College Art Association

CAA News Today

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
President

Hunter O’Hanian
Executive Director
Chief Executive Officer

CAA Restatement of Values, November 2016

posted by November 22, 2016

For more than one hundred years, the College Art Association (CAA) has been dedicated to the creative process through making and thinking about art and how it affects our past, present, and future. We do this through scholarship, publications, convenings, research, and professional development for artists, designers, and art historians. As a member-driven association, we are committed to intellectual rigor, peer review, inclusion, and diversity. We uphold these values by engaging everyone, nationally and internationally; all races, ages, abilities, religions, citizenships, ethnicities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. We defend academic freedom as forcefully as we reject discrimination, bigotry, sexual assault, and violence against the vulnerable.

As scholars, artists, and educators, we expect the same exactitude from leaders in education, cultural institutions, and, in particular, government. We will continue to advocate in no uncertain terms for an inclusive climate that fosters intellectual honesty, transparency, and human engagement.

President, Board of Directors
Suzanne Preston Blier
blier_signature
Executive Director
Hunter O’Hanian
hunterohaniansigwhite

CAA has signed onto the letter reprinted below, written by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) on July 21, 2016, and signed by dozens of organizations. To read the full list of signatories, please visit the MESA website.

Threats to Academic Freedom and Higher Education in Turkey

The above listed organizations collectively note with profound concern the apparent moves to dismantle much of the structure of Turkish higher education through purges, restrictions, and assertions of central control, a process begun earlier this year and accelerating now with alarming speed.

As scholarly associations, we are committed to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. The recent moves in Turkey herald a massive and virtually unprecedented assault on those principles. One of the Middle East region’s leading systems of higher education is under severe threat as a result, as are the careers and livelihoods of many of its faculty members and academic administrators.

Our concern about the situation in Turkish universities has been mounting over the past year, as Turkish authorities have moved to retaliate against academics for expressing their political views—some merely signing an “Academics for Peace” petition criticizing human rights violations.

Yet the threat to academic freedom and higher education has recently worsened in a dramatic fashion. In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of July 15–16, 2016, the Turkish government has moved to purge government officials in the Ministry of Education and has called for the resignation of all university deans across the country’s public and private universities. As of this writing, it appears that more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry have been fired and nearly 1,600 deans—1,176 from public universities and 401 from private universities—have been asked to resign. In addition, 21,000 private school teachers have had their teaching licenses cancelled. Further, reports suggest that travel restrictions have been imposed on academics at public universities and that Turkish academics abroad were required to return to Turkey. The scale of the travel restrictions, suspensions, and imposed resignations in the education sector seemingly go much farther than the targeting of individuals who might have had any connection to the attempted coup.

The crackdown on the education sector creates the appearance of a purge of those deemed inadequately loyal to the current government. Moreover, the removal of all of the deans across the country represents a direct assault on the institutional autonomy of Turkey’s universities. The replacement of every university’s administration simultaneously by the executive-controlled Higher Education Council would give the government direct administrative control of all Turkish universities. Such concentration and centralization of power over all universities is clearly inimical to academic freedom. Moreover, the government’s existing record of requiring university administrators’ to undertake sweeping disciplinary actions against perceived opponents—as was the case against the Academics for Peace petition signatories—lends credence to fears that the change in university administrations will be the first step in an even broader purge against academics in Turkey.

Earlier this year, it was already clear that the Turkish government, in a matter of months, had amassed a staggering record of violations of academic freedom and freedom of expression. The aftermath of the attempted coup may have accelerated those attacks on academic freedom in even more alarming ways.

As scholarly organizations, we collectively call for respect for academic freedom—including freedom of expression, opinion, association, and travel—and the autonomy of universities in Turkey, offer our support to our Turkish colleagues, second the Middle East Studies Association’s “call for action” of January 15, request that Turkey’s diplomatic interlocutors (both states and international organizations) advocate vigorously for the rights of Turkish scholars and the autonomy of Turkish universities, suggest other scholarly organizations speak forcefully about the threat to the Turkish academy, and alert academic institutions throughout the world that Turkish colleagues are likely to need moral and substantive support in the days ahead.

Note

Organizations wishing to be included as signatories on the above statement should contact Amy Newhall at amy@mesana.org.

In March, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that made it illegal for cities to enact laws that superseded or contradicted state law. The bill, known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, invalidated an ordinance established in the city of Charlotte that had extended rights to gay and transgender people. This month in Mississippi, the governor signed a bill, called the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, that came from the state legislature. This law may protect discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools, workplaces, and government locales.

Responding to the legislation in Mississippi and North Carolina, CAA’s Board of Directors approved its own statement, which reads:

The College Art Association denounces laws that sanction discrimination against LGBTQ people, including those recently enacted in North Carolina and Mississippi. The visual arts community has long stood for diversity and the inclusion of all peoples in the civic fabric of our country.  We support CAA members and others in the visual arts community who live or work in the affected states and their efforts to oppose these unjust laws.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler has reintroduced a revised bill, The American Royalties Too Act 2015, to provide royalties to visual artists whose work is resold and valued at over $5,000.

H. R. 1881

To amend title 17, United States Code, to secure the rights of visual artists to copyright, to provide for resale royalties, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 16, 2015
Mr. Nadler (for himself, Ms. Slaughter, Ms. Chu of California, Ms. Jackson Lee, Mr. Engel, Ms. Meng, Mr. Deutch, Ms. Schakowsky, and Mr. Pocan) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To amend title 17, United States Code, to secure the rights of visual artists to copyright, to provide for resale royalties, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “American Royalties Too Act of 2015”.

SEC. 2. Definitions.

Section 101 of title 17, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by inserting after the definition of “architectural work” the following:

(2) by inserting after the definition of “Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” the following:

(3) by inserting after the definition of “registration” the following:

(4) in the definition of “work of visual art”, by striking “A ‘work of visual art’ is—” and all that follows through “by the author.” and inserting the following: “A ‘work of visual art’ is a painting, drawing, print, sculpture, or photograph, existing either in the original embodiment or in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author and are consecutively numbered by the author, or, in the case of a sculpture, in multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author.”.

SEC. 3. Exclusive rights.

Section 106 of title 17, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by inserting “(a) In general.—” before “Subject to sections 107 through 122”;

(2) in paragraph (5), by striking “and” at the end;

(3) in paragraph (6), by striking the period at the end and inserting “; and”; and

(4) by adding at the end the following:

“(7) in the case of a work of visual art, to collect a royalty for the work if the work is sold by a person other than the author of the work for a price of not less than $5,000 as the result of an auction.

“(b) Collection of royalty.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The collection of a royalty under subsection (a)(7) shall be conducted in accordance with this subsection.

“(2) CALCULATION OF ROYALTY.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The royalty shall be an amount equal to the lesser of—

“(i) 5 percent of the price paid for the work of visual art; or

“(ii) $35,000.

“(B) ADJUSTMENT OF AMOUNT.—In 2016 and each year thereafter, the dollar amount described in subparagraph (A)(ii) shall be increased by an amount equal to the product of—

“(i) that dollar amount; and

“(ii) the cost-of-living adjustment determined under section 1(f)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for the year, determined by substituting ‘calender year 2016’ for ‘calendar year 1992’ in subparagraph (B) thereof.

“(3) COLLECTION OF ROYALTY.—

“(A) COLLECTION.—Not later than 90 days after the date on which the auction occurs, the entity that conducts the auction shall—

“(i) collect the royalty; and

“(ii) pay the royalty to a visual artists’ copyright collecting society.

“(B) DISTRIBUTION.—Not fewer than 4 times each year, the visual artists’ copyright collecting society shall distribute to the author or his or her successor as copyright owner an amount equal to the difference between—

“(i) the net royalty attributable to the sales of the author; and

“(ii) the reasonable administrative expenses of the collecting society as determined by regulations issued under section 701(b)(5).

“(4) FAILURE TO PAY ROYALTY.—Failure to pay a royalty provided for under this subsection shall—

“(A) constitute an infringement of copyright; and

“(B) be subject to—

“(i) the payment of statutory damages under section 504(c); and

“(ii) liability for payment of the full royalty due.

“(5) RIGHT TO COLLECT ROYALTY.—The right to collect a royalty under this subsection may not be sold, assigned, or waived except as provided in section 201.

“(6) ELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE ROYALTY PAYMENT.—The royalty shall be paid to—

“(A) any author of a work of visual art—

“(i) who is a citizen of or domiciled in the United States;

“(ii) who is a citizen of or domiciled in a country that provides resale royalty rights; or

“(iii) whose work of visual art is first created in the United States or in a country that provides resale royalty rights; or

“(B) the successor as copyright owner of an author described in subparagraph (A).”.

SEC. 4. Notice of copyright.

Section 401 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(e) Non-Applicability to works of visual art.—The provisions of this section shall not apply to a work of visual art.”.

SEC. 5. Copyright office.

Section 701(b) of title 17, United States Code, is amended by—

(1) redesignating paragraph (5) as paragraph (6); and

(2) inserting after paragraph (4) the following:

“(5) Issue regulations governing visual artists’ copyright collecting societies described in section 106, that—

“(A) establish a process by which an entity is determined to be and designated as a visual artists’ copyright collecting society, that—

“(i) requires that a visual artists’ copyright collecting society authorized to administer royalty collections and distributions under this title shall—

“(I) have prior experience in licensing the copyrights of authors of works of visual art in the United States; or

“(II) have been authorized by not fewer than 10,000 authors of works of visual art, either directly or through reciprocal agreements with foreign collecting societies, to license the rights granted under section 106; and

“(ii) prohibits an entity from being designated as a visual artists’ copyright collecting society if, during a period of not less than 5 years that begins after the date on which the entity is designated as a visual artists’ copyright collecting society, the entity does not distribute directly to each author, or to the successor as copyright owner of each author, the amount of the royalties required to be distributed under section 106(b)(3)(B);

“(B) determine a reasonable amount of administrative expenses that a visual artists’ copyright collecting society may deduct from the royalties payable to an author of a work of visual art under section 106(b)(3); and

“(C) establish a process by which—

“(i) not less frequently than annually, a visual artists’ copyright collecting society may request from any entity that conducts auctions a list of each work of visual art sold in those auctions that is by an author represented by the collecting society; and

“(ii) an author of a work of visual art may obtain from a visual artists’ copyright collecting society any information requested by the collecting society under clause (i) that relates to a sale of a work of visual art by the author, including the amount of any royalty paid to the collecting society on behalf of the author.”.

SEC. 6. Study required.

Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Register of Copyrights shall—

(1) conduct a study on—

(A) the effects, if any, of the implementation of this Act, and the amendments made by this Act, on the art market in the United States; and

(B) whether the provisions of this Act, and the amendments made by this Act, should be expanded to cover dealers, galleries, or other professionals engaged in the sale of works of visual art; and

(2) submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives a report on the study described in paragraph (1), including any recommendations for legislation.

SEC. 7. Effective date.

This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.

 

Filed under: Artists, Government and Politics

Help the NEH Celebrate Its Fiftieth Anniversary

posted by January 29, 2015

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency created in 1965 and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2015–16. To mark this historic event, we would like you to tell us about an NEH grant or grant product that has made a difference in your life, career, community, or academic field. To contribute stories about NEH’s past or for more information, send an email to NEH50@neh.gov. Please include your name and telephone number in your message.

Because democracy demands wisdom, the NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars. The grants:

  • strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges
  • facilitate research and original scholarship
  • provide opportunities for lifelong learning
  • preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources
  • strengthen the institutional base of the humanities

Since 1965, the endowment has opened new worlds of learning for the American public with noteworthy projects such as:

  • Seven thousand books, 16 of which have won Pulitzer Prizes and 20 of which have received the Bancroft Prize
  • The Civil War, the landmark documentary by Ken Burns viewed by 38 million Americans
  • The Library of America editions of novels, essays, and poems celebrating America’s literary heritage
  • The United States Newspaper Project, which catalogued and microfilmed 63.3 million pages of historic newspapers and paved the way for the National Digital Newspaper Program and its digital repository, Chronicling America
  • Annual support for 56 states and territories to help support some 56,000 lectures, discussions, exhibitions, and other programs each year

We look forward to hearing from you!

CAA seeks nominations and self-nominations from an architectural historian or an art historian with a specialization in Islamic, East Asian, or contemporary art to serve on the jury for the Millard Meiss Publication Fund for a four-year term, ending on June 30, 2018. Candidates must be actively publishing scholars with demonstrated seniority and achievement; institutional affiliation is not required.

The Meiss jury awards subsidies to support the publication of book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of art and related subjects. Members review manuscripts and grant applications twice a year and meet in New York in the spring and fall to select the awardees. CAA reimburses jury members for travel and lodging expenses in accordance with its travel policy.

Candidates must be current CAA members and should not be serving on another CAA editorial board or committee. Jury members may not themselves apply for a grant in this program during their term of service. Nominators should ascertain their nominee’s willingness to serve before submitting a name; self-nominations are also welcome. Please send a letter describing your interest in and qualifications for appointment, a CV, and contact information to: Millard Meiss Publication Fund Jury, College Art Association, 50 Broadway, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10004; or send all materials as email attachments to Alex Gershuny, CAA editorial manager. Deadline: July 22, 2014.

On March 10–11, 2014, the United States Copyright Office (USCO) held a series of public roundtables in Washington, DC, exploring the question of “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization.”[1] Collectively, these discussion panels constituted a follow up to a Notice of Inquiry circulated by USCO in the fall of 2012, in response to which CAA filed reply comments in March 2013.[2] Given CAA’s long advocacy of legislation to offer protection to those individuals and institutions using orphan works, and after consulting with CAA members familiar with concerns related to orphan works,[3] I represented the organization in two sessions, one addressing the “Types of Works Subject to Orphan Works Legislation, Including Issues Related Specifically to Photographs” (Session 4) and the other “Types of Users and Uses Subject to Orphan Works Legislation” (Session 5).[4]

“Orphan works” constitute a class of materials for which no copyright owner can be located.[5] They have long posed a thorny challenge for scholars or artists who might seek to reproduce them, but who cannot locate the creator or a source from which to license them for purposes not considered “fair use.” As a publisher of leading journals—Art Bulletin and Art Journal, and caa.reviews—and an advocate for its members who might similarly seek to use orphan works, CAA has consistently argued in favor of orphan works legislation that 1) would significantly limit the liability of a user of an orphan work who had executed a diligent search for the work’s copyright owner, and 2) provide a safe harbor for not-for-profit cultural institutions, engaged in non-commercial activities, that had exercised similar care and that took steps to cease the infringement. At the same time, CAA has spoken to the importance of the attribution of the work and has argued that if a copyright holder comes forward that rights holder be entitled to a reasonable licensing fee if, indeed, the use is not considered “fair” as allowed under the law.

Consistent with positions taken by CAA previously, the organization argued that all copyrighted works, including photographs, should be protected by orphan works legislation. Photographs, which can be notoriously difficult to associate with their makers, have proven particularly tricky as a group of objects, actually being excepted from a directive, intended to facilitate the non-commercial public interest use of orphan works, passed by the European Union.[6] However, not to consider photographs as part of the larger category of orphan works would be extremely limiting from the perspective of CAA given the strong interest of its members in sources of visual information. Categorically excluding photographic and other works of visual art from orphan works eligibility would disadvantage users of images, including artists, scholars, and publishers, who would face continued risks of being sued for copyright infringement despite being unable to determine the identity of the copyright owner at the time of their use. The purpose of orphan works legislation is to mitigate the legal risk of using works that are part of our shared culture. It is because those risks can have chilling implications, adversely affecting creative work by artists and scholars, that CAA has been committed to support orphan works legislation.

Given the diverse range of purposes to which copies of orphan works might be put by its members, CAA has argued that both commercial and non-commercial uses of such material should be protected, given the extraordinary difficulty of teasing apart such interests. Because artists (like scholars) can be both creators and users of copyrighted items, they may seek to make and market work incorporating reproductions of orphan works. In similar fashion, academic or independent scholars or museum professionals make seek to illustrate orphan works in publications made available for sale. While recognizing that a voluntary registry (or registries) of copyrighted works, such as photographs might be useful, CAA does not endorse requiring such registration, nor does it feel that the terms of a “diligent search” for the holders of copyright of orphaned works should be prescribed, arguing instead that the best approach to such research would be better determined on a case-by-case basis.

Although previous legislation, S. 2913 (the Shawn Bentley Act) faltered in the House of Representatives in 2008, and was thus not enacted into law, USCO is now reexamining the potential value of pursuing orphan works legislation anew—both with regard to the occasional or isolated use of orphan works as well as mass digitization. These efforts reflect the influence of new technology and ongoing litigation, such as cases concerning Google Books and the HathiTrust, where mass digitization was found by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to constitute “fair use.”[7]

The growing reliance of many libraries and archives upon the principle of “fair use” as a justification for digitization has led USCO to consider whether this defense obviates the need for orphan works legislation. CAA has argued that this is not the case, recognizing that some uses of copyrighted material may not constitute “fair use.” Thus CAA continues to appreciate the value of such legislation to clarify the class known as “orphan works” to protect the needs of its membership, even as it advocates for the development of best practices guidelines for the fair use of copyrighted material.

CAA intends to submit comments related to the roundtable by USCO’s filing deadline of April 14th. Should any CAA members wish to offer thoughts related to this topic to be considered in relation to such a filing by CAA, please contact Executive Director Linda Downs (ldowns@collegeart.org) or President Anne Collins Goodyear (AGoodyear@bowdoin.edu) by April 7th.

Endnotes


[1] For more information on this event and other Notices of Inquiry by the US Copyright Office (USCO) on this topic, please see: http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/. Transcripts and video of the roundtables will be posted when they become available on the website of the USCO.

[2] CAA’s submission of these comments is described in CAA’s resources on “Intellectual Property and the Arts” which provides a link to these comments: http://www.collegeart.org/ip/orphanworks.

[3] For their generosity with their time and expertise, I thank Jeffrey P. Cunard, Christine L. Sundt, Judy Metro, Doralynn Pines, Eve Sinaiko, Linda Downs, and Betty Leigh Hutcheson. Chris Sundt and Jeff Cunard generously provided comments on earlier drafts of this posting, for which I am grateful. CAA’s long history of involvement with orphan works is detailed in CAA’s recent submission of comments, prepared by CAA counsel Jeffrey P. Cunard, on Orphan Works and Mass Digitization to USCO, in March 2013; please see: http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/comments/noi_11302012/College-Art-Association.pdf. http://www.collegeart.org/ip/orphanworks.

[4] Due to the strong outpouring of interest in the topic, participation by each organization had to be limited, and CAA prioritized these sessions.

[5] Further discussion of orphan works can be found on CAA’s website under “Intellectual Property and the Arts,” at http://www.collegeart.org/publications/ow.

[6] These challenges and the directive passed by the European Union are discussed in the February 10, 2014 USCO Notice of Inquiry for Orphan Works and Mass Digitization, available at http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/. See specifically the discussion of the topics raised by Session 4: “Types of Works Subject to Orphan Works Legislation, Including Issues Related Specifically to Photographs.”

[7] For more information on these decisions, including links to them, please see: See http://www.publicknowledge.org/files/google%20summary%20judgment%20final.pdf and Andrew Albanese, “Google Scanning is Fair Use Says Judge,” Publishers Weekly, October 11, 2012. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/54321-in-hathitrust-ruling-judge-says-google-scanning-is-fair-use.html. I thank Chris Sundt for recommending these resources.

This story is reposted with permission from Hyperallergic. Here is a link to the original story:
http://hyperallergic.com/109775/presidents-obama-pens-personal-apology-to-an-art-historian/.

Professor Ann Collins Johns at the University of Texas at Austin was just as peeved as many people were about President Barack Obama’s knock on art history majors. So she did what any self-assured art historian would do and wrote a letter to Obama on January 31, shortly after the President’s remarks, and sent it using the White House website. Then came the surprising part: Obama responded with a handwritten note on February 12.

Johns told Hyperallergic that she did not save her original email because she posted it via the White House website:

However, I’m pretty sure that my email was not so much one of outrage at his statement, but rather a “look at what we do well” statement. I emphasized that we challenge students to think, read, and write critically. I also stressed how inclusive our discipline is these days (even though my own specialty is medieval and Renaissance Italy).

Asked for permission to reproduce the letter, Johns wanted to make it clear that she loves Obama. “What I did NOT expect is that THE MAN HIMSELF would write me an apology. So now I’m totally guilty about wasting his time,” she wrote on her Facebook profile page.

Here is Obama’s response, written on official White House letterhead then scanned and sent to Johns by email. We’ve transcribed the text below; the White House let the professor know that the original will be mailed to her shortly.

Ann —

Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.

So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

by Alicia Eler on February 18, 2014

Filed under: Government and Politics

Obama and Art History

posted by January 30, 2014

The College Art Association has great respect for President Obama’s initiative to provide all qualified students with an education that can lead to gainful employment. We support all measures that he, Congress, State Legislatures and colleges and universities can do to increase the opportunities for higher education. However, when these measures are made by cutting back on, denigrating or eliminating humanities disciplines such as art history, then America’s future generations will be discouraged from taking advantage of the values, critical and decisive thinking and creative problem solving offered by the humanities. It is worth remembering that many of the nation’s most important innovators, in fields including high technology, business, and even military service, have degrees in the humanities. Humanities graduates play leading roles in corporations, engineering, international relations, government, and many other fields where their skills and creating thinking play a critical role. Let’s not forget that education across a broad spectrum is essential to develop the skills and imagination that will enable future generations to create and take advantage of new jobs and employment opportunities of all sorts.

Read more coverage on this topic:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-art-history-majors-power-the-us-economy/2012/01/06/gIQAUv36hP_blog.html

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/31/obama-becomes-latest-politician-criticize-liberal-arts-discipline

http://chronicle.com/article/No-Laughing-Matter-/144327/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

http://hyperallergic.com/109775/presidents-obama-pens-personal-apology-to-an-art-historian/

Filed under: Government and Politics