I can work in the arts. I didn’t major in art, but I took several art history and art classes and really loved them. I also love going to galleries and museums. Could you give me some suggestions on how to learn more? (Read more from Burnaway.)

Help Desk: Getting Paid for Curatorial Work

I’m a professional curator with over a decade of experience, mostly as a salaried professional. I’d like to do more freelance work, but curators seem to get paid nothing, absurdly little, or astronomical sums. How can I actually get paid for the work I do? (Read more from Daily Serving.)

Museums Are Keeping a Ton of the World’s Most Famous Art Locked Away in Storage

Most of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is in storage. Nearly half of Pablo Picasso’s oil paintings are put away. Not a single Egon Schiele drawing is on display. Since the advent of public galleries in the seventeenth century, museums have amassed huge collections of art for society’s benefit. But just a tiny fraction of that art is actually open for people to view and enjoy. (Read more from Quartz.)

University of Chicago Strikes Back against Campus Political Correctness

The anodyne welcome letter to incoming freshmen is a college staple, but the University of Chicago took a different approach: it sent new students a blunt statement opposing some hallmarks of campus political correctness, drawing thousands of impassioned responses, for and against, as it caromed around cyberspace. (Read more from the New York Times.)

On Not Reading

The activity of nonreading is something that scholars rarely discuss. When they—or others whose identities are bound up with books—do so, the discussions tend to have a shamefaced quality. Blame “cultural capital”—the sense of superiority associated with laying claim to books that mark one’s high social status. (Read more from the Chronicle Review.)

Medieval Scots Used Art the Way We Use Social Media

Medieval Scots once gave each other postcard-sized artworks to forge social bonds, in the same way we post pictures on social media today, according to new research. The “postcards on parchment”—whose painted images included patron saints, the Virgin Mary and child, and highly decorated lettering—revealed status, allegiances, and values among the wealthy classes in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. (Read more from the Scotsman.)

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