College Art Association

CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Jun 21, 2017

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Artist Sam Durant Was Pressured into Taking Down His Scaffold. Why Doesn’t He Feel Censored?

Sam Durant’s sculpture Scaffold had been exhibited in Europe three times, but upon landing in Minneapolis for the reopening of the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden, it sparked a media firestorm. Native American activists said it trivialized one of the ghastliest episodes in Dakota indigenous history. (Read more from the Los Angeles Times.)

NCAC Statement Criticizing Decision to Destroy Controversial Sculpture

As a coalition of national and international organizations devoted to promoting creative freedom, we strongly oppose the Walker Art Center’s decision to dismantle and destroy a controversial public sculpture. Scaffold, a 2012 work by Sam Durant, was intended to comment on capital punishment and its disproportionate effect on people of color. (Read more from the National Coalition against Censorship.)

Classicist Receives Death Threats from Alt-Right over Art-Historical Essay

Sarah E. Bond, a historian of Rome and an assistant professor in the Classics Department at the University of Iowa, has received death threats and is being targeted by the alt-right for publishing an article on polychromy in the ancient world. “They viewed the piece as ‘liberal professor says that all white statues are racist,’” Bond said. “And that is clearly not what the piece is about.” (Read more from Artforum.) 

Threats for What She Didn’t Say

Scholars vary in how and to what extent they engage with the public. Sarah Bond from the University of Iowa works at the high end of the engagement spectrum, via a blog, social media, and a column in Forbes. She’s described her efforts as a way of making antiquities accessible to all, but recent threats she’s received demonstrate the potential perils of that outreach. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.) 

As the 1 Percent Washes Their Money through Arts Funding, Artists Respond

At the 2017 Whitney Biennial, visitors were greeted by a not usually seen in museums: “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today [are] contemporary art [… and] apartments in Manhattan.” The words, from Larry Fink, a member of President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum and the CEO of BlackRock, were written over a craggy graph carved into the wall that tracked the rising value of the debt levels owned by the firm. (Read more from Salon.)

How Artists, Scientists, and Entrepreneurs Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

It takes imagination to be creative, and it takes creativity to innovate. Pentagram’s legendary graphic designer Paula Scher gets her best ideas when she is in boring situations: “I realize that when I’m sitting in a taxicab in traffic, or on my way to the airport, or waiting to get on a plane, or trapped in some other boring situation, that’s when I get the best ideas, because I’ve got nothing else interfering with it….” (Read more from Inc.)

The Ten Essays That Changed Art Criticism Forever

There has never been a time when art critics held more power than during the second half of the twentieth century. As part of the larger midcentury “culture wars,” art critics began to take on greater influence than before. For a time, two writers in particular—who began as friends and remained in the same social circles for much of their lives—set the stakes of the debates surrounding the maturation of American art that would continue for decades. (Read more from Artspace Magazine.)

How A $165 Million Painting Is Funding Criminal Justice Reform

Agnes Gund recently sold a $165 million painting to benefit social justice and is challenging others in the art world to follow suit. Proceeds from the sale of Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 Masterpiece, which once hung over her mantel, will go toward the new Art for Justice Fund, an initiative designed to support criminal justice reform at state and local levels throughout the country, primarily through the sale of art. (Read more from the Huffington Post.)

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