The College Art Association (CAA), the largest professional group for artists and art historians in the United States, strongly condemns and expresses its grave concern about the recent presidential executive order aimed at limiting the movement of members of CAA and the broader community of arts professionals who fall under the selective set of criteria for national status or ethnic affiliation.
CAA has counted international scholars and artists among its members for many years. Committed to the common purpose of understanding the visual arts in all its forms, professionals throughout the world have enriched CAA’s community by adding diverse perspectives to the study, making, and teaching of art. With funding in recent years from the Getty Foundation to support travel and programs for scholars and curators from Africa, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Asia, the association now includes members from seventy countries. More than ten percent of our individual members are international. CAA has counted international scholars and artists among its members since the earliest years of its existence. The roots of CAA’s present-day international program stemmed from a desire to assist European refugees in the 1930s to support personal safety as well as academic and artistic freedom. During that decade, CAA had a “foreign membership” category; as art historians fled Hitler’s Europe, CAA ran a lecture bureau for refugee scholars that created speaking engagements for them at institutions throughout the United States.
The recently announced ban on travel to the United States for residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries not only goes against the inclusive, secular underpinnings of American democracy, it stifles the open access to scholarship and art upon which our work is founded. The executive order goes against our professional and scholarly commitment to diversity, the global exchange of ideas, and the respect for difference. The contribution of immigrants, foreign nationals, and people of all cultural backgrounds greatly strengthens our intellectual and creative world. Further, we believe the executive order law challenges the values at the heart of the US Constitution’s protections on speech and association as well as our national commitment to democratic process for all.
Turning our backs on refugees and closing our borders selectively stifles creative and intellectual work in addition to its very real impact on peoples’ daily lives. We call on our public officials to thwart this attempt to seemingly preserve our own safety at the expense of those who are vulnerable and who also contribute so much.
Without question, CAA welcomes all members and non-members to our upcoming Annual Conference to discuss and debate what constitutes a thriving artistic and intellectual society. Such openness is essential to our mission. We are committed through dialogue and action to help any CAA members who are affected by this policy. To this end, the association and the Board of Directors will continue to monitor and respond to policies related to this order as well as pressure for its immediate repeal.
Suzanne Preston Blier
Chief Executive Officer
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.
What You Need to Know about Colleges and the Immigration Ban
President Trump’s executive order that bars all refugees from entering the US, as well as citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries, prompted colleges to frantically start trying to determine what it meant for them. Who is affected? (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)
Karen Finley: Donald Trump Owes His Wealth to Arts and Culture
Donald Trump is reportedly considering stripping the budgets for the NEA, the NEH, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This would have devastating consequences for our society; for the many economies connected to promoting cultural heritage, innovation, and production; and to the many municipalities and neighborhoods that depend on cultural institutions for survival. We might ask how the arts have personally enriched the president. (Read more from Time.)
How the NEA’s Budget Nearly Got Slashed in the Early ’90s
Recent reports indicate that the Trump administration has plans to potentially eliminate the NEA and NEH. For many, the notion has recalled events that happened between 1989 and 1991, when the NEA faced backlash from conservative politicians who were concerned that it was funding work by liberally minded artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, Dread Scott, and Andres Serrano. (Read more from ARTnews.)
Those Pink Hats at the Women’s March Can Teach Us Something about Political Art
At Saturday’s supermarch, the sight of a vast sea of pink knit hats seemed almost magical. They were everywhere—hundreds of thousands of handmade caps, flooding the National Mall as far as the eye could see. They were immediately recognized as a natural rejoinder to Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again cap. (Read more from Artnet News.)
75 Arrested in European Crackdown on Art Trafficking
The European police have arrested seventy-five people and recovered about 3,500 stolen archaeological artifacts and other artworks as part of the dismantling of an international network of art traffickers. The criminal network handled artworks looted from war-stricken countries, as well as works stolen from museums and other sites. (Read more from the New York Times.)
Are Artists’ Estates Too Protective of Artists’ Reputations?
The job of managing an artist’s reputation is now big business, with many estates operating along increasingly professional lines. How far should they seek to control public perceptions of an artist’s life and work? (Read more from Apollo Magazine.)
Dear Scholars, Delete Your Account at Academia.edu
As privatized platforms like Academia.edu look to monetize scholarly writing even further, researchers, scientists, and academics across the globe must now consider alternatives to proprietary companies that aim to profit from our writing and offer little transparency as to how our work will be used in the future. (Read more from Forbes.)
The Job-Market Moment of Digital Humanities
Digital humanities present new ways to approach the work of humanities scholarship, and they’ve already delivered not just new results but new kinds of results. They have also become integrated into the academic job market. Will expertise in digital humanities get graduate students the academic jobs that so many of them seek? (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)
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.
Does Private Funding Threaten Museums’ Public Missions?
With an incoming presidential cabinet threatening to slash public spending, placing additional strain on institutions, one might well ask: How will the next generation of museums be funded? What changes in museum funding models are already taking place, both in the US and elsewhere? (Read more from Artsy.)
Some Advice on Building Conference Panels
Some of the best panels I’ve created have been with very senior scholars. Even if you are a junior scholar, you can bet that if your panel is well assembled and you craft your approach email with kindness and respect, it’s very likely that invited senior scholars may say yes. (Read more from Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD.)
Study on Arts Graduates Provides Continuing Evidence on the Value of an Arts Degree
A recent study provides new evidence that individuals with degrees in the arts from North American institutions are extremely satisfied with their arts education, with no substantive changes across income levels and employment status. The report analyzes data from more than 35,000 arts alumni of all ages who responded to a fall 2015 survey. (Read more from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project.)
Against the Design Thinking Meeting
The people who speak the language of design thinking are the cool kids. Not just the people with the awesome glasses and the black clothing. These are the people who have those awesome jobs with “innovation” or “disruption” on their business cards. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)
Artists Are Throwing Wrenches into the Art World’s Works
Even as one visible portion of the art world becomes ever more soaked in money, artists are picking up the ideas of first- and second-generation institutional critique and adapting them to the needs of the present. With increasing frequency, they are investigating, tweaking, and even striking out against the operation of museums, galleries, and the market as an integral part of their larger practices. (Read more from ARTnews.)
The Institution as User: Museums on Social Media
How does a museum talk? Its voice lives in wall texts, whether they deliver art history or gently admonish against touching work or using flash photography. Its tone has to be serious enough to honor the histories it was built to protect, and to convince visitors that the twenty dollars they paid to get in was well spent. (Read more from Art in America.)
Diversity in the Open-Access Movement, Part 1: Differing Definitions
Not only is there wide disagreement as to what “freely available” in open access really means, but not everyone in the movement even agrees that all scholarship must be freely available, or how quickly it should be made freely available, or what mechanisms are appropriate for making it that way. Since the fact of this ideological diversity doesn’t seem to be self-evident, it might be helpful to lay out some evidence for it here. (Read more from the Scholarly Kitchen.)
Strengthening Networks, Sparking Change: Museums and Libraries as Community Catalysts
A new report from the Institute of Museum and Library Services includes case studies and a discussion of conceptual frameworks that can guide libraries, archives, and museums that seek to spark catalytic change in their communities. (Read more from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.)
posted by Christopher Howard — January 23, 2017
For more than a century, the College Art Association (CAA) has represented art historians, artists, museum professionals, designers, and others who think and care about the visual arts and its impact on our culture. We do this in part through direct advocacy for artistic and academic freedom.
Like many other Americans, we have closely watched the proposed changes to the federal government. Recent news reports reveal that the US President intends to propose the elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This proposal is reportedly based in part on a recommendation by the Heritage Foundation that states, “As the U.S. Congress struggles to balance the federal budget and end the decades-long spiral of deficit spending, few programs seem more worthy of outright elimination than the National Endowment for the Arts.”
We offer our complete and total opposition to these efforts.
Since the 1960s, the NEA and NEH have supported artists, writers, museum professionals, and a wide array of scholars of various disciplines in creating new work and scholarship. The NEA supports thousands of cultural and educational organizations, and, in a few cases, individual artists. The NEH, which strengthens teaching and learning in schools and colleges—as well as the work of independent scholars—creates access to educational scholarship and research nationwide. In addition, the NEH is a strong supporter of museum exhibitions throughout the country. Combined, the budgets for the two agencies are less than $300 million. The organizational grantees generate hundreds of millions of dollars in matching support and countless new works of art and scholarship. These works and related projects are studied and enjoyed by millions of Americans in museums and other venues. The cultural sector of the US economy generates more the $135 billion in revenue and employs over three million people in small towns and large cities countrywide.
Given that the respective budgets of the NEA and NEH represent only a tiny fraction of the entire federal budget, their planned elimination cannot logically be seen as a cost-saving measure. Rather, it appears to be a deliberate, ominous effort to silence artistic and academic voices, representing a potentially chilling next step in an apparent effort to stifle and eradicate oppositional voices and cultural output from civic life. By eliminating the support for these agencies, the government undermines the unifying potential of the arts, culture, and education that encourages and nurtures communication and positive discussion.
CAA leadership is monitoring the possible elimination and/or reduction of funding for the NEA and NEH and how it may affect our members and the work they do. CAA will communicate and collaborate with other cultural and educational organizations and learned societies to determine potential future advocacy options.
We urge our fellow CAA members to contact their representatives in Congress to let them know the importance of maintaining a robust, national, publicly supported framework for artistic and academic freedom. When you contact your representative, we ask that you let them know you are a member of CAA and together we are advocating for continued public funding for the arts. We also encourage you to contact the National Humanities Alliance and Americans for the Arts to become further involved.
Through our collective strength, we can ensure that public funding of scholarship and art making continues, free from political and commercial interference.
Suzanne Preston Blier
Chief Executive Officer
posted by Christopher Howard — January 23, 2017
CAA has awarded two 2016 Professional-Development Fellowships—one in visual art and one in art history—to graduate students in MFA and PhD programs across the United States. In addition, CAA has named one honorable mention in art history and two in visual art. The fellows and honorable mentions also receive a complimentary one-year CAA membership and free registration for the 2017 Annual Conference in New York.
Accepting the $10,000 fellowship in visual art is Daniel Seth Krauss, an MFA student in photography in the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The recipient of the $10,000 fellowship in art history is Sara Blaylock, a doctoral candidate in visual studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The honorable mention for art history goes to Lex Lancaster, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The two honorable mentions in visual art are Allison Rose Craver, an MFA candidate at Ohio State University in Columbus, and Andrew Jilka, an MFA student at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Suzanne Preston Blier, president of the CAA Board of Directors, will formally recognize the two fellows and three honorable mentions at the 105th Annual Conference during Convocation, taking place on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at the New York Hilton Midtown.
CAA’s fellowship program supports promising artists and art historians who are enrolled in MFA and PhD programs nationwide. Awards are intended to help them with various aspects of their work, whether for job-search expenses or purchasing materials for the studio. CAA believes a grant of this kind, without contingencies, can best facilitate the transition between graduate studies and professional careers. The program is open to all eligible graduate students in the visual arts and art history. Applications for the 2017 fellowship cycle will open in the late spring.
FELLOW IN VISUAL ART
Daniel Seth Kraus
Daniel Seth Kraus‘s work blends historical research with photographic practice to deepen our understanding of people and places. Currently his research investigates faith and work in the American South. Kraus’s work has been featured in numerous print and online publications, including Fraction Magazine, SeeSaw Magazine, Oxford American, and Aint Bad Magazine. His photographs have been exhibited in national and international juried exhibitions, including one at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia. He earned a BFA in photography and a BA in history from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville and is pursuing a MFA in photography at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
FELLOW IN ART HISTORY
Sara Blaylock will complete her PhD in visual studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in spring 2017. To date, the bulk of her research has concerned the experimental film, art, and visual culture of the German Democratic Republic during the 1980s. Her dissertation, “Magnitudes of Dissent: Art from the East German Margins,” focuses on how photography and film, body-based practices, print media, and galleries addressed issues of representation, performativity, and collectivity. It argues that experimental practice in a 1980s GDR was not only an antidote for but also an interpretation of a weakening state—a foil and a mirror to official culture.
Blaylock’s dissertation research has been supported by the German Academic Exchange Service and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, as well as by numerous grants from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has published in numerous academic forums. Most recently, an article appeared in Gradhiva, a French-language journal of art history and anthropology, and Blaylock contributed an essay in both German and English to the catalogue for the exhibition Gegenstimmen. Kunst in der DDR 1976–1989 [Voices of Dissent: Art in the GDR 1976–1989], held at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. Another article, “Bringing the War Home to the United States and East Germany: In the Year of the Pig and Pilots in Pajamas,” will appear in Cinema Journal later this year.
Blaylock was recently invited to codirect the International Association for Visual Culture, a scholarly organization that encourages inquiry and debate within the field and that advocates the critical and theoretical expansion of visual-culture studies in academic and artistic venues. She looks forward to helping to advance and strengthen the association’s vision.
HONORABLE MENTIONS IN VISUAL ART AND ART HISTORY
Allison Rose Craver
Allison Rose Craver will complete her MFA, with a concentration in ceramics, at Ohio State University in in Columbus in May 2017. Craver grew up in East Aurora, New York, and earned a BFA in 2010 from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred. A year later she studied as a special student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Craver has shown her work nationally, including exhibitions at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Montana, and the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In 2014 she was invited to demonstrate in the Process Room at the annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference in Milwaukee. Craver’s work is process driven, using ceramics materials in conjunction with fiber and found objects to explore the nature of care and work.
Andrew Jilka was born in in 1986 to a working-class home in Salina, Kansas. The son of a bus driver and a lunch lady, Jilka has been employed as a fast-food worker, a cigarette warehouse stocker, a furniture deliveryman, a Hewlett-Packard call-center representative, a bartender, and later an assistant to the artist Tom Sachs. After selling his Camaro, he enrolled at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he received a BFA in printmaking in 2009, as well as a scholarship to study printmaking at Hongik University in Seoul, Korea. Jilka’s work is greatly influenced by the instabilities and anxieties of his Midwestern upbringing. His painting is an attempt to reconcile the “high” of the history and lineage of contemporary painting with the Walmart culture he was raised in. Jilka approaches painting with both the deference of Brahms and the irreverence of the Ramones—and perhaps a touch of Taylor Swift. His work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions in Kansas City, Atlanta, New York, and Seoul. He is currently an MFA candidate at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Lex Morgan Lancaster is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where they will complete their degree in May 2017. Lancaster’s dissertation, “Dragging Away: Queer Abstraction in Contemporary Art,” investigates abstraction as a tactic of queering in the work of contemporary artists who deploy nonrepresentational form for political ends. Their related article, “Feeling the Grid: Lorna Simpson’s Concrete Abstraction,” was published in ASAP/Journal (2017), and “The Wipe: Sadie Benning’s Queer Abstraction” is forthcoming in Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture. Lancaster is chairing the session on “New Materialisms in Contemporary Art” at CAA’s 2017 Annual Conference in New York.
Lancaster received their BA in art history from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. They have assisted with exhibitions and public programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art as coordinator of teen programs and intern to the curator of contemporary art, and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, as a paid summer intern in the Department of Photographs. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Lancaster curated the exhibition Our House! Unsettling the Domestic, Queering the Spaces of Home at the Chazen Museum of Art.
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.
Controversial Capitol Painting by Former St. Louis Student Taken Down
The painting by a former St. Louis high school student was removed over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Rep. Dave Reichert, who petitioned its removal, said it would be taken down by the Architect of the Capitol’s office, which ultimately determines the art that hangs on the walls of the congressional art competition. On Tuesday morning, not only was the painting gone, but the placard describing it was removed, too. (Read more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.)
What’s Missing in the Teaching of Islam
In high school history books, there is little mention of the intertwined histories of Europe, Asia, and Africa in the middle ages and the Renaissance. There is even less mention of the flowering of art, literature, and architecture during this time. (Read more from the Conversation.)
Keeping God Out of the Gallery
“My work has proven to be difficult to place in commercial art galleries,” said the painter Edward Knippers. Well, we’ve heard that before. Plenty of artists say the problem isn’t the quality of their work but the gallery owner’s narrow-mindedness or something to that effect. But Knippers, a figurative painter of biblical subjects, said the real problem is what he chooses to paint: religious figures. (Read more from the Observer.)
Learning from Decolonize This Place
“You can’t talk about indigenous struggle without indigenous people involved,” said the artist, activist, and MTL+ cofounder Amin Husain. He was explaining a core principle of Decolonize This Place, a three-month residency that brought together multiple movements at the New York nonprofit Artists Space for art making, organizing, and activism, all based around direct actions targeting five issues: Free Palestine, Indigenous Struggle, Black Liberation, Global Wage Workers, and de-gentrification. (Read more from Hyperallergic.)
Citizenship, the Body, and the Ethics of Exposure
We live in a society that relishes exposure—see nude photo leaks, the Kardashians, and diaries and private correspondence cloaked with the pretense of literary or political interest—and that does not value privacy equally for all. On top of the inequity, unmediated exposure does not exist. There is always an implicit or explicit narrative being constructed in the act of baring. (Read more from Art Practical.)
Art Museums by the Numbers 2016
First released in 2014, Art Museums by the Numbers is based on aggregated data drawn from AAMD’s member survey and tracks changes over time. Comparisons between 2014, 2015, and 2016 data show little fluctuation, indicating continued stability in the field of art museums. (Read more from the Association of Art Museum Directors.)
Why Art History Might Be the Most Important Subject You Could Study Today
We Americans tend to think of the British as infinitely more refined and cultivated than we are, but England almost eliminated art history as a field of study for high school students. But after much protest from the liberal intellectual establishment, art history was “saved” and will stay on British curricula. If the cultured British nearly did away with art history, then what hope have we Americans? (Read more from Salon.)
The Problem of Predatory Journals: Fake Academia Joins Fake News
We’ve heard all about fakes this year: fake scandals, fake food, fake news. Now fraud emerges from an unexpected corner: academia—or rather, its counterfeit. Fraudulent academic groups have been soliciting papers from researchers for conferences and journals, but do not adhere to publication standards like peer review; instead, they accept papers unquestioningly and charge authors enormous fees. (Read more from Nonprofit Quarterly.)
How to Start a Gallery in Your Apartment
As commercial real estate balloons in cities like New York and London, and art galleries professionalize, limiting the freedoms artists are given within their spaces, artists, art professionals, and collectors have begun to make use of living space—be it an entire apartment, a guest bedroom, or even a walk-in closet—to put on the shows they want to see. (Read more from Artsy.)
Bad Times Make Great Art: Worry Less about the Art and More about the Artists
On election night a murmur started just as the last gasp faded, “Well at least we can expect some great art.” It didn’t take long for the fatalistic statement to acquire a predictive tone, eventually a waft of desperation was detectable and, ultimately, shrill fiat. The art of protest is provocative, no question. It’s often brave, usually fierce, sometimes compelling, and occasionally inspirational. (Read more from Salon.)
In the Aftermath of Oakland’s Tragedy, How Museums Can Better Serve Local Arts and DIY Venues
Museums and art institutions have largely remained distant from the Ghost Ship incident in Oakland. This perpetuates the assumption that warehouse spaces are fringe—and even irrelevant—to the formal art world. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. (Read more from Smithsonian Magazine.)
The Ten Technologies Defining Art Right Now
Ways of making and seeing, both new and old, have defined the art in 2016 every bit as much as the hot topics under exploration. Artnet News looks back at a year of exhibitions, biennials, and art fairs to identify the ten practices that stood out as significant in helping expand the definition of what art can be, as well as dying technologies that are revisited before becoming obsolete. (Read more from Artnet News.)
Layering and Mixing with Iridescent and Interference Acrylic Paints
We’ve all seen iridescent and interference effects when viewing soap bubbles, oil slicks, flower petals, bird feathers, and more. They are common in the natural world. If they are somewhat less common in artwork, it might simply be that they still represent new and unexplored possibilities for most people, even after being part of the artists’ palette for many decades at this point. (Read more from Just Paint.)
How Can We Minimize Grade Changes?
One of the most consequential lessons I learned last semester happened after it was over. Five days after the semester ended, the emails started coming in. I’m sure you get them too: the earnest and pleading requests (sometimes polite, sometimes not) for better grades. I responded with my general policy (I only change grades if I’ve made a mistake; I round to the nearest whole number), and that seemed to satisfy most students. But one student was a tougher nut to crack. (Read more from Vitae.)
An Idiosyncratic Timeline of “Attempts to Fix the Art World”
The term “the artworld” itself seems to date only to 1964, but this timeline goes all the way back to 1793, when the revolutionary regime in France turned a certain royal palace in Paris into a public museum. The history here is selective, to be sure, but half the fun of these things is working up righteous high dudgeon over what’s been included and excluded. (Read more from ARTnews.)
How Do We Make American Museums Multilingual?
Which languages should institutions prioritize? Should choices be based on current patrons or on visitors they’d like to reach? How fully should the selected languages be incorporated into the museum: Wall text? Audio? Catalogues? Tours? Ancillary programming? Outreach? (Read more from Hyperallergic.)
Everything We Know about Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives
The platitudes are on the lips of every arts supporter, ready to be recalled at the first sign of a public hearing or potential funding cut. “The arts are essential—a necessity, not a luxury.” “The arts help kids learn.” “The arts are the foundation of the knowledge economy.” It feels good to say those things, but are they true? (Read more from Createquity.)
Networking the Humanities through Open Access, Open Source, and Not for Profit
Last month the Modern Language Association, in partnership with three other learned societies, launched the beta version of the expanded and now interdisciplinary Humanities Commons—a nonprofit network where humanities scholars can share their work in a social, open-access repository, discuss ideas, collaborate on common interests, and store research and teaching materials. (Read more from the Scholarly Kitchen.)
Eleven All-Important Things to Do before Leaving Art School
Graduating from art school means transitioning from the comfort of campus-provided studio space, access to production facilities, and a climate of constant feedback, criticism, and support to, well, having zero of those things. Abstaining from these perks cold-turkey can feel like quite the plunge—but luckily you can do a few things during your last semester to prepare for entering the “real world” as an artist. (Read more from Artspace Magazine.)
An Audit Nightmare Turned Artist Victory
American businesses sometimes lose money. Those losses create a tax shelter for other income. While the tax code explicitly provides this incentive for businesses—to encourage investment for growth and to allow for unpredictable events—losses that go on for too long tend to draw IRS scrutiny. The artist Susan Crile spent eight years in tax court defending her right to take losses. (Read more from Art F City.)
We Need a New Kind of Feminist Art
A quote that the Brooklyn Museum curator Catherine Morris often turns to is one by the artist and writer Emily Roysdon. “We are not protesting what we don’t want,” Roysdon once said about her queer activism, “we are performing what we want.” The idea of creating the world you want to live in, on a microcosmic level, is one that’s central to feminist theory, the history and methodology of which is closely intertwined with queer and civil-rights activism. (Read more from Artsy.)
The Gulf Art War
In 2005, in the gilded lobby of the Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi, the crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan described his vision for Saadiyat Island, a $27 billion development not far from the city’s downtown. Saadiyat, which Emiratis refer to as “the island of happiness,” would include luxury hotels, Marbella-style villas, and a boutique shopping quarter. Most important was a vast cultural district, and a new Guggenheim was to be a centerpiece of this effort. (Read more from the New Yorker.)
A Digital Billboard in Chicago Raises Questions about Art in the Public Sphere
Flashing brightly for a few seconds at a time, the black-and-white mugshot of an unnamed African American male loomed against the Chicago skyline, interrupting the mundane ads—for sandwiches, lawyers, Hondas—that shared space on the same digital billboard. I only just glimpsed it, peering from an overpass, but the haunting image has lingered with me ever since. (Read more from ARTnews.)
Is the Traditional Art Gallery Dead?
For the past several months, Artspace’s editors have persistently investigated the novel challenges and opportunities that the twenty-first century holds for the venerable brick-and-mortar gallery system, which has been shaken by both the shifting market and the disruptive power of the internet. Along the way, we’ve spoken at length to artists, dealers, advisors, and art-fair directors in an effort to take the pulse of the industry. (Read more from Artspace Magazine.)
A day-long series of panels on subjects of importance to the membership and the wider visual-arts community, called Saturday Symposia Sessions, will take place at the 2017 Annual Conference in New York on February 18. The four topics in this special programming are: “Museums,” “The Design Field,” “International Art History,” and “Interventions in the Future of Art History.”
The “Museums” rubric opens with a session called “Cultural Preservation and Its Publics.” Next, the Design History Society, one of CAA’s eighty affiliated societies, will facilitate a discussion on “Beyond Boundaries: Art and Design Exhibitions as Transnational Exchange from 1945.” Laura Flusche, executive director of the Museum of Design Atlanta, has found three artists—Sheryl Oring, Patricia Cronin, and Susan Stockwell—to explore “Museums, Artists, and Social Change.” Ending the track is “Preservation by Other Means,” a session lead by Chad Elias and Mary K. Coffey, both of Dartmouth College, that will examine contemporary art and the destruction of cultural heritage.
For “The Design Field,” the 2017 conference will feature “Making Objects Speak: Speculative Design, Critical Making, and the Internet of Things,” led by Gwyan Rhabyt of California State University, East Bay. Following that will be “Design and Science: Catalyzing Collaborations,” chaired by Leslie Atzmon of Eastern Michigan University. Wrapping up the track is a session put together by Andrew DeRosa of Queens College, City University of New York, and Laura Scherling from Columbia University’s Teachers College, called “Ethics in Design.”
Several sessions will address “International Art History.” Nazar Kozak of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine will chair “Holy Images on the Move.” Next, Ittai Weinryb of the Bard Graduate Center will lead a conversation with eight panelists about “Future of the Research Institute.” Shortly after that is “Global Conversations IV” chaired by David J. Roxburgh of Harvard University. This talk about “Transnational Collaborations and Interdisciplinary”, is the fourth and final session in a series taking place throughout the conference to celebrate five years of the CAA-Getty International Program. The last session for “International Art History” is titled “Figures and Formations of Civic Space”; four speakers are scheduled to give presentations.
For conference attendees wishing to make “Interventions in the Future of Art History,” CAA recommends following this symposium track. Karen J. Leader of Florida Atlantic University and Amy K. Hamlin of St. Catherine University will chair four sessions: “The Pragmatism in the History of Art,” “Art History Plays with Food,” “Art History as Table, Not Tower: A Practical Conversation about Diversity,” and “What Have You Done for Art History Lately? 2017 Edition.” The fifth session in the “Interventions” rubric—with the timely topic of “Defining and Exploring Socially Engaged Art History”—will be led by Cindy Persinger from California University of Pennsylvania and Azar M. Rejaie from the University of Houston, Downtown.
For full descriptions of the Saturday Symposia Sessions and lists of all speakers and the titles of their presentations, please visit the conference website.
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.)