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David Guinn and Joe Boruchow

posted by September 30, 2019

The weekly CAA Conversations Podcast continues the vibrant discussions initiated at our Annual Conference. Listen in each week as educators explore arts and pedagogy, tackling everything from the day-to-day grind to the big, universal questions of the field.

CAA podcasts are on iTunes. Click here to subscribe.

This week, David Guinn and Joe Boruchow discuss how politics and family impact the artist.

David Guinn is an artist based in Philadelphia, working primarily in public space. A graduate of Columbia University in New York City, he was originally trained as an architect.

Joe Boruchow is a Philadelphia-based muralist and paper cutout artist whose site-specific work is designed to fit into architectural niches and public spaces.

Filed under: CAA Conversations, Podcast

New in

posted by September 27, 2019


Rattanamol Singh Johal considers the book Productive Failure: Writing Queer Transnational South Asian Art Histories by Alpesh Kantilal Patel. Read the full review at

Ian Bourland discusses Stick to the Skin: African American and Black British Art, 1965–2015 by Celeste-Marie BernierRead the full review at

Sugata Ray reviews Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India, edited and curated by Stephanie Schrader. Read the full review at

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We’re pleased to announce our administration of the Terra Foundation for American Art Research Travel Grants.

Now administered and juried by CAA, the Terra Foundation initiated this grant program in 2003 to fund European candidates. It was expanded to reach candidates worldwide in 2012, and opened to US-based researchers in 2017 to travel abroad, developing American art scholar networks around the world with a total of 173 grantees since its inception.

The Research Travel Grants will be awarded annually, providing support to doctoral, postdoctoral, and senior scholars from both the US and outside the US for research topics dedicated to the art and visual culture of the United States prior to 1980.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with the Terra Foundation to provide continued support for scholars of American art,” said David Raizman, interim executive director of CAA. “Research funding for domestic and international scholars is essential to the vitality of the field, and these generous grants from the Terra Foundation will facilitate the advancement of their work. The inclusion of international scholars for these grants is especially gratifying, as it promotes new perspectives and engages the wider scholarly community.”

The grants foster firsthand engagement with American artworks and art-historical resources; build networks for non-US-based scholars studying American art; and expand access to artworks, scholarly materials, and communities for US-based scholars studying American art in an international context.


Awards of up to $9,000 will be granted on a per project basis by a jury formed by CAA. The first awards will be announced in March of 2020.

CAA’s administration of the Terra Foundation for American Art Research Travel Grants continues a long history at CAA of supporting travel and scholarship for professionals and students in the visual arts and design. Other grants offered by CAA include the Professional Development Fellowships for Graduate Students, the Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, the Millard Meiss Publication Fund, the CAA Getty International Program, Travel Grants to the CAA Annual Conference, and introduced last year, the Art History Fund for Travel to Special Exhibitions.


The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its own art collection in Chicago. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research, and educational programs. Implicit in such activities is the belief that art has the potential to both distinguish cultures and unite them.

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by September 25, 2019

Installation view of Women Take the Floor at the MFA Boston, an effort to dedicate more space to women’s artworks. Only 4 percent of the art acquired by the museum between 2008 to 2018 was by women—3,788 of 90,215 works. Image: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, via New York Times

Female Artists Made Little Progress in Museums Since 2008, Survey Finds

New data shows that in the last ten years, only 11% of all work acquired by top US museums was by women. (New York Times)

The Getty Trust Will Spend $100 Million to Protect Archaeological Sites Around the World From Climate Change and Sectarian Violence

The organization’s ambitious new initiative includes conservation efforts, scholarship programs, publications, and exhibitions. (artnet News)

‘It’s About Time!’ Betye Saar’s Long Climb to the Summit

The artist’s solo exhibition at MoMA will debut with the reopening of the newly expanded museum on October 21. (New York Times)

How Much Does an Adjunct Actually Make?

“What if everyone just told their students how much they got paid?” According to a 2015 study, one in five part-time faculty members live below the federal poverty line. (Hyperallergic)

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Filed under: CAA News

Rita McDonald and Christina Teneglia

posted by September 23, 2019

The weekly CAA Conversations Podcast continues the vibrant discussions initiated at our Annual Conference. Listen in each week as educators explore arts and pedagogy, tackling everything from the day-to-day grind to the big, universal questions of the field.

CAA podcasts are on iTunes. Click here to subscribe.

This week, Rita McDonald and Christina Teneglia discuss “Teaching Failure.”

Rita MacDonald is a New York-based artist who makes very large temporary wall drawings and very small pencil drawings on paper. She holds a BFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from School of Visual Arts.

Christina Tenaglia holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Yale University School of Art. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, teaching sculpture, drawing and printmaking. She lives and works in the Hudson Valley.

Filed under: CAA Conversations, Podcast

New in

posted by September 20, 2019


Rebecca Giordano reviews Study in Black and White: Photography, Race, Humor by Tanya Sheehan. Read the full review at

Yelena McLane discusses Tom Cubbin’s Soviet Critical Design: Senezh Studio and the Communist Surround. Read the full review at

Mirela Tanta writes about the exhibition Maria Lassnig: Woman Power at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. Read the full review at

Jessy Bell considers the exhibition and catalog Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia 1948–1980, edited by Martino Stierli and Vladimir Kulić. Read the full review at

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Member Spotlight: Arnold J. Kemp

posted by September 18, 2019

We are delighted to welcome Arnold J. Kemp, in conversation with Huey Copeland, as one of our Distinguished Artist Interviews at the 2020 CAA Annual Conference. Learn more.

Up next in our Member Spotlight series, we are highlighting the work of Arnold J. Kemp, professor of Painting and Drawing and Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Joelle Te Paske, CAA’s media and content manager, corresponded recently with Professor Kemp to learn more about his work. Read the interview below:

Arnold J. Kemp. Photo: Todd Rosenberg for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Where are you from originally?

I am from the 6 square miles of a Boston neighborhood called Dorchester. The back of my high school, which was located in the Fenway, faced the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum and was just a few blocks away from the Museum of Fine Arts. I took classes at the MFA through an after school program supported by the Boston Public School system, and I was lucky to be asked to take classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston during the summers of my sophomore and junior years of high school.

During my senior year in high school I went to New York City to visit my older sister, and while she was at work I spent the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was entranced with the African and Oceanic collections there and I learned all that could. This was a transformative experience that has much to do with the way I have surrounded myself in an immersive life in the arts, culture, and literature.

What pathways led you to the work you do now?

After graduating high school I took part an internship working for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. I learned a lot there about how museums functioned. Then, in college at Tufts University, I worked for the Boston Center for the Arts while my roommates and I ran a small organization that showed our peers—other young artists and writers—and invited guests such as Tim Rollins, Emett Gowin, and Marie Howe. I was aware that not far away, the Dark Room Collective—which included Ellen Gallagher, Kevin Young, Tisa Bryant, Thomas Sayers Ellis, and Sharan Strange—was doing similar things. In fact, Ellen Gallagher and I worked together on the night shift at the Museum School’s library.

In 1991, when the art world was still struggling to distill the pain and loss of the AIDS epidemic, I moved to San Francisco and marched with ACT UP. Around that time I also started working at the not-for-profit experimental space called New Langton Arts, and I participated in the later days of conferences organized by the National Association of Artist’s Organizations (NAAO).

At Langton I met role models such as Renny Pritikin, Judy Moran, Jon Winet, Holly Block, Ann Philbin, and James Elaine who believed in spaces started by artists to support artists. I also met many great artists and writers who were central to the literary movement called New Narrative and places such as Small Press TrafficThe Lab and The Luggage Store gallery. Kevin Killian, Dodie Bellamy, Kathy Acker, Bob Glück, Barret Watten, Leslie Scalpino, Quincy Troupe, Harryette Mullen had a big influence on me. These people are important to me because they encouraged me to be an artist, a poet, and a curator. They showed me how to curate and showed me values of good organizations that supported communities struggling for relevance.

Courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

At that time I had no idea that I would end up teaching. I was supporting myself by working for arts non-profits. I kept doing more and more in this arena and eventually became an assistant curator and then associate curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). I worked there for ten years and curated solo and group exhibitions and worked with artists such as David Hammons, Patty Chang, Carrie Mae Weems, Fred Wilson, Ellen Gallagher, Laylah Ali, Bruce Conner, John Baldessari, Michael Joo, and so many others. I even met Bill T. Jones, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, and Conlon Nancarrow while working at YBCA. I worked there from its start in 1993 until 2003 when I left to attend graduate school at Stanford.

Teaching came somewhat naturally while I was pursuing an MFA at Stanford. After grad school and after struggling for a few years as a New York artist, an opportunity arose for me to direct the MFA in Visual Studies Department and to teach at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Prior to teaching in Portland I had an exhibition there and curated and organized a public program around my exhibition as part of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s TBA Festival. So much seemed possible in Portland, and I developed a true art family there.

The desire to experience working with larger schools and more diverse populations led me to positions as Chair of the Department of Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and also to my current position as Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

What are you working on currently?

Arnold J. Kemp, Untitled, 2018, archival pigment print, 61 x 41 inches. Courtesy the artist.

I am always busy in the studio. I just completed delivering 23 works to the set of a remake of a Hollywood film that is currently being shot in Chicago. It turns out the producer of Jordan Peele’s films has been looking at my work for a long time, and I am glad that this opportunity has come my way.

I am also preparing for a solo show opening at the Los Angeles-based nonprofit JOAN in September 2020, followed by a solo show at Fourteen30 Contemporary, my gallery in Portland. For both these shows I will exhibit paintings and sculptures. Perhaps there will be a performance of one of my plays that have been staged in art galleries and artists’ spaces such as Biquini Wax EPS in Mexico City.

I also just joined the board of Threewalls, a Chicago-based nonprofit with an itinerant exhibition program that supports and encourages art practices that respond to lived experience, encouraging connections beyond art. As part of Threewalls’ board I will be involved again in expanding the discourse around the presentation and  exhibition of contemporary art—from Threewalls, to the fourth wall, to breaking down walls. This is where itinerancy comes into play as the presentation model for Threewalls.

Having lived and practiced as an artist, writer, curator and educator in Boston, San Francisco, New York, Portland, Chicago and Richmond, I have had a life that is productively itinerant!

How would you say poetry weaves itself through your work?

For many years theses were separate activities, but in 2012 I began writing theatrical works with spoken lines that are meant to be performed in galleries by non-actors chosen from the community in which the piece is performed. Often the pieces concern that community so I might sometimes have a local artist or curator play themselves. This happened most recently at the venue in Mexico I mentioned, Biquini Wax EPS, in a farce that I wrote based on my experiences in the art and academic worlds. The piece was translated into Spanish and performed by local artists, writers, curators, and activists. I think of the pieces as time based-sculpture. The performance was just one part of a big show titled “When the Sick Rule the World” after Dodie Bellamy’s essay of the same name.

What is a favorite exhibition you’ve worked on over the years?

When I was at Pacific Northwest College of Art I curated a two-person show of B. Wurtz and Xylor Jane. There was a catalog and public program, and it was great to bring my San Francisco, New York, and Portland communities together. Xylor Jane is painter I have known from way back in my San Francisco days. Her work is formally beautiful and inspired by numbers, the Fibonacci sequence and the color sequences of ROYGBIV. She accomplishes a lot in visually intense abstractions that are based on logical forms. B. Wurtz is older than Xylor and is more of a conceptualist, having gone to school at CalArts in its heyday. Some of his classmates were Mike Kelly and Tony Oursler. He took classes with [Michael] Asher. The show was rigorous and unexpected—it did a lot to get students to think out of the box.

Do you have a favorite artist or exhibition in general?

I am not sure, at this point, if I have favorite artists anymore, but I recall The Museum as Muse which was curated by Kynaston McShine for MoMA as being a terrifically aesthetic, intellectual, and poetic exhibition that sought to give voice to the complicated relationship between museums and artists in light of history and institutional critique. I am fortunate enough to have seen it and to also have the terrific catalog. I feel that McShine as an art world personage needs to be studied and written about. He was important not just for being the curator of Primary Structures and Information but also for being of black Caribbean descent (he was born in Trinidad) and for being a one-time the lover of Frank O’Hara. Paradoxically, his work at MoMA also caused the Guerrilla Girls to organize and fight for greater inclusion of women and people of color in New York museums. No one has dealt with McShine’s legacy or his biography in the way they should. McShine was complicated and private, and so brilliant and influential.

When did you first become a CAA member?

I joined CAA in 2013 because as a department chair at VCU’s School of the Arts I wanted to stay in touch with artists, historians, and theorists from around the country. There are certain people who I aim to see at every conference just so that we can catch up and talk about the field and find ways to organize and help each other. In some ways the CAA reminds me of NAAO conferences that I used to attend in the 1990s.

Garfield Park Conservatory. Photo: Joelle Te Paske

What should people make sure not to miss while they’re in Chicago for the 2020 conference?

In Chicago there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing, so I suggest bringing a warm coat! Also, go to Garfield Park Conservatory—one of the largest and most stunning botanical conservatories in the nation with thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens.

What is your must-read book at the moment?

I would have to say Housing Shaped by Labour: The Architecture of Scarcity in Informal Settlements by Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti.

How do you balance your artistic and professional roles? 

Surround yourself with the things and people that you love. That is the only way I have been able to find balance. I find balance because it is a necessity and loving what I do makes it worth the time and effort.


Arnold J. Kemp is an interdisciplinary artist living in Chicago. The recurrent theme in his drawings, photographs, sculptures and writing is the permeability of the border between self and the materials of one’s reality. Kemp’s works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, The Portland Art Museum, The Schneider Museum of Art, and the Tacoma Art Museum. He has received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the  Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. His work has been exhibited recently in Chicago, Mexico City, New York, San Francisco and Portland. His work was also shown in TagProposals On Queer Play and the Ways Forward at the ICA Philadelphia. Kemp was a founding curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from 1993-2003 and is currently the Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by September 18, 2019

Wangechi Mutu’s The Seated III (2019) in its niche at the Met. Photo: Zachary Small via Hyperallergic

Wangechi Mutu Adorns the Met Museum’s Façade With Images of African Queendom

For the first time in 117 years, the empty niches on the museum’s exterior are occupied. (Hyperallergic)

Minneapolis Team Is Changing Museums from the Inside Out

A project at Minneapolis Institute of Art has spread nationwide—and beyond—as museums confront their colonial past. (Star Tribune)

Congress Promised Student Borrowers A Break. Education Department Rejected 99% Of Them

A new report shows revised efforts to forgive public servants’ student loan debt are still remarkably unforgiving. (NPR)

We’re Getting These Murals All Wrong

Robin D.G. Kelley takes an in-depth look at the Victor Arnautoff mural controversy in San Francisco. Let us know what you think in our online survey. (The Nation)


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Filed under: CAA News

RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) Coffee Gatherings are monthly virtual chats aimed at giving participants an opportunity to informally discuss a topic that relates to their work as academic art museum professionals. 

Coffee Gathering: Curatorial Work as Academic Labor 

On Tuesday, September 24 at 3:00 PM (EST) RAAMP will be speaking with Meredith Lynn and Claire L. Kovacs.

To RSVP to this coffee gathering, please email Cali Buckley at

Meredith Lynn is an artist, curator, and educator based in Tallahassee, Florida. In her art practice she frequently explores the historical, political, and social issues surrounding land management and ownership. Her curatorial specialty is contemporary art, with a particular focus in interactive and new media art. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Northern Lights, and the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs and most recently shown at the Morris Graves Museum of Art in Arcata, California and the Wiregrass Museum in Dothan, Alabama. She is curator of the Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University where she also teaches in the Department of Art.

Claire L. Kovacs is the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at Binghamton University. She obtained her PhD from the University of Iowa and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University – all in art history. She has curated exhibitions at the Figge Art Museum, Coe College, Krasl Art Center, DePaul University, and at Augustana College, where she was (until recently) the Director of the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art. Her strategies for curatorial work and programming emphasize the ways that academic museums explore contemporary issues, foster interdisciplinary inquiry, create space for a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, and function as a site of dynamic community engagement. She underscores intersectional equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion in her curatorial work. Her research practice grapples with ways that art historical research can support ‘The Common Good’ (to borrow a phrase from the NEH), using curatorial practice and writing as a mechanism by which to amplify under-told stories.

Submit to RAAMP

RAAMP (Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals) aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic art museums by providing a publicly accessible repository of resources, online forums, and relevant news and information. Visit RAAMP to discover the newest resources and contribute.

RAAMP is a project of CAA with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Submit a Proposal for Idea Exchange at CAA 2020

posted by September 16, 2019

Idea Exchange at the 2018 CAA Annual Conference. Photo: Rafael Cardenas

We launched Idea Exchange at the 2018 Annual Conference in Los Angeles in response to members who expressed an interest in holding informal roundtable discussions on topics ranging from fellowship applications and gallery representation to student engagement in the classroom and preserving women artists’ legacies. See a list of previous discussion topics here.

We’re offering Idea Exchange again in 2020 and we’re looking for CAA members to serve as discussion leaders.

Propose a topic that you would like to discuss with your colleagues for a sixty-minute roundtable at the conference. It can relate to professional development, teaching, or current events, such as the debate surrounding Confederate monuments or the #MeToo movement in the arts. Be creative. The conversations are meant to be lively and engaging. Please submit your Idea Exchange proposals by November 1, 2019.


In order to submit an Idea Exchange topic, you will need to have your member ID and password ready. If you do not have an individual ID number and password or you do not know it, please contact member services by email at or by phone at 212-691-1051, ext. 1.

Idea Exchange will be held in the Hilton Chicago, Lower Level, Salon B, during the following times:

Wednesday, February 12: 10:30 AM; 12:30 PM; 2:00 PM; 4:00 PM

Thursday, February 13: 10:30 AM; 12:30 PM; 2:00 PM; 4:00 PM

Friday, February 14: 10:30 AM; 12:30 PM; 2:00 PM; 4:00 PM

Saturday, February 15: 10:30 AM; 12:30 PM

For more information on Idea Exchange, contact Mira Friedlaender, manager of the Annual Conference, at or by phone at (212) 392-4405.