CAA News Today

Today the Musée du Louvre in Paris has launched an English-language version of its online collection database, Atlas. This interactive research tool will allow visitors to access information on 22,000 artworks from the Louvre, view high-resolution images of masterpieces, and locate exhibited works and galleries throughout the museum. Previously available only in French, Atlas is accessible free-of-charge.

Users can enter via the main Louvre website, choose English at upper right, and then go to Collections –> Databases and select Atlas.

The launch of the English version of Atlas was initiated by and funded with a €300,000 ($380,000) grant in 2004 from the American Friends of the Louvre, which was founded in 2002 to strengthen ties between the museum and its American public. The new version of the site will provide in-depth information on the Louvre’s extensive collection to the museum’s two million English-speaking visitors as well as to educators, students, researchers, and scholars.

Launched in 2003, Atlas provides quick and easy access to an exceptionally rich database of 26,000 of the 35,000 works on permanent display at the Louvre. Currently, 5,500 artists in a variety of media are represented on the site. In addition to gallery views, Atlas also provides online visitors with a virtual “Album” through which they can gather a selection of artworks and create and navigate their own personalized tour of the Louvre.

The English-language version of Atlas will include entries on 22,000 works of art, or approximately 80 percent of the original Atlas database, showcasing works most representative of the depth and scope of the Louvre’s collection.

“Guess what? The art is not yours to sell.” So says Jonathan Lee of the board of overseers of the maligned Rose Art Museum about a lawsuit filed yesterday that aims to stop Brandeis University from closing the institution and selling the art collection. Lee has joined fellow overseers Lois Foster and Meryl Rose—who is a member of the family that founded the museum—to ask the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts to issue a preliminary injunction to halt the university’s plans.

Jerry Kronenberg of the Boston Herald and Tracy Jan of the Boston Globe have more on the story.

CAA invites nominations and self-nominations for two field editor positions for reviews of books and related media in for a four-year term, through June 30, 2013. Needed now are field editors for pre-1800 architecture and urbanism and for Egyptian and ancient Near Eastern art. This candidate may be an art historian, art critic, curator, or other art professional; institutional affiliation is not required.

Each field editor commissions reviews of books and related media for within an area of expertise. He or she selects books to be reviewed, commissions reviewers, determines the appropriate character of the reviews, and works with reviewers to develop manuscripts for publication. The field editor works with the Editorial Board as well as the editor-in-chief and CAA’s staff editor, and is expected to keep abreast of newly published and important books and related media in his or her field of expertise.

The Council of Field Editors meets annually at the CAA Annual Conference. Field editors must pay travel and lodging expenses to attend the conference.

Candidates must be current CAA members and should not be serving on the editorial board of a competitive journal or on another CAA editorial board or committee. Nominators should ascertain their nominee’s willingness to serve before submitting a name; self-nominations are also welcome. Please send a letter of interest, CV, and contact information to: Chair, Editorial Board, CAA, 275 Seventh Ave., 18th Floor, New York, NY 10001; Deadline: August 1, 2009.

Filed under:, Education, Publications

CAA rounds up several legal issues related to the art and academic worlds.

US Ban on Muslim Scholar

Last week the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision regarding Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Muslim professor who was not allowed into the country to teach at the University of Notre Dame. The State Department revoked Ramadan’s visa in 2004 via the USA Patriot Act and then denied another one two years later because he contributed to a charity that was allegedly supporting Hamas, a Palestinian group that is a terrorist group in the eyes of the American government. Ramadan may now be able to dispute this claim, which could reinstate his visa status.

Three groups—the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors, and PEN American Center—worked with the American Civil Liberties Union on the case. The New York Times has the story on the recent ruling.

Shepard Fairey’s Obama Poster

The photographer whose image was used in Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster of Barack Obama argues that the Associated Press, who is suing Fairey for copyright infringement, does not actually possess the photograph’s copyright. Erik Larsen at Bloomberg has more details.

National Gallery and Digital Images

The National Portrait Gallery in London is threatening a lawsuit against Derrick Coetzee, a Seattle man who downloaded thousands of high-resolution images from the museum’s website and posted many on Wikipedia. In the US, photographs of two-dimensional works of art are not protected by copyright because the photographs lack originality (per Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp from 1999). In the UK, however, there is not a similar legal precedent. The Independent and the Guardian have reported on the developing story.

A Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, may not intervene in the sale of artworks that the late artist donated to Fisk University. For more than three years the cash-strapped Nashville school, which owns a substantial bequest that includes O’Keeffe’s famous Radiator Building – Night, New York (1927) and Marsden Hartley’s Painting No. 3 (1913), has wanted to sell those two paintings to—and share the display of many other works in the prized collection with—the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Travis Loller of the Associated Press and Jack Silverman of the Nashville Scene have more details.

CAA encourages you to sign a petition that supports the integrity and value of university and college art museums.

Several university art museums or their school administrations have recently sold, or have attempted to sell, artworks and objects in their collections to offset operating costs. In response to this, CAA has joined a task force supporting the educational importance of preserving collections at university museums and galleries. The task force—which includes representatives from the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of College and University Museums and Galleries, and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation—has established a two-pronged effort: 1) to recognize museums as integral educational resources in the university accreditation process; and 2) to heighten public awareness of the educational value of art museum collections.

Members of the task force are meeting with accreditation organizations throughout the country to enlist their support for the recognition of art museums as integral educational resources.

A petition has been prepared that reaffirms the integrity and value of university and college museums.

Please show support for our efforts by adding your name and affiliation to this petition, which will be published in the Chronicle of Higher Education this fall. Please encourage your university, college, or museum to sign it as well.

Thank you for your support on this critical issue.

Paul B. Jaskot, President, and Linda Downs, Executive Director

New Faces for CAA Journals

posted by July 10, 2009

Paul Jaskot, president of the CAA Board of Directors, has made new appointments to CAA’s three scholarly journals.

Karen Lang, associate professor of art history at the University of Southern California, has been appointed the next editor-in-chief of The Art Bulletin, succeeding Richard J. Powell of Duke University. Lang begins her three-year term on July 1, 2010, with the preceding year as editor designate.

Michael Cole is the new reviews editor for The Art Bulletin, succeeding David J. Roxburgh of Harvard University, who served the journal for three years. Cole became reviews editor designate in February and took over from Roxburgh this month.

Joining the Art Bulletin Editorial Board for four-year terms beginning July 1, 2009, are: Linda Komaroff, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Thelma K. Thomas, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; and Eugene Wang, Harvard University. The newly selected editorial-board chair is Natalie Kampen of Barnard College, who will serve for two years.

At Art Journal, Howard Singerman of the University of Virginia has been appointed the new reviews editor; he will take over from Liz Kotz of the University of California, Riverside, and serve from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2013, with a year as reviews editor designate starting this month.

Also at Art Journal, Rachel Weiss of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Constance DeJong of Hunter College, City University of New York, have joined the Art Journal Editorial Board for the next four years.

Now on the Editorial Board is Michael Ann Holly of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, who will serve for four years. In addition, seven new field editors for books and related media have been chosen:

  • Molly Emma Aitken, City College, City University of New York, South and Southeast Asian art
  • Darby English, University of Chicago, contemporary art
  • Jonathan Massey, Syracuse University, architecture and urbanism, 1800–present
  • Adelheid Mers, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, arts administration and museum studies (a new field-editor position)
  • Tanya Sheehan, Rutgers University, photography
  • Janis Tomlinson, University Museums at the University of Delaware, Spanish art
  • Tony White, Indiana University, Bloomington, artist’s books and books for artists (a new field-editor position)

Field editors work with the journal for three years, starting on July 1, 2009.

All editors and editorial-board members are chosen from an open call for nominations and self-nominations, published in at least two issues of CAA News (usually January and March) and on the CAA website.

Part-time faculty in the state of Oregon scored a victory late last month, when their state legislature overwhelmingly approved the Oregon Faculty and College Excellence (FACE) Act. The bill will provide access to healthcare insurance to part-time faculty at community colleges and universities through the Oregon Educator’s Benefit Board plan. The bill also requires schools to track and annually report on faculty staffing and salary ratios, to be reviewed by the legislature and governor.

The Senate vote was unanimous: 30-0; the House passed the bill 54 to 1. The FACE Act now goes to Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski for his signature. Jillian Smith and Rob Wagner from AFT Oregon have the complete story.

Faculty and College Excellence (FACE), a branch of the American Federation of Teachers, is a national campaign that advocates for equity in pay and benefits for contingent faculty members through organizing, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining. Another goal is to ensure that three-quarters of undergraduate courses are taught by full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty, and that qualified contingent faculty have the opportunity to move into such positions when they become available. The Oregon legislation is the first time that elements of FACE have been adopted by a state.

CAA has 135 individual and 21 institutional members in Oregon.

Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY), together with Kognito Solutions, has recently released the Interactive Guide to Using Copyrighted Media in Your Courses. This online tutorial helps college and university faculty determine the appropriate guidelines to follow when using different types of copyrighted media in their courses.

While US copyright law has traditionally allowed for “fair use” for teachers who display and perform copyrighted media during face-to-face teaching, copyright compliancy has become an increasingly complex legal issue as media are increasingly delivered to students online.

Structured as a subway map, the interactive guide asks teachers a series of questions about the nature of the copyrighted works they want to use and how they plan to use them. As each question is answered, users progress through the virtual subway system, learning important copyright rules that apply to their specific situations. At the “final stop,” a list of guidelines for using the copyrighted media is provided.

John Dugan, legal counsel for Baruch College, said, “This guide is a valuable tool that enables faculty to obtain useful, practical advice on copyright issues they may face without confronting the daunting complexities of the copyright law itself.” Baruch’s assistant vice president for technology, Arthur Downing, who initiated the project, said, “We are responding to the needs of academic institutions for a tool that will help and encourage faculty to use media in their courses. This is especially crucial since higher education is increasingly utilizing technology and online delivery components to augment classroom interaction.”

Downing also noted that, while the new learning resource is based on Baruch College and CUNY copyright guidelines, these guidelines are common to many academic institutions and thus applicable for universities across the nation. He further emphasized the need to “continuously enhance this resource with the help of the educational community.”

Other Copyright Resources

Last summer, CAA launched Intellectual Property and the Arts, its own resource for copyright, digital, and intellectual-property issues related to the visual arts. In addition, Information and Library Services at the University of Maryland University College hosts a webpage with a broad range of information on legally using copyrighted materials in classes and on the internet; this information is especially useful for beginners. Reed College also maintains a simpler webpage on using copyrighted materials in academia, with helpful links to information gathered by other schools and organizations.

The primary finding of a report released last week by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), entitled American Academic: The State of the Higher Education Workforce 1997–2007, presents a troubling picture of disinvestment in the higher-education teaching profession—notably, a reduction in the proportion of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, and an increased reliance on employing “contingent” faculty and instructors such as part-time faculty, full-time nontenure track faculty, and graduate employees.

An analysis of the most recent ten years of national data finds that the higher-education instructional workforce grew in the past decade, which is not surprising since college enrollments increased during that time by over 3 million. But to meet the needs of a growing student population, colleges and universities overwhelmingly relied on hiring undersupported contingent faculty and instructors. Previous reports have demonstrated the problems created when colleges hire contingent faculty and instructors without fair wages, job security, and professional support. This new report documents that, rather than working to reverse these trends and investing in a more secure higher-education teaching workforce, colleges and universities are expanding their reliance on contingent faculty and instructors.

Among the report’s other key findings:

  • From 1997 to 2007, the proportion of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members declined from approximately one-third of the instructional staff to slightly more than one-quarter
  • The increased reliance on contingent faculty and instructors was found in all sectors of higher education, with the most dramatic increase in community colleges

At the same time, the study notes an increase in the number of professional staff who provide direct student services, such as registrars, counselors, and financial-aid officers. Professional staff grew by 50 percent from 1997 to 2007, and the vast majority of these positions were full-time.

This report is the first in a new series on the higher-education workforce in colleges and universities. Each issue in  AFT’s American Academic series will explore different aspects of trends in hiring, compensation, and working conditions among the increasingly diverse higher-education workforce. More higher education data can be found in AFT’s Higher Education Data Center.

The Chronicle of Higher Education and Insider Higher Ed have reported on the report, with extensive comments by readers posted to the latter article.

CAA encourages all colleges and universities to read and uphold its Guidelines for Part-Time Professional Employment, which give recommendations on fair compensation, office and studio space, benefits, and more for part-time workers.