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2011 Regional MFA Exhibition at Hunter College

posted by Christopher Howard


Graduate students currently enrolled in MFA programs at twenty schools within one hundred miles of New York will participate in the College Art Association New York Area MFA Exhibition, on view February 9–April 9, 2011, at the spacious Hunter College/Times Square Gallery. Held concurrently with the 99th Annual Conference and Centennial Kickoff in New York, the exhibition marks the seventh time that Hunter College will host this expansive survey exhibition.

An opening reception for the artists, their professors, and CAA conference attendees will take place on Friday evening, February 11, 6:00–9:00 PM. Free and open to the public, the Hunter College/Times Square Gallery is located at 450 West 41st Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues—a short walk or cab ride from the Hilton New York. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 1:00–6:00 PM. CAA is also sponsoring the College Art Association Regional BFA Exhibition, which opens on the same evening at the New York Center for Art and Media Studies (NYCAMS).

RSVP to the exhibition on Facebook.

Participating Schools

Participating institutions are: Bard College, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts; Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus; Montclair State University; New Jersey City University; New York Academy of Art; Parsons the New School for Design; Pratt Institute; Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts; School of Visual Arts; Temple University, Tyler School of Art; University of Connecticut, Storrs; and Yale University, Yale School of Art.

In addition, five art departments in the City University of New York system are participating: Brooklyn College; City College of New York; Hunter College; Herbert H. Lehman College; and Queens College.

Two art departments and one school in the State University of New York system are also sending artists: Purchase College, School of Art and Design; State University of New York, New Paltz; and Stony Brook University.

Hunter College Art Galleries

The Hunter MFA CAA Curatorial Committee comprises three MA students in the art-history program—Sophia Marisa Lucas, Valentina Spalten, and Annie Wischmeyer—and three MFA alumni who are adjunct faculty in the Department of Art: Selena Kimball, Eric Lee, and Nicole Tschampel.

On view at Hunter’s second space, the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, is Objects of Devotion and Desire: Medieval Relic to Contemporary Art, organized by Cynthia Hahn, professor of art history at Hunter, with the assistance of MA and MFA students from Hunter and PhD students from the Graduate Center. The exhibition sets up a dialogue between five medieval reliquaries from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and works by postwar artists such as Christian Boltanski, Hannah Wilke, and Joseph Beuys, and by contemporary practitioners Gayil Nalls, Nate Larson, and Jeffrey Mongrain, among others. Hahn also includes examples of early photography in the mix.

The Leubsdorf Gallery is located in the West Lobby at Hunter College, on the southwest corner of East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue; no admission fee is required. The exhibition dates are January 27–April 30, 2011.




The Executive Committee of the CAA Board of Directors adopted the following statement on December 7, 2010. At the bottom of the page is information about a special session at the upcoming CAA Annual Conference, chaired by Jonathan Katz, a scholar and the cocurator of Hide/Seek.

CAA Statement

The College Art Association regrets the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1987) from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, on display at the National Portrait Gallery. It was taken out on November 30 by G. Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in response to outside pressure. CAA further expresses profound disappointment that the House speaker–designate, John A. Boehner of Ohio, and the incoming majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, have used their positions to question future funding for the Smithsonian Institution.

CAA applauds the National Portrait Gallery for its groundbreaking exhibition, which presents the long-suppressed subject of same-sex orientation. Furthermore, CAA commends the thorough, pioneering scholarship and the challenging curatorial judgment made by the organizers of Hide/Seek—David C. Ward, a historian at the museum, and Jonathan Katz, director of the Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. That the work of everyone involved has been heedlessly compromised is deeply troubling. The pressure brought to bear on the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian sounds a familiar note from 1989, when direct federal funding to artists was ended due to political pressure. Then as now, CAA strongly protests such tactics.

Government has a long tradition of supporting universities, museums, and libraries—institutions that have produced research that expresses a variety of positions on all subjects. Freedom of expression is one of the great strengths of American democracy and one that our country holds up as a model for emerging democracies elsewhere. Americans understand that ideas expressed in books and artworks are those of their makers, not of the institutions that house them, and certainly do not represent public policy.

CAA urges all members to let your senators and representatives know of your support for the exhibition, its curators, and the National Portrait Gallery. You may also use advocacy tools provided by the National Humanities Alliance or Americans for the Arts.

Special Conference Session

This week CAA invited Jonathan Katz, cocurator of Hide/Seek, to chair a special Centennial session at the 2011 Annual Conference in New York. He will present “Against Acknowledgement: Sexuality and the Instrumentalization of Knowledge” on Wednesday, February 9, 2011, 9:30 AM–NOON in the Rendezvous Trianon Room at the Hilton New York. Please check the conference website soon for a list of panelists, their institutional affiliations, and topics of discussion.




In the past week, numerous art and museum associations, advocacy groups, nonprofit and commercial galleries, art critics, and newspapers have spoken out against the removal of an artwork by David Wojnarowicz that was on view in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. CAA is compiling a list of organizations, companies, and people who have published official statements, editorials, and letters to the editor.

Organizations

Critics, Journalists, Scholars, and Curators

Museums and Galleries

Press and Publishing

Social Networking and Web Resources

The above list will be cumulative. If you would like to send CAA a link to an official or organizational statement, please write to Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor.




Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts produces a curated list, called CWA Picks, of recommended exhibitions and events related to feminist art and scholarship from North America and around the world.

The CWA Picks for September 2010 include “Heritage and Hope,” an international symposium on women in higher education, with a focus on the global, to be held at Bryn Mawr College from September 23 to 25. Four special exhibitions on view this month—featuring women Pop artists, the photographer Catherine Opie, female artists from the Hudson River School, and women’s contributions to Fluxus—round out the selections for this month.

Check out past CWA Picks archived at the bottom of the page, as exhibitions highlighted in previous months are often still on view.



Rose Art Museum to Lease Works from Its Collection

posted by Christopher Howard


The latest development at Brandeis University, which early last year decided to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its prized collection of modern art, is to lease works from its collections through a partnership with the auction house Sotheby’s. Selling works from the museum to alleviate the school’s recession-shattered endowment, critics say, is not off the table. The Rose collection ranges from classics by Willem de Kooning and Robert Rauschenberg to more recent works by Dana Schutz, whose first museum exhibition was held at the Rose in 2006.

“The talks between Sotheby’s and Brandeis started a year ago,” writes Ellen Howards of the Boston Herald, but school officials cannot “predict which institutions might lease the art, which works could be made available or what sum a leasing deal would generate.”

A Boston Globe editorial proclaims that “Brandeis should only lend to institutions capable of caring for its artworks. And it should use any revenues to guarantee a future for the Rose.” In a bold statement, the paper also suggests that the university “deserves praise, not criticism, for trying to raise revenue through its collection.”

Geoff Edgars, also of the Boston Globe, offers recent precedents for the Rose’s controversial move: the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta have all rented artworks to other museums and institutions.

In addition, last week Brandeis announced the hiring of a new president, Frederick M. Lawrence, dean of George Washington University Law School. He will fill the position to be vacated by Jehuda Reinharz, who was responsible for the ill-fated idea to close the museum and sell its art, in January 2011.



Academic Museum and Gallery Organization Changes Its Name

posted by Christopher Howard


The Association of College and University Museums and Galleries (ACUMG), a CAA affiliated society, has changed its name to the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG). The organization has also strengthened its mission to better reflect its role as the leading educational and professional organization for museums and galleries affiliated with academic institutions.

The formal name change, which more closely links AAMG to its affiliate organization, the American Association of Museums (AAM), took place at AAMG’s annual business meeting in Los Angeles on May 24, 2010. At the same meeting AAMG revised its by-laws and invigorated its mission as a resource for college and university museums of all disciplines, including art, history, anthropology, natural history, and science.

Organized in 1980, the association has a growing membership of more than four hundred of the nation’s estimated 1,150 academic museums and galleries. AAMG addresses such issues as governance, ethics, collections management, educational outreach, exhibitions, strategic planning, and financial management. Along with CAA, it has been in the forefront of the movement to safeguard college and university collections, advocating against the sale of donated artworks and the closure of art museums by institutions of higher education.

AAMG sponsors national conferences at prominent academic museums in conjunction with annual AAM meetings. Its May 22 conference took place at the Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles.




The Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Museums (AAM) approved revisions to its 2005 policy “Statements of Support from Parent Organizations” at its March 2010 meeting.

Why Did It Change?

The impetus was a request from a task force formed in 2009, which included Linda Downs, CAA executive director, to focus on the issue of protecting academic collections. The Task Force on University and College Museums, of which AAM is a member, was organized in response to the disturbing trend of selling collections from academic museums as a short-sighted response to the current economic downturn (e.g., the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, the Maier Museum at Randolph College, and the Fisk University Galleries). Of course, the threat of a parent organization treating collections as disposable assets, or the undervaluing of the museum and its collections as essential intellectual and educational resources, is not limited to college and university museums.

The purpose of the policy since it debuted in 2005 is to give the Accreditation Commission some assurance of the sustainability and longevity of an institution that is not autonomous. Museums, in turn, have found that the commission’s policy—and the conversations that surround the need to secure the appropriate documentation—helps strengthen their presence and articulate their essential role within their parent organization. The policy also serves as an opportunity to educate the parent organization’s leadership about museum standards and ethics. The expanded language in the document will support museums in this regard as well as offer to them greater protection from threats to their tangible and intangible assets held in the public trust.

What Changed?

To whom the policy applies (see below) and the basic requirement of evidence of support did not change. The Accreditation Commission added new language to the policy emphasizing:

  • the role, value, and use of collections
  • ethics and standards regarding collections
  • specific language that stresses that a museum’s collections should not be considered as disposable assets by a parent organization

When you access the policy online, you will see the new language indicated in red.

Is My Museum Affected?

The policy may not apply to your museum, but it is important for you to know about the nature of the changes.

The policy applies to your museum if it operates within a larger parent organization, such as: college or university; tribal, municipal, state, or federal government; state historical society supervising multiple sites; corporate foundation, etc. A museum that has a parent organization relies on that parent for some or all of its human, physical, and/or financial resources. Approximately 37 percent of all accredited museums operate within a parent organization. Over 40 percent of this subgroup is part of a college or university.

Questions

If you have any questions or comments about the new policy and how it affects your museum, please contact the Accreditation Program staff.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Styles
Director, Illinois State Museum and Accreditation Commission Chair

William Eiland
Director, Georgia Museum of Art, Accreditation Commissioner, and Member of the Task Force on University and College Museums

Julie Hart
Senior Director of Museum Standards and Excellence, American Association of Museums

May 17 Update: Lee Rosenbaum reported on the “Statements of Support from Parent Organizations” in her ArtsJournal blog, Culturegrrl.



Help Prevent Budget Cuts to the NEA, NEH, and IMLS

posted by Christopher Howard


Our three federal cultural agencies—the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—are in danger of underfunding for fiscal year 2011.

As the economic downturn places increasing pressure on arts and educational institutions throughout the country, now is the time to increase, not diminish, federal investment in the arts and humanities through the NEA, NEH, and IMLS. Read on to find out how you can help.

Ask Your Senator to Commit to Increasing NEH Funding

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) is circulating a “Dear Colleague Letter” in support of increased funding for the NEH. The letter asks for $232.5 million for the endowment, a $65 million increase above what it received last year, and $71.2 million more that what President Barack Obama has requested for fiscal year 2011.

The deadline for senators to sign onto this letter has been extended to Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Please write your senators today, using online advocacy tools from the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), and ask them to demonstrate their support for the humanities by adding their signature to this letter. You can also contact your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

The sign-on letter, addressed to Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HA) and Vice Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS), and to Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), is available on the NHA website.

Support a Budget Increase for the NEA

President Obama suggested a decrease of $6.4 million for the NEA when he proposed his 2011 federal budget. Rather than allocate $161.3 million to the NEA, CAA urges you to contact your legislators to request $180 million for the agency for the next fiscal year.

Since the 1960s, the NEA has assisted artists and organizations in the visual arts, dance, design, music, opera, theater, and more. It has also supported crucial CAA programs, including a $20,000 grant to fund ARTspace at the 2010 Annual Conference in Chicago, and a stimulus grant of $50,000 to save a key staff position.

Help the IMLS Continue Giving Grants to Museums and Libraries

A federal agency that supports all kinds of museums and libraries nationwide, the IMLS received $282.2 million in fiscal year 2010, but now faces a $16.7 million drop in funding. The IMLS’s Office of Museum Services is currently funded at $35.2 million, and the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) have joined the NHA to advocate $50 million for the office. Download the AAM issue brief or visit the NHA website to read more about IMLS funding.




The Center for Curatorial Leadership is conducting a research project that seeks basic information on the educational and career choices made by art historians working in the United States who enter the museum and academic professions.

While sometimes regarded as “the two art histories,” museum and academic careers share a common starting point in college and graduate studies. In order to understand how the Center for Curatorial Leadership might mentor young art historians and form bonds between disciplines more effectively, it has assembled a brief survey. Comments and any suggestions are welcome as well.

The survey should take approximately ten minutes to complete. Deadline: Monday, April 19, 2010.




In response to Museums Advocacy Day, held on March 22–23, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter to encourage her fellow senators to ask the Senate Appropriations Committee for $50 million in funding for the Office of Museum Services, a branch of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The amount requested for fiscal year 2011 is a $14.8 million increase over the current fiscal year. Gillibrand’s letter is similar to a separate effort in the House of Representatives, supported by Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).

The American Association of Museums (AAM) has prepared a form letter that you may use to send an urgent message to your senators. Use the online fields to enter your contact information, which will then select your senator’s name and address. You can then download (as an .rtf) and print the letter to mail or fax, or choose the email option to send your letter right away. You can edit and personalize your missive before sending.




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