College Art Association

CAA News Today

At its May 4, 2014, meeting, the Board of Directors agreed to suspend the Professional-Development Fellowships in Art History and Visual Arts until a thorough analysis of the program and an exploration into other professional-development opportunities take place. When CAA’s newly approved Strategic Plan 2015–2020 begins on July 1, 2014, the board will, among the plan’s priorities, investigate the full range of possibilities that might best serve the professional-development needs of CAA’s membership.

CAA’s fellowship program began in 1993 and, with the exception of 2009, when it was suspended for a year due to the global financial crisis, has provided grants to worthy graduate students about to receive their terminal PhD or MFA degrees. The program has benefitted 51 graduate students in the last seven years and 154 since 1993.

The board hopes to reinstate the fellowships by May 2015 or to design another program to help professionals in the visual arts and art history.

Humanities Advocacy Day 2014, sponsored by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), took place in Washington, DC, on Monday and Tuesday, March 10 and 11, 2014. As a member of NHA, CAA supports that organization’s advocacy efforts and sends representatives to its annual meeting each year. CAA’s participation in these activities allows the association to promote the visual arts and to persuade others—in this case the members of both houses of Congress—to embrace the value of the humanities in education and in daily life.

The annual meeting on Monday included an opening welcome by George Washington University’s president, Steven Knapp, followed by a presentation by Stephen Kidd, NHA executive director, outlining the alliance’s advocacy agenda for the year. Knapp introduced additional speakers whose interests and projects intersect with the NHA’s four-pronged argument for stressing the value of the humanities: promoting opportunity for all Americans, fostering innovation and economic competitiveness, ensuring productive global engagement, and strengthening civic knowledge and practice. Knapp also identified two initiatives outside Congress to promote the humanities in the public sphere: Humanities Working Groups for Community Impact (see item 5) and Call for Videos. Aimed directly at the public rather than elected officials, these initiatives will help to establish to those outside the academy that the humanities are an area worth funding.

David Scobey, executive dean of the New School for Public Engagement, presented a talk called “E Pluribus Anthology: Why American Communities Need the Humanities,” which advocated a return to civic engagement as a way of reigniting the humanities. Carol Muller, professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed a community project that she directs, West Philadelphia Music, which amplified Scobey’s argument. Other speakers during the day included Elva LeBlanc, president of the Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College, who spoke on the relevancy of higher education and the importance of preparing students for change and complexity; and Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System. In the afternoon, Humanities Advocacy Day participants received issue briefs and background material concerning proposed funding levels for federal humanities programs and position papers that were helpful in preparing for congressional visits.

On Tuesday, six NHA delegates from the state of New York (listed in the next paragraph) visited the offices of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Tom Reed, and José E. Serrano. In each instance, the group urged senators and representatives to support specific fiscal-year budgets for the National Endowment for the Humanities ($154.4 million), the Institute for Museum and Library Services ($226.5 million), and the Library of Congress ($593 million), and to properly fund the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and Title VI/Fulbright-Hays international programs. NHA delegates also asked their legislators to sign “Dear Colleague” letters in support of these budgets based on the alliance’s funding recommendations, which are higher than those proposed by the Obama administration.

The New York delegates from NHA were: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of scholarly communication for the Modern Language Association; Peter Berkery Jr., executive director of the Association of American University Presses; Jennifer Steenshorne, junior associate editor for Columbia University Libraries; Jonathan Gilad, program assistant at the American Political Science Association; Michael Fahlund, CAA deputy director; and Betty Leigh Hutcheson, CAA director of publications.

The results of the September 4th survey to members identified the most critical concerns in the visual arts field as:  1) the availability of full-time positions in academia and professional careers outside of academia; 2) access to information on professional opportunities and grants; 3) copyright, image licensing costs and fair use; and 4) the need for networking (survey results: www.collegeart.org/pdf/2013CAAMembershipSurvey.pdf). These and other critical interests of the members will assist in shaping the future of CAA as it develops the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

The CAA Board of Directors will hold a planning retreat on October 26th to review the survey results along with information gathered from interviews with 20 leaders in related fields, discussions with artists and art historians held at the Clark Research Institute September 19 – 24, and ideas from the CAA standing committees. The Task Force on the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan (www.collegeart.org/about/plan) will prepare a draft of the plan before the February 2014 Annual Conference.

All members are invited to attend the Open Discussion on the Future of CAA at the Annual Members Business Meeting at the Annual Conference in Chicago on Friday, February 14th, 5:30 PM.

Some 670 members expressed interest in one or more of CAA’s 16 different committees, juries, or editorial boards.  If you would like to become more involved with CAA and wish to pursue your interest, please contact Vanessa Jalet (vjalet@collegeart.org); information about the various committees is also available on the CAA website (www.collegeart.org/committees/).

And, congratulations to Monta May and Mimi Whalen whose names were selected at random for a one-year, complimentary, individual membership with CAA!

Thank you for your time and ideas.

As we all know, the health-insurance industry is undergoing significant change due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), signed into law in March 2010. The New York Life Insurance Company recently informed CAA that it will no longer offer catastrophic healthcare coverage previously available to CAA members. CAA investigated the possibility of offering members health insurance through another company but found this is no longer an option to associations whose members reside in different states.

Here’s the good news: PPACA includes comprehensive reform that is designed to provide affordable health coverage for all individuals. The average premium for individuals who purchase coverage directly today (i.e., they do not receive coverage through their employer) is expected to decline significantly.

Individuals can purchase medical insurance on or after January 1, 2014 without regard to health status and/or limitations because of preexisting conditions or impairment. Purchases for health coverage may be made through the Health Insurance Marketplace, state insurance exchanges, or the federal insurance exchange. Open enrollment for the exchanges starts on October 1, 2013, and ends on March 31, 2014.

Information on insurance plans state-by-state and how the insurance exchanges will work may be obtained at www.healthcare.gov or by calling 800-318-2596, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Filed under: CAA News

CAA has added four new podcasts to its growing series of audio recordings devoted to professional-development topics for artists.

In “Artistic Budgeting,” Elaine Grogan Luttrull, a certified public accountant and the founding owner of Minerva Financial Arts, outlines five basics steps to help individual artists with managing their finances. She also provides a PDF of an example budget for reference as you listen to the podcast.

“The Artist as Administrator,” presented by Thomas Berding, associate professor of studio art at Michigan State University, explores various issues artists may consider when pondering and operating within administrative roles, including how administrative assignments can both borrow from and complement one’s studio activity.

Edwin Torres, associate director for the Rockefeller Foundation’s New York City Opportunities Fund, talks about “Innovations in Fundraising,” sharing fresh models that artists have developed to create new works.

Finally, the artist and professor Amy Broderick presents “The Importance of Mentorship and Advocacy,” a podcast on how mentoring and advocacy can enhance the career of professionals in the visual arts.

Evolving from the National Professional-Development Workshops and now produced in tandem with them, the podcast series is ongoing, with new audio added on a regular basis. While the initial focus is on artists, CAA hopes to develop podcasts for art historians, curators, nonprofit art professionals, and other constituencies in the future.

Professional liability insurance is essential for art authenticators, appraisers, scholars, artists, curators, and other practitioners in the field of visual art and art history. In today’s increasingly litigious environment, professionals are often subject to lawsuits brought by unhappy clients or other parties who feel they have been harmed by the actions—or inactions—of individuals who worked for them. The financial consequences of such suits, including the costs to defend them, can be devastating. As a result, it is critical that professionals recognize their exposures to financial losses and adopt effective means to deal with them.

Herbert L. Jamison & Co. LLC, a provider of professional liability programs, and Philadelphia Insurance Companies are now offering a comprehensive, affordable professional liability insurance solution to art authenticators to help defend against a damaging financial loss that could occur from alleged mistakes or negligence in conducting professional, fee-based services. Though premiums vary depending on circumstances, the annual premium of one policy—which insures an individual engaged in authenticating works up to $500,000 in value—is $1,000 with a $2,500 deductible.

Several key benefits of this program are:

  • Automatic independent-contractor coverage for professional services while acting on the insured’s behalf
  • Defense costs in addition to the limit of liability for eligible risks
  • Policy coverage for a lawful spouse or domestic partner of the insured, but only for actual or alleged wrongful acts of such individual insured for which said spouse or domestic partner may be liable as the spouse or domestic partner of such insured
  • Tailored policy to meet the specific need(s) of clients
  • Free sixty-day discovery clause
  • Worldwide coverage

Sometimes insurance protection is not enough. The art professional must establish and maintain a loss-prevention program that will help minimize the chance of a professional liability claim being brought in the first place. Examples of effective loss-prevention techniques that can be adopted include:

  • Establishing the fees and/or billing practices at the beginning of a client relationship
  • Using engagement letters, contracts, and other means to precisely identify the scope of the services to be performed
  • Keeping written documentation of all activity, including telephone calls, billing calculations, and the like
  • Participating in peer reviews, when feasible
  • Avoiding situations that present conflicts of interest
  • Obtaining appropriate credentials and certifications and taking continuing-education courses to remain current regarding developments in the profession
  • Screening new clients carefully and keeping existing clients informed at all times
  • Avoiding giving specific warranties and similar performance guarantees

A well-designed combination of insurance and loss prevention will go a long way in managing the potential liabilities that art professionals must face as they deliver their services to their clients.

CAA recommends that interested individuals contact Kevin J. Hill, vice president at Herbert L. Jamison & Co. LLC, at 973-669-2388 or 800-5264766, ext. 2388.

Filed under: Legal Issues

In line with CAA’s practice to update regularly its Standards and Guidelines for professional practices in the visual arts, the Board of Directors approved one new and four revised guidelines at its meeting on October 23, 2011. The Professional Practices Committee, chaired by Charles Wright of Western Illinois University, worked with subcommittees over the past several years. Maria Ann Conelli, CAA vice president for committees, presented the documents to the board for approval.

Professional Practices for Artists

Beauvais Lyons of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, chaired the task force to update Professional Practices for Artists, first published in 1977. Extensive changes were made in sections pertaining to the code of ethics, copyright, safe use of materials and equipment, and exhibition and sales.

Standards for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Studio Art

Judith Thorpe of the University of Connecticut chaired the task force to update Standards for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Studio Art. A section on multidisciplinary curricula was added, and extensive changes were made to sections on the BFA and studio curriculum and on faculty and staff.

Standards for the Associate of Fine Arts Degree

A new document, Standards for the Associate of Fine Arts Degree in Studio Art, was developed to recognize that 50 percent of all college students in the United States attend institutions offering two-year degree programs. Bertha Gutman of the Delaware County Community College chaired the task force.

Peer Review in CAA Publications

Susan Waller of the University of Missouri, Saint Louis, and John Klein of Washington University in Saint Louis made up the task force that revised Peer Review in CAA Publications from 2004. The task force consulted the current editors-in-chief and editors-designate of The Art Bulletin and Art Journal as well as members of the Publications Committee that oversees the editorial boards of CAA’s three journals. The standards included a definition of peer review and addressed works submitted to the journals by artists.

Standards for the Retention and Tenure of Art and Design Faculty

Jim Hopfensperger of Western Michigan University chaired the task force on Standards for the Retention and Tenure of Art and Design Faculty. The revised standards recommend transparency in matters of renewal, retention, promotion, and tenure; specified contact hours; and added the categories of collaborative artworks, situated artworks, online work, commissions, consultations, and/or curatorial work to documentation to be considered for retention and promotion review.

After two years of research and numerous site visits in the five boroughs of New York, CAA signed a fifteen-year lease for a new office at 50 Broadway in lower Manhattan. The property—located in a rich historical district near Wall Street, Battery Park, Trinity Church, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum—is owned by the 50 Broadway Realty Corporation, an entity of the United Federation of Teachers, which is headquartered in the building. The move comes at the end of CAA’s twenty-five-year lease at 275 Seventh Avenue in Chelsea.

The affordable, furnished office of approximately 9,500 square feet is located on a single floor with a variety of building amenities, including an auditorium, meeting rooms, and a staff cafeteria. It also features natural light through windows on the east, west, and north sides. Since the new office comes largely furnished, CAA has invested little in construction, equipment, and furniture, other than the purchase of a few desks, bookshelves, and a conference table and chairs. Two significant changes, a new telephone system and a new internet service provider, will improve member communications. The installation of carpet, resurfacing of concrete corridors, and repainting of office walls are currently under way and should be completed prior to the move day: Saturday, July 23, 2011.

Meanwhile, CAA staff has been reorganizing and purging files, archiving materials, completing a space utilization analysis, relocating books and periodicals, and coordinating logistics with the movers and with the managements of the old and new buildings. The physical move will happen in one day, and—aside from the normal readjustment period required to be comfortably relocated—CAA expects no interruption in services or operations: the main website, the Online Career Center, caa.reviews, and other online services and publications will all function normally.

CAA is excited about the prospect of becoming a player in lower Manhattan’s ongoing revitalization efforts for residential, commercial, and cultural purposes. The new address for the organization beginning Monday, July 25, 2011, is: College Art Association, 50 Broadway, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10004. The primary telephone and fax numbers will remain the same: 212-691-1051 and 212-627-2381, respectively. CAA staff, however, will be unavailable from Thursday, July 21, through Monday morning, July 25; the telephone and fax numbers will also not be working during that time.

The CAA Board of Directors and staff wish to thank the legal acumen of Steven Alden and Jeffrey Cunard of Debevoise & Plimpton LLC and the real-estate expertise of Carri Lyon of Cushman & Wakefield in securing the new location. Everyone is welcome to attend an open house at the new CAA office, to be held on Saturday afternoon, October 22, 2011.

Filed under: CAA News

Today, CAA introduces a series of podcasts devoted to professional-development topics for artists. Evolving from the National Professional-Development Workshops for Artists and now produced in tandem with them, the series will continue throughout the year, with new audio to be added on a regular basis. While the initial focus is on artists, CAA hopes to develop podcasts for art historians, curators, nonprofit art professionals, and other constituencies in the future.

To download an MP3 file, please visit the Podcasts section and right click or control click on the podcast icon or title. To stream the audio, click the podcast icon or title; the audio will open in a new tab or window.

CAA is committed to assisting its members through a variety of means and at various stages in their careers. The podcasts join CAA’s other Career Services programs, which include workshops and mentoring sessions for artists and scholars at the Annual Conference, fellowships for graduate students, professional Standards and Guidelines, and the Online Career Center.

“Authenticating Art: Current Problems and Proposed Solutions” was the topic for a panel presentation and discussion sponsored by CAA and the Appraisers Association of America. Held on January 20, 2010, the event was hosted by and took place in the auditorium of the Levin Institute in Manhattan for its 120 guests.

The panelists were: John Cahill of the New York–based law firm Lynn and Cahill; Jane Jacob from Jacob Fine Art, an art consultancy in Chicago; James Martin of Orion Analytical, a materials analysis and consultancy firm based in Williamstown, Massachusetts; and Jane Levine from the auction house Sotheby’s New York. Michele Marincola, a professor of conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, served as moderator for the discussion.

CAA’s new best practices on Authentications and Attributions, approved in October 2009, played an important referential role among myriad opinions offered by legal experts, conservators, gallery owners, and material analysts—to say nothing of the various aspects of law that may apply to collectors, buyers and sellers, appraisers, and auction houses. Indeed, the guidelines were praised by panelists and audience members for their “reasoned and thoughtful advice” and recommended repeatedly as an essential resource on the subject.

Panel presentations cited specific circumstances surrounding well-known art forgeries by Greek and Roman sculptors from as far back as two millennia, to more recent master forgerers, including Elmyr de Hory, Eric Hebborn, John Myatt, and Leo Nardus. One of the most famous forgeries by Han van Meegeren, of Johannes Vemeer’s Supper at Emmaus, was completed in 1937 and sold for what today would be well over $2.5 million. Some forgerers also borrowed authentic works of art from collectors, copied the work, returned the undetected copy to the owner, and then sold the original to a third party. Historical and modern-day problems with attribution, revelations during conservation procedures, and new analytical techniques and forensic equipment were also presented. Similarly, matters of law such as breach of contract, false certificates of authenticity, and false (but not criminal) representation or court testimony were highlighted.

The evening was informative, provocative, and timely but lacked one critical professional perspective: namely, that of the art historian, art-museum curator, or art connoisseur. Indeed, art-historical documentation, stylistic connoisseurship, and scientific analysis are the three aspects of authentication that create a “consensus of evidence” as recommended in the CAA guidelines. Were it not for this shortcoming, the event would have enlightened even further the practice, if not the controversy, of art authentication.

For interested members who will attend CAA’s centennial Annual Conference in New York in 2011, the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association (a CAA affiliated society) will present a panel on authentication that addresses issues confronted by art historians and curators who authenticate.