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CAA News Today

CAA offers Annual Conference Travel Grants to graduate students in art history and studio art and to international artists and scholars. In addition, the Getty Foundation has funded the fifth year of a program that enables applicants from outside the United States to attend the 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, which takes place February 3–6, 2016. Applicants may apply for more than one grant but can only receive a single award.

CAA-Getty International Program

The CAA-Getty International Program, generously supported by the Getty Foundation, provides funding to fifteen art historians, museum curators, and artists who teach art history to attend the 2016 Annual Conference. The grant covers travel expenses, hotel accommodations for eight nights, per diems, conference registrations, and one-year CAA memberships. Extended deadline: August 26, 2015.

CAA Graduate Student Conference Travel Grant

CAA will award a limited number of $250 Graduate Student Conference Travel Grants to advanced PhD and MFA graduate students as partial reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the 2016 Annual Conference. To qualify for the grant, students must be current CAA members. Successful applicants will also receive a complimentary conference registration. Deadline: September 18, 2015.

CAA International Member Conference Travel Grant

CAA will award a limited number of $500 International Member Conference Travel Grants to artists and scholars from outside the United States as partial reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the 2016 Annual Conference. To qualify for the grant, applicants must be current CAA members. Successful applicants will also receive a complimentary conference registration. Deadline: September 18, 2015.

Donate to the Annual Conference Travel Grants

CAA’s Annual Conference Travel Grants are funded solely by donations from CAA members—please contribute today. Charitable contributions are 100 percent tax deductible. CAA extends a warm thanks to those members who made voluntary contributions to this fund during the past twelve months.

The Getty Foundation has awarded the College Art Association a grant to fund the CAA-Getty International Program for the fifth consecutive year. The Foundation’s support will enable CAA to bring fifteen international visual-arts professionals to the 104th Annual Conference, taking place February 3–6, 2016, in Washington DC. The CAA-Getty International Program provides funds for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, per diems, conference registrations, and one-year CAA memberships to art historians, artists who teach art history, and museum curators. The program will include a one-day preconference colloquium on international issues in art history on February 2, at which participants will present and discuss their common professional interests and issues.

The goals of the International Program are to increase international participation in CAA, to diversify the organization’s membership, and to foster collaborations between American art historians, artists, and curators and their international colleagues. CAA also strives to familiarize international participants with the submission process for conference sessions to encourage ongoing involvement with the association. CAA will provide hosts from its membership to welcome the international participants and introduce them to colleagues in their fields.

Historically, the majority of international registrants to CAA’s Annual Conferences have come from North America, the United Kingdom, and Western European countries. In the first four years of the CAA-Getty International Program, CAA has added seventy-five attendees from Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, Caribbean countries, and South America. As this alumni group grows, so too does international participation in CAA. Former grant recipients have become ambassadors of CAA in their countries, sharing knowledge gained at the Annual Conference with their colleagues and encouraging them to submit applications to the International Program. A number of scholarly collaborations have also ensued among grant recipients and CAA members. The value of attending a CAA Annual Conference as a participant in the CAA-Getty International Program was succinctly summarized by Nazar Kozak, a 2015 participant from Ukraine: “To put it simply, I understood that I can become part of a global scholarly community. I felt like I belong here.”

The deadline for applications has been extended to August 26, 2015. Grant guidelines and the 2016 application can be found here.

Written by Paul B. Jaskot, Nicola Courtright, and Anne Collins Goodyear.

The thirty-fourth World Congress of Art History, organized by the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA), will take place September 15–22, 2016, in Beijing, China. CIHA is a once-every-four-year opportunity to bring the world’s art historians together in what is truly a global exchange of ideas, new approaches, and innovations in all areas of the discipline. As the American affiliate to CIHA, the National Committee of the Historians of Art (NCHA), a group with strong institutional ties to CAA, is happy to encourage any and all interested art historians to get involved. Now is the time to consider applying for one of the twenty-one sections that oversee the creation of specific panels for the upcoming conference. See the NCHA website for more information and for the call for papers.

CIHA traces its roots back to the 1930s, when it was officially founded at the Brussels Congress. The organization has now vastly exceeded its original Euro-American emphasis and currently has national chapters on all the continents. This will be the organization’s first conference in China. In addition to the international gathering held every four years, CIHA also sponsors specific thematic art-history conferences such as the upcoming “New Worlds: Frontiers, Inclusion, Utopias” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 25–29, 2015).

In China, the broad overarching theme is “Terms” in art history. From there, a range of sessions will cover such topics as “Connecting Art Histories and World Art,” “Media and Visuality,” “Display,” and “Commodity and Markets,” to name just a few of the twenty-one different session topics. Each session is cochaired by an international scholar as well as a scholar based in China. All papers will be simultaneously translated into Chinese, English, French, and German. As with the last CIHA in Nuremberg, Germany, it promises to be an exciting event full of international exchange and chances to explore art and architecture in Beijing and beyond. NCHA hopes that CAA will be well represented and encourages all art historians to consider submitting a paper by the June 30, 2015, deadline.

NCHA was founded to foster participation of US scholars in the international committee, its conference, and other programs. As part of this charge, NCHA regularly provides travel support for US graduate students to the CIHA meetings and will do so again for China. In addition to sending young scholars to the quadrennial conference, NCHA, with generous funding from the Getty Foundation, also initiated a reverse exchange when it began to bring international scholars from Africa, Asia, South America, and Central Europe to the CAA Annual Conference to promote international exchange in the United States as well. That initial effort continues to be a regular part of the CAA conference, now coordinated by CAA and its International Committee with participation of NCHA members.

This year, fifteen scholars from around the world attended CAA’s Annual Conference in New York as participants in the CAA-Getty International Program. The temperature in town when everyone arrived on February 8 was a frigid 10 degrees; nonetheless, the international travelers were intrepid, and their warmth and excitement did much to allay the cold weather outside.

Now in its fourth year, the program brings together art historians, artists who teach art history, and museum curators to meet with CAA members in their fields of study, attend conference sessions, and participate in a one-day preconference colloquium on international issues in art history. Funded by a generous grant from the Getty Foundation, this year’s scholars came from Argentina (Georgina Gluzman), Bangladesh (Mokammal H. Bhuiyan), Brazil (Ana Mannarino), Burkina Faso (Boureima Diamitani), China (Shao Yiyang), Croatia (Ljerka Dulibić), Hungary (Márton Orosz and Nóra Veszprémi), India (Savita Kumari), Mexico (Dafne Cruz Porchini), Russia (Andrey Shabanov), South Africa (Nomusa Makhubu and Lize van Robbroeck), Uganda (Angelo Kakande), and Ukraine (Nazar Kozak). For some, it was their first visit to the United States; for all, it was their first time at a CAA Annual Conference.

A highlight of the program was a full-day preconference colloquium about international issues in art history. Each of the fifteen participants gave presentations about their work, relating their specific research interests to one of five broader topics: Questioning the Discourse, Beyond Borders/Beyond Context, Activism and the Political, Cross-Cultural Encounters/Reception, and Exhibiting Cultures in a Global Society. The talks featured a wide range of art and varied approaches to the field. They were followed throughout the day by Q&A sessions and open discussions moderated by Rosemary O’Neill, chair of CAA’s International Committee, and Marc Gotlieb, president of the National Committee for the History of Art. As Nóra Veszprémi, a scholar from Hungary wrote, “The topics were as diverse as the participants themselves, but the questions that lay at the heart of the papers were closely related. Everyone was interested in the ‘internationalization’ of art history, and it was a wonderful experience to be able to discuss these issues with colleagues from all over the world.”

The colloquium included a number of CAA members serving as hosts to the international scholars. This year, many hosts came from select CAA affiliated societies, thereby sharing scholarly interests and providing networking opportunities for the participants. For example, Deepali Dewan, president of the American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA), was paired with Savita Kumari, an Indian art historian specializing in medieval and premodern Indian art, and Elisa Mandell, president of the Association for Latin American Art (ALAA), served as host to Georgina Guzman from Argentina and Dafne Cruz Porchini from Mexico. Other hosts came from the Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture (SHERA), the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA), the Renaissance Society of America (RSA), and the Society of Contemporary Art Historians (SCAH). CAA’s International Committee also supplied hosts, rounding out an excellent group of art historians to welcome and assist the international scholars. CAA is grateful to the National Committee for the History of Art for its financial support of the hosting activities of these CAA members.

The CAA-Getty scholars were busy throughout the conference week, attending sessions, meeting colleagues, and visiting New York museums and galleries. On Thursday the group attended two sessions, sponsored by CAA’s International Committee, that examined the legacy of the landmark exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin in 1989 at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grande Halle at the Parc de la Villette in Paris. Martin, who participated in the sessions and attended Tuesday’s preconference as well, discussed the rationale behind the exhibition, which challenged Western preconceptions about non-Western art by displaying an unprecedented mix of objects—half of the works were by Western artists and the other half by artists from the rest of the world. Martin’s presentation was followed by other talks and, later in the afternoon, a roundtable discussion. In all, the events of this day provided an excellent platform for continuing Tuesday’s discussion about international issues in art history.

As in past years, CAA’s International Committee was centrally involved in planning this year’s international program. We are particularly grateful to Rosemary O’Neill, chair of the committee, for her enthusiastic support. In addition to organizing the sessions on Magiciens de la Terre (with her fellow committee member Gwen Farrelly), O’Neill helped to coordinate the preconference colloquium and even raised outside funds to bring Martin to the conference.

At the close of the week’s activities, program participants met again to learn about publishing art history in the United States and opportunities for residencies at research institutes. Susan Bielstein from the University of Chicago Press, Kirk Ambrose, editor of The Art Bulletin, and Gail Feigenbaum of the Getty Research Institute provided enormously helpful information on these subjects.

The CAA-Getty scholars then had a weekend on their own to explore New York before heading to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, to meet with scholars there and learn about the research opportunities offered by that institution’s Research and Academic Program. The trip was a wonderful opportunity to see a great museum and experience a totally different part of the United States (where it was even colder than New York).

The purpose of the CAA-Getty International Program is to bring a more diverse and global perspective to the study of art history by generating international scholarly exchange. This year’s visitors brought with them a great deal of knowledge, enthusiasm, and curiosity about the field, which they shared with the CAA members they met, as well as with each other. In return, conference attendees offered their expertise and friendship, beginning relationships that will hopefully bear fruit in future projects and collaborations.

Nazar Kozak, an art historian from Ukraine, summarized the experiences of many when he wrote, “To put it simply, I understood that I can become a part of a global scholarly community. I felt like I belong here.”

Images

2015 CAA-Getty International Program participants. Front row, left to right: Savita Kumari, Andrey Shabanov, Nóra Veszprémi, Shao Yiyang, Janet Landay (from CAA), Ana Mannarino, Nomusa Makhubu, and Dafne Cruz Porchini. Back row, left to right: Nazar Kozak, Márton Orosz, Angelo Kakande, Boureima Diamitani, Ljerka Dulibić, Lize van Robbroeck, and Georgina Gluzman. Not pictured: Mokammal H. Bhuiyan (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Nazar Kozak with his host, Margaret Samu (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Ana Mannarino, Dafne Cruz Porchini, and Namusa Makhubu (photograph by Bradley Marks)

CAA President DeWitt Godfrey and Ljerka Dulibic (photograph by Bradley Marks)

CAA has published short biographies for this year’s recipients of travel support through the CAA-Getty International ProgramIn an effort to promote greater interaction and exchange between American and international art historians, CAA will bring scholars from around the world to participate in the 2015 program, held during the association’s Annual Conference in New York City from February 11–14, 2015. This is the fourth year of the program, which has been generously funded by grants from the Getty Foundation since its inception. The participants—professors of art history, curators, and artists who teach art history—were selected by a jury of CAA members from a highly competitive group of applicants. In addition to covering travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and per diems, the CAA-Getty International Program includes support for conference registration and a one-year CAA membership.

Click here to read the biographies of the fifteen participants.

CAA is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of travel support through the CAA-Getty International Program. In an effort to promote greater interaction and exchange between American and international art historians and artists, CAA will bring colleagues from around the world to its Annual Conference, this year to be held in New York City from February 11-14, 2015. This is the fourth year of the program, which has been generously funded by grants from the Getty Foundation since its inception. The participants—professors of art history, curators, and artists who teach art history—were selected by a jury of CAA members from a highly competitive group of applicants. Their names and affiliations are listed below. In addition to covering travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and per diems, the CAA-Getty International Program includes support for conference registration and a one-year CAA membership.

The CAA-Getty International Program participants’ activities begin with a one-day preconference colloquium on international issues in art history, during which they meet with U.S.-based CAA members to discuss common interests and challenges. The participants are assisted throughout the conference by CAA member hosts, who recommend relevant panel sessions and introduce them to specific colleagues who share their interests. Members of CAA’s International Committee have agreed to serve as hosts, along with representatives from several Affiliated Societies of CAA.

CAA hopes that this program will not only increase international participation in the organization’s activities, but will also expand international networking and the exchange of ideas both during and after the conference. The CAA-Getty International Program supplements CAA’s regular program of Annual Conference Travel Grants for graduate students and international artists and scholars. We look forward to welcoming the recipients at the next Annual Conference in New York City.

2015 CAA-Getty International Program Participants

Mokammal Bhuiyan, Professor, Department of Archeology, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh

Dafne Cruz Porchini, Curator, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico

Boureima Diamitani, Executive Director, West African Museums Program, Burkina Faso

Ljerka Dulibic, Senior Research Associate, Curator of Italian Paintings 1400-1900, Strossmayer, Gallery of Old Masters, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Croatia

Georgina Gluzman, Assistant Professor of Argentine Art History, Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina

Angelo Kakande, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Industrial Arts and Applied Design, Makarere University, College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology, Uganda

Nazar Kozak, Senior Researcher, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Department of Art Historical Studies, Ukraine

Savita Kumari, Assistant Professor, National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, India

Nomusa Makhubu, Lecturer, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Ana Mannarino, Adjunct Professor of Art History, Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil

Marton Orosz, Curator, and Director of the Vasarely Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary

Andrey Shabanov, Associate Research Fellow, Lecturer, European University at St. Petersburg, Art History Department, Russia

Shao Yiyang, Professor, Head of Western Art Studies, Central Academy of Fine Arts, China

Lize Van Robbroeck, Associate Professor, Stellenbosch University, Department of Visual Arts, South Africa

Nora Veszpremi, Lecturer, Institute of Art History, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

CAA offers Annual Conference Travel Grants to graduate students in art history and studio art and to international artists and scholars. In addition, the Getty Foundation has funded the third year of a program that enables applicants from outside the United States to attend the 2015 Annual Conference in New York, which takes place February 11–14, 2015. Applicants may apply for more than one grant but can only receive a single award.

CAA-Getty International Program

The CAA-Getty International Program, generously supported by the Getty Foundation, provides funding to fifteen art historians, museum curators, and artists who teach art history to attend the 103rd Annual Conference in New York. The grant covers travel expenses, hotel accommodations for eight nights, per diems, conference registrations, and one-year CAA memberships. The program will include a one-day preconference colloquium on international issues in art history on February 10, at which grant recipients will present and discuss their common professional interests and issues. Deadline: August 18, 2014.

CAA Graduate Student Conference Travel Grant

CAA will award a limited number of $250 Graduate Student Conference Travel Grants to advanced PhD and MFA graduate students as partial reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the 103rd Annual Conference in New York. To qualify for the grant, students must be current CAA members. Successful applicants will also receive complimentary conference registration. Deadline: September 14, 2014.

CAA International Member Conference Travel Grant

CAA will award a limited number of $500 International Member Conference Travel Grants to artists and scholars from outside the United States as partial reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the 103rd Annual Conference in New York. To qualify for the grant, applicants must be current CAA members. Successful applicants will also receive complimentary conference registration. Deadline: September 14, 2014.

Donate to the Annual Conference Travel Grants

CAA’s Annual Conference Travel Grants are funded solely by donations from CAA members—please contribute today. Charitable contributions are 100 percent tax deductible. CAA extends a warm thanks to those members who made voluntary contributions to this fund during the past twelve months.

CAA has received a grant from the Getty Foundation to fund the CAA-Getty International Program for the fourth consecutive year. The Foundation’s support will enable CAA to bring fifteen international visual-arts professionals to the 103rd Annual Conference, taking place February 11–14, 2015, in New York City.

The CAA-Getty International Program provides funds for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, per diems, conference registrations, and one-year CAA memberships to art historians, artists who teach art history, and museum curators. The program will include a one-day preconference colloquium on international issues in art history on February 10, at which grant recipients will present and discuss their common professional interests and issues.

The goal of the International Program is to increase international participation in CAA, to diversify the organization’s membership, and to foster collaborations between American art historians, artists, and curators and their international colleagues. CAA also strives to familiarize international participants with the submission process for conference sessions to encourage ongoing involvement with the association. As they did in previous years, members of CAA’s International Committee have agreed to host the program participants at the 2015 conference in New York City.

Grant guidelines and the 2015 application can be found on the CAA website at www.collegeart.org/CAA-GettyInternationalProgram. Only professionals who have not attended a CAA conference previously, and who are from countries underrepresented in CAA’s membership are eligible to apply. Applicants do not need to be CAA members. This grant program is not open to graduate students or to those participating in the 2015 conference as chairs, speakers, or discussants. The deadline for applications is August 18, 2014.

Historically, the majority of international registrants to CAA’s Annual Conferences have come from North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico), the United Kingdom, and Western European countries. In the first three years of the CAA-Getty International Program, CAA has added sixty attendees from Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, Caribbean countries, and South America. As this alumni group grows, so too does international participation in CAA. Former grant recipients have become ambassadors of CAA in their countries, sharing knowledge gained at the Annual Conference with their colleagues and encouraging them to submit applications to the international travel grant program. A number of scholarly collaborations have also ensued among grant recipients and CAA members.

A 2014 grant recipient from Pakistan, Kanwal Khalid, exemplified the experiences of program participants when she wrote: “CAA 2014 was an event that has changed me. Now I’m more confident about my research and teaching methodology because the comparison was a great way of improving my own system. I’m so very much looking forward to attending the conference next year. After returning to Pakistan, I have been able to communicate to my students about the potential and scope of this organization and encourage them to become members. This will give them an exposure to a world of dedicated art historians, enthusiastic academicians, and talented artists, with opportunities all around for those who have the judgment and ability to take advantage of it.”

About CAA

The College Art Association is dedicated to providing professional services and resources for artists, art historians, and students in the visual arts. CAA serves as an advocate and a resource for individuals and institutions nationally and internationally by offering forums to discuss the latest developments in the visual arts and art history through its Annual Conference, publications, exhibitions, website, and other programs, services, and events. CAA focuses on a wide range of advocacy issues, including education in the arts, freedom of expression, intellectual-property rights, cultural heritage and preservation, workforce topics in universities and museums, and access to networked information technologies. Representing its members’ professional needs since 1911, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism, and teaching.

For information on applying to the CAA-Getty International Program, please contact project director Janet Landay at jlanday@collegeart.org or 212-392-4420.

Kanwal Khalid was a participant in the 2014 CAA-Getty International Travel Grant Program. A professor of fine arts at University of the Punjab in Pakistan, she specializes in the history of South Asian art and design with a particular focus on miniature painting in nineteenth-century Lahore. Khalid is also a practicing miniature painter and former curator of paintings at the Lahore Museum. Below she describes her experiences at the 102nd Annual Conference in Chicago.

Just when you think you have seen it all, something turns up and surprises you with its novelty and magnitude. The College Art Association did just that when I attended its Annual Conference in Chicago last February. For me, it became more than attending a conference; it was the experience of a lifetime that changed many of my perspectives.

In Pakistan, art history has always been part of the academic study of fine arts, but now it has become an independent discipline in its own right. This is a relatively recent development, of which I have been a part, and art history is enjoying a high status for the first time in the history of Pakistan. But still it is a comparatively new field. When I came to the Chicago conference, it was a complete surprise to realize that thousands of people share the same passion. CAA and the Getty Foundation have caught a tiger by the tail that is growing fast and expanding everywhere.

The chill of Chicago and the layers of snow couldn’t mar the fiery passion of the scholars, students, artists, and art historians participating in the conference. Interactive sessions, exhibitions, bookstalls, art-supply booths—this was a completely magic world for me. To breathe in thoughts and objects that are the passion of my life was a real treat.

Another dimension of knowledge was listening to presentations by the other nineteen recipients of CAA’s International Travel Grant Program and realizing what wonderful work was going on in their countries regardless of all the challenges they face on daily basis, very similar to the situation in my own country.

Outside the grandeur of the Hilton Hotel, it was the world of museums and modern architecture. I really liked the friendly size of museums in Chicago, which were not as overwhelming as other institutions I have visited, where there’s always a sense of missing a lot even after seeing so much. In all the museums that I visited in Chicago, I was able to return to many of my favorite galleries more than once during the week.

And then a bad snowstorm hit just as we were departing Chicago for New York. Our destination was the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and I will not be exaggerating if I call it a researcher’s paradise. The library was a dream-come-true. The best part for me was being surrounded by mountains—the Berkshires were an enchanted land containing everything I could desire. Here, we raised questions, made suggestions, and challenged old concepts in a true scholarly approach.

The time passed too quickly, and we were saying goodbye to each other at Penn Station in New York City, with a hope that someday we will meet again. I traveled south to give a lecture in Delaware and then attend a meeting in Washington, DC. My experience at CAA turned out to be a great asset for these events, where I imparted my knowledge of South Asian art and culture with more confidence and vigor, especially during a briefing to the South Asian desk at the US State Department about the contemporary educational and cultural situation of Pakistan.

CAA’s 2014 Annual Conference was a life-changing event. Now I’m more confident about my research and teaching methodology because a comparison with other approaches helped me improve my own ways of doing things. I’m so very much looking forward to attending the conference next year.

After returning to Pakistan, I have talked with my students about the potential and scope of CAA and to encourage them to become members. This will give them an exposure to a world of dedicated art historians, enthusiastic academicians, and talented artists, with endless opportunities for those who have the judgment and ability to take advantage of them.

Image Caption

Kanwal Khalid in Chicago.

Filed under: Annual Conference, International

After last month’s Annual Conference, recipients of CAA’s 2014 International Travel Grants were invited to contribute short articles reflecting on their experiences in Chicago. What follows is a personal reminiscence from Lilianne Lugo, an educator, administrator, and playwright based in Havana, Cuba. Lugo studies the relationship between the history of art and the history of theater, as well as the intersections of contemporary art practice and the performing arts. She is professor and vice dean of research and postgraduate studies at the Universidad de las Artes in Havana, Cuba.

Saudade

The persistence of melancholy. The persistence of the friends I have released to oblivion. The persistence of the memories of other cities, other people that I miss. I walk in an unknown city. I can barely breathe, it’s so cold. My best friend wrote me an email. “What are you doing?” he asks. “I miss you….” But when I wrote him back I can only send him a picture of my foot on the snow … it’s my way of embracing the spirit of life, my way of saying that I am seizing and enjoying the opportunities that suddenly emerge in our lives and change it forever. Just a few moments in life can be counted like that, and this is one of them.

First time in the snow. From the plane I can see the frozen ground. Behind I have left the unbearable heat of Havana and the noise of its streets. First time in Chicago. First time in the United States. First time at CAA’s conference. So many impressions, so many new people. I can write only in first person singular. I can’t speak for the others. I can’t talk about what I haven’t seen before.

For a couple of days the Hilton Chicago is invaded by hordes of art historians, artists, professors, and recruiters. It’s a huge event, and the whole city seems to inhale a whirlwind of art. Exhibitions, talks, panels, and informal gatherings that interrupt the rhythm of daily routines and establish a different understanding of reality. In a world of white ground, how to conjure the fire of masterpieces? How can we understand and explain (if that’s possible) from a warm and carpeted hotel the always ungraspable world of art and art history?

For twenty people each year, the College Art Association and the Getty Foundation make it possible to attend this conference. That means twenty people in the world receive a gift to come to the States and share and learn what we know about the art in our countries with colleagues from all over the US. This time the group is composed of people from Egypt, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, South Africa, Portugal, Poland, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, Estonia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Croatia.

Some images of those days come to my mind: the day of the preconference, in which each of us presented a paper about our research, and the discussion afterward about so many different topics. Art Shay’s exhibition My Florence at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago that we, as a group, visited together. In the library of the college we saw the photographs and the artist himself. It was the story of his life, the little moments he shared with his wife and family, and it was so impressive to see him, with the energy and look that only years can bring. Or the exhibition at the DePaul Art Museum, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, about the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and the environment of that particular area that, in the former days of Communism, was the recreational spot for Joseph Stalin. And then we walked with our graduate-student host to see the Lakeview neighborhood nearby. Or the meetings with so many bright and marvelous people….

Then, when the conference ended, another trip was waiting for us, to the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts. From the plane’s window we could see Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty; at LaGuardia airport we said goodbye to our fellow travel-grant recipient Mahmuda Khnam, who was feeling sick and couldn’t travel to Williamstown. We talked on the drive north and shared our opinions, we talked about everything: Brazilian soap operas, LGBT rights, curatorial practices, communism, incomes, outcomes, food, and snow. Then, a warm welcome at the Clark, a very special place in a beautiful setting where studying takes place in real luxury. Outside it snowed all day long, but inside the Clark was joyful and cozy, as we were received in that sanctuary of knowledge like kings and queens.

Now, in the sun again, I remember with joy the city of Chicago, the museums, the extraordinary collection of the Art Institute, the people of CAA, my fellow grant recipients, and, of course, all that I have learned about not only specific issues related to my research, but also the methodologies and approaches that many colleagues are currently using. I learned, too, about how things work in the professional world of art and art history in the United States.

I began this essay talking about melancholy. It’s the feeling I get when I think about those moments during CAA’s conference. Portuguese had a beautiful word to describe it: saudade. And that would be the best word, because even in Spanish nostalgia or melancolía are not the same. I cherish those moments. While I am thinking about what lies ahead, I am eager to come back and share with my new colleagues the fruits of another year of work.

Image Caption

Lilianne Lugo.

Filed under: Annual Conference, International