Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzker is CAA’s vice president for committees. She is also professor of Asian art history, Carver Chair in East Asian Studies, and provost and dean of the faculty at Mills College in Oakland, California.
In line with CAA’s practice to update regularly its Standards and Guidelines for professional practices in the fields of art and art history, the Board of Directors approved three revised guidelines for art historians and a new one for academic art administrators at its meeting on October 25, 2009. This work was carried out by four task forces, established by CAA’s president Paul B. Jaskot and executive director Linda Downs, that were overseen by the Professional Practices Committee.
Professional Practices for Art Historians
Authentications and Attributions (2009): The task force appointed by President Jaskot established the need for a stand-alone and separate document for art historians regarding authentications and attributions of works of art. It was determined that no other issue is more urgent for, and its consequences so specific to, the welfare of the profession than dealing with inauthenticity and false attributions. Not only is the integrity of artists and collections at stake, but the economic well-being of art historians who engage in trying to separate the false from the true is also endangered.
Information about authentications and attributions formerly appeared in A Code of Ethics for Art Historians and Guidelines for the Professional Practice of Art History.
Guidelines for Curatorial-Studies Programs (2009): A growing number of colleges and universities across the country have instituted programs in curatorial studies. The revisions for the document, first published in 2004, are intended to help art departments and administrators organizing curricula and to aid faculty advisors and students determining which curatorial-studies programs are appropriate for an individual’s specific interests, abilities, and career goals.
Standards for Retention and Tenure of Art Historians (2009): This guideline, last revised in 2005, has been amended to embrace community and two-year colleges. Inclusion of community colleges into these standards will make this document relevant for art-history faculty who attempt to achieve the highest stands of professional practices in such institutions. It will also help to validate the objectives of professionals who have few peers to support them in their efforts to improve the practice of art history at their institutions.
Professional Practices for Academic Art Administrators
Standards and Guidelines for Academic Art Administrators (2009): This document will serve as a resource for emerging, new, and current academic art administrators, as well as benefiting other CAA members seeking guidance regarding the role of academic art administrators operating in a visual-arts context. The task force was made up of administrators from diverse geographical regions and varied professional experiences that included program directors, chairs and division heads, directors of schools of art, associate deans, deans, and vice presidents.
I want to thank all the members of the four task forces (listed respectively on the webpages of their Standards and Guidelines), who worked together to revise and create these Standards and Guidelines. In particular I want to acknowledge the work of Maxine Payne, chair of the Professional Practices Committee, who so diligently worked on all this material and encouraged each task force along the way.