College Art Association

CAA News Today

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Artist Sam Durant Was Pressured into Taking Down His Scaffold. Why Doesn’t He Feel Censored?

Sam Durant’s sculpture Scaffold had been exhibited in Europe three times, but upon landing in Minneapolis for the reopening of the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden, it sparked a media firestorm. Native American activists said it trivialized one of the ghastliest episodes in Dakota indigenous history. (Read more from the Los Angeles Times.)

NCAC Statement Criticizing Decision to Destroy Controversial Sculpture

As a coalition of national and international organizations devoted to promoting creative freedom, we strongly oppose the Walker Art Center’s decision to dismantle and destroy a controversial public sculpture. Scaffold, a 2012 work by Sam Durant, was intended to comment on capital punishment and its disproportionate effect on people of color. (Read more from the National Coalition against Censorship.)

Classicist Receives Death Threats from Alt-Right over Art-Historical Essay

Sarah E. Bond, a historian of Rome and an assistant professor in the Classics Department at the University of Iowa, has received death threats and is being targeted by the alt-right for publishing an article on polychromy in the ancient world. “They viewed the piece as ‘liberal professor says that all white statues are racist,’” Bond said. “And that is clearly not what the piece is about.” (Read more from Artforum.) 

Threats for What She Didn’t Say

Scholars vary in how and to what extent they engage with the public. Sarah Bond from the University of Iowa works at the high end of the engagement spectrum, via a blog, social media, and a column in Forbes. She’s described her efforts as a way of making antiquities accessible to all, but recent threats she’s received demonstrate the potential perils of that outreach. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.) 

As the 1 Percent Washes Their Money through Arts Funding, Artists Respond

At the 2017 Whitney Biennial, visitors were greeted by a not usually seen in museums: “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today [are] contemporary art [… and] apartments in Manhattan.” The words, from Larry Fink, a member of President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum and the CEO of BlackRock, were written over a craggy graph carved into the wall that tracked the rising value of the debt levels owned by the firm. (Read more from Salon.)

How Artists, Scientists, and Entrepreneurs Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

It takes imagination to be creative, and it takes creativity to innovate. Pentagram’s legendary graphic designer Paula Scher gets her best ideas when she is in boring situations: “I realize that when I’m sitting in a taxicab in traffic, or on my way to the airport, or waiting to get on a plane, or trapped in some other boring situation, that’s when I get the best ideas, because I’ve got nothing else interfering with it….” (Read more from Inc.)

The Ten Essays That Changed Art Criticism Forever

There has never been a time when art critics held more power than during the second half of the twentieth century. As part of the larger midcentury “culture wars,” art critics began to take on greater influence than before. For a time, two writers in particular—who began as friends and remained in the same social circles for much of their lives—set the stakes of the debates surrounding the maturation of American art that would continue for decades. (Read more from Artspace Magazine.)

How A $165 Million Painting Is Funding Criminal Justice Reform

Agnes Gund recently sold a $165 million painting to benefit social justice and is challenging others in the art world to follow suit. Proceeds from the sale of Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 Masterpiece, which once hung over her mantel, will go toward the new Art for Justice Fund, an initiative designed to support criminal justice reform at state and local levels throughout the country, primarily through the sale of art. (Read more from the Huffington Post.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Cultural Appropriation: A Roundtable 

In a roundtable, the artists Salome Asega, Ajay Kurian, and Jacolby Satterwhite; scholars Homi K. Bhabha and Joan Kee; Artforum editor Michelle Kuo; and writer, artist, and activist Gregg Bordowitz examine the urgent and omnipresent politics of representation, appropriation, and power. (Read more from Artforum.)

Andrea Fraser Tracks Down Museum Trustees’ Political Donations

The artist Andrea Fraser is mapping the connections between major American museums and the political elite to expose institutions’ ties to the White House. Using publicly available information, she is documenting all political donations made in 2016 by museum patrons and trustees, many of whom contributed to Donald Trump’s election campaign. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America

There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility. (Read more from Signs of the Times.)

If Google Teaches an AI to Draw, Will That Help It Think?

The point of SketchRNN is not only to learn how to draw pictures, but to “generalize abstract concepts in a manner similar to humans.” They don’t want to create a machine that can sketch pigs. They want to create a machine that can recognize and output “pigness.” (Read more from the Atlantic.)

The Unseen Labor of Mentoring

It’s extremely flattering that students recommend me to peers who need extra support. However, it can also be frustrating to continuously manage unscheduled drop-ins when I’m trying to grade papers, prep for class, respond to emails, write letters of recommendations, and prepare for meetings. (Read more from Vitae.)

Law and Order 

Plagiarism, cheating, tampering, and submitting false records all threaten the integrity of your class and diminish other students’ honest work and effort. Given that misconduct is both disturbingly pervasive and potentially ruinous, how should teaching assistants proceed if they are concerned a student may be running afoul of the rules? (Read more from GradHacker.)

Drinking and Conferencing

At the International Congress on Medieval Studies, as at most academic gatherings, socializing typically unfolds in the presence of alcohol: at the daily wine hour, at large dinners with plentiful cocktails, at champagne celebrations of prizes awarded or careers coming to a close, at casual meetings with friends anytime between sessions when we can gather for a drink. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

How Are Funders Boosting Engagement across Diverse Communities?

We occasionally stumble across a news item that compels us to step back and take stock of the larger arts philanthropy landscape. Such is the case with news from New York City, where an impressive cadre of funders joined forces earlier this spring to engage diverse audiences. (Read more from Inside Philanthropy.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Dear Art School Grads, Do What You Love—but Never for Free

Even if your dream job is to do something creative full-time, you’ll have to get used to the business side of whatever you do. That means shaking habits you might’ve learned in college to produce great work, or ditching assumptions that led you to take that unpaid internship. Above all else, it means always charging what you’re worth—starting now, no exceptions. (Read more from Fast Company.)

Should Artists Have to Talk about Their Work?

An artist’s ability to give a Big Talk has been part of the job for years. There are many ways an artist can shape this talk—this overview of his or her work—or willfully avoid shaping it. But when did we decide that artists have to be able to talk about their work in order to justify the work’s value, or its existence? (Read more from Glasstire.)

Jerry Saltz’s Life as a Failed Artist

It pains me to say it, but I am a failed artist. “Pains me” because nothing in my life has given me the boundless psychic bliss of making art for tens of hours at a stretch for a decade in my twenties and thirties, doing it every day and always thinking about it, looking for a voice to fit my own time, imagining scenarios of success and failure. (Read more from Vulture.)

World’s First Graphene Paint Launches in the UK

The miracle material graphene—considered the strongest substance known to science—has been used to make ecofriendly paint by the manufacturer Graphenstone. The paint is made from a pure lime base that has been combined with graphene—a recently engineered material hailed as the thinnest, strongest, and most conductive ever developed. (Read more from De Zeen.)

Is LA’s Art Scene Growing Too Quickly?

For years, Los Angeles seemed perpetually about to come into its own, always a soon-to-arrive international art city. Now that international attention and infrastructural shifts suggest it has arrived, the question becomes how to save some of the freedom that LA’s always-emerging state previously allowed it. (Read more from Apollo.)

Structures of Power and the Ethical Limits of Speech

Broad constitutional protections mean that, when it comes to artistic expression, direct government censorship is limited and declining. In contrast, private constraints on expression are on the rise: they range from the limits set by social-media platforms and self-censorship resulting from market demands to programmatic decisions made in response to political pressure from ad hoc groups. (Read more from Truthdig.)

Theory from the Ruins

The polemical theories of the Frankfurt School remain indispensable in the present age, when the dilemmas and malaises once specific to Western societies have expanded to encompass the whole globe. As a new era of irrationalism dawns on humankind, with corruption and mendacity becoming an openly avowed modus operandi for all shades of government, the Frankfurt analysis urges itself upon us once more. (Read more from Aeon.)

Tread Carefully with the Socratic Method

Many of us use some version of the Socratic method in our classrooms to stimulate critical thinking. What if a student takes offense to something we said—perhaps while we were playing devil’s advocate—and accuses us of some form of discrimination? On today’s hypersensitized campuses, that has become a very real possibility. (Read more from Vitae.)

Why Are Americans So Hostile to State-Funded Art?

Before the establishment of the NEA, arts and culture support remained the project of urban elites, business communities, and institutional philanthropy. When the government eventually intervened, it supported artists through passive systems like tax exemptions for cultural organizations and for donations by wealthy patrons. (Read more from the New Republic.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

How a $25,000 NEA Grant Became a Springboard for Change in a Rural Minnesota Community

A grant of $25,000 is not even a drop in the bucket of the US federal government’s spending, but it effected visible change in Fergus Falls, a small rural community in Minnesota with a population of 13,000, which received that dollar amount from an NEA grant in 2011. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Is It Time for an Arts Think Tank Yet?

Two or three organizations have taken up studies, research, and positions on arts and culture topics, but these have been isolated, occasional forays. There is no think tank that has as its principal charge the arts, humanities, creativity, culture, heritage, and other facets and divisions of the wider field of culture and creativity. (Read more from Barry’s Blog.)

After Protests from Native American Community, Walker Art Center Will Remove Public Sculpture

Less than a week before the Walker Art Center was scheduled to open its newly renovated sculpture garden, it announced that one of the major new works added to the park will be removed. The sculpture in question, Scaffold (2012) by the Los Angeles–based artist Sam Durant, is a giant structure made of steel and wood. (Read more from Hyperallergic.)

Discovered in a Lab, a New Superblue Has Been Unleashed upon the World as a Crayola Crayon

When the chemist Mas Subramanian accidentally discovered the brilliantly bright YInMn blue at Oregon State University in 2009, he had no idea the bold shade would one day be embraced by doodling schoolchildren everywhere. Now, the first new blue pigment discovered in two hundred years is poised to become part of your kid’s next Crayola crayon box set. (Read more from Artnet News.)

These Eight Zines by People of Color Show Why the Medium Has Remained Relevant

There has been a resurgence of print in the age of expeditious digital consumption. The popularity of zines today, however, should not be chocked up to nostalgia alone. Rather, the printed medium has long been a tool for political and social engagement among artists and writers of color. (Read more from Artsy.)

The Dissertation-to-Book Transition

Which aspects of a dissertation are most commonly tossed out when presented in book format? For instance, while most of my dissertation is written as a book, I reserved an entire chapter for methodology. I assume that section will be significantly condensed—if not scrapped altogether —as a book manuscript? (Read more from Vitae.)

Is Criticism Dead Yet? Does Anyone Care?

Remember not so long ago when the crisis of criticism was on everyone’s tongue? It was only a couple of years ago, but it seems like a lifetime. Panels were convened, postmortems performed. The consensus, as far as there was one, was that the internet killed criticism. (Read more from Glasstire.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Modern African Art Is Being Gentrified

I am tempted to think of contemporary African art as akin to an urban neighborhood undergoing gentrification. Now that it is high culture, investors are jostling to get a piece of the action, and private collections are growing in Africa and around the world. This is very good news for the African modernists who will benefit from the increased visibility. (Read more from the New York Times.)

The States Where Campus Free-Speech Bills Are Being Born

Last week Tennessee’s governor signed into law a measure that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education called “the most comprehensive state legislation protecting free speech on college campuses that we’ve seen passed anywhere in the country.” That new law, among other things, bars public colleges from establishing “free-speech zones” and requires them to adopt broad statements of support for free expression. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Agnes Gund on Diversity in the Art World and the Future of MoMA

In addition to helping museums like MoMA and the Met keep their doors open, Agnes Gund has also been devoted to increasing the diversity of the people who walk through those doors, by funding avenues for art education that reach beyond the halls of private schools to less privileged students who don’t have the same elite cultural access. (Read more from Artnet News.)

Why Can’t the Art World Embrace Robert Rauschenberg’s Queer Community?

Like Merce Cunningham and John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg found beauty in everyday objects. Through close observation, the quotidian could bloom into something either sublime or subversive. This is a tenet of queer art, the ability to transform normativity into the unexpected. (Read more from Artsy.)

On Not Writing a Book Right Now

I recently stumbled across a 2016 Paris Review essay about Robert Caro that notes, “If there is a question that annoys Caro more than ‘Do you like Lyndon Johnson?’ it is ‘When will the next book be published?’” I understand. No question makes me cringe more than “What are you working on next?” (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Writing a Book Pre-Tenure

I wrote a book before I earned tenure—a feat, given the heavy teaching and service load at my institution. Because my situation is different from most tenure-track faculty, talking about my book’s journey isn’t useful for other academics. Instead, I want to share the most important things I learned when writing my first book pre-tenure. (Read more from Vitae.)

“What Are the Arts and Sciences?”

Dan Rockmore asks a seemingly simple question in the title of collection he has just edited, What Are the Arts and Sciences? A Guide for the Curious. But the book is about disciplines, and not just the arts and sciences as a group. Twenty-six of his colleagues at Dartmouth College wrote chapters, explaining their disciplines for the nonexpert. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

U Can’t Talk 2 Ur Professor Like This

After one too many students called me by my first name and sent me email that resembled a drunken late-night Facebook post, I took a very fogeyish step. I began attaching a page on etiquette to every syllabus: basic rules for how to address teachers and write polite, grammatically correct emails. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Damien Hirst Show Sparks Accusations of Cultural Appropriation

Damien Hirst launched his first major show of new works in ten years earlier this month in Venice, shortly ahead of the opening of the Venice Biennale. But along with massive crowds, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable is attracting charges of cultural appropriation, with one of Hirst’s sculptures replicating a Nigerian work from the fourteenth century without proper historical context. (Read more from Artsy.) 

Cultural Appropriation and the Privilege of Creative Assumption

When the Canadian writer W. P. Kinsella died last year at age 81, many laudatory obituaries politely noted that he had been the subject of controversy involving cultural appropriation in the 1980s. Critics, both white and Indigenous, had objected vociferously to Kinsella’s “Indian” stories, in which the writer used a first-person narrator to tell funny tales of reserve life that included bumbling white bureaucrats and native tricksters. (Read more from the Globe and Mail.)

Words Fly on Free-Speech Bill

Numerous states are considering legislation designed to ensure free speech on college campuses, following violent protests over speakers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Middlebury College. Some of the bills would, controversially, mandate punishing students who disrupt campus speakers and require institutions to keep mum on political issues—and perhaps nowhere has the debate been as contentious as in Wisconsin. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Student Rights and the Role of Faculty

Despite the few reasonable similarities between students and customers, it’s still a hair-raising comparison for most faculty. I wonder if we might look at the issue more constructively by considering it from the vantage of student rights. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)

For Robert Rauschenberg, No Artist Is an Island

We tend to think of artists as natural loners, off in their studios, wrestling with their inner selves. But Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, which opens soon at the Museum of Modern Art, points us in a different direction. It situates Rauschenberg’s work amid that of two dozen fellow artists who provided an audience for one another in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s. (Read more from the New York Times.)

The Arts Brand

“Branding” is a somewhat confusing topic. Briefly, our “brand” is the public’s awareness and perception of our organizations and the goods and services we offer. It is the sum of their perceptions and experiences and is created by all the various parts of our organizations. (Read more from Barry’s Blog.)

Demystifying the Journal Article

One of the most important parts of professionalization is publishing your research. Much of what I’ve learned about publishing comes from submitting papers to journals, incorporating reviewer comments, workshopping papers, and having conversations with colleagues and mentors. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Artists’ Commissions, Tech Gift, and Guns: The Legal Issues Facing US Museums

What’s keeping museum lawyers up at night? The new future. That was the message at the annual meeting of over two hundred museum professionals and lawyers in Dallas. They discussed how to stay out of trouble when commissioning installation and performance art, how to prepare for changes to US tax law, and how best to collaborate with technology companies. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

In Higher Ed, Adjuncts May Have Most to Lose if Obamacare Is Repealed

Perhaps no group working on college campuses had more at stake in last week’s vote in the US House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act than contingent faculty members. Full-time faculty and staff members can typically count on their institutions to provide health insurance, but most part-time professors are on their own. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Defying Trump, Bipartisan Deal Would Boost Funding for NEA and NEH (with Strings Attached)

Far from slashing or even zeroing the budgets for the NEA and NEH, a bipartisan budget agreement to avoid a government shutdown—which, at this writing, awaits final passage and President Trump’s signature—includes moderate increases culture-related institutions and programs. (Read more from CultureGrrl.)

The NEA Really Isn’t “Welfare for Rich, Liberal Élites”

Killing the NEA has long been a cause célèbre for budget hawks and social conservatives. But contrary to claims from Trump and Fox News, and to the insecurities of artists, the NEA is not a federal spigot for decadent city élites. Rather, its grant-making effectively spans the country and helps rural, not–New York, not-wealthy, Trump-friendly districts. (Read more from the New Yorker.)

Beyond Aesthetic: Art That Wills Change 

Last weekend, seven artists from around the world gathered in the Logan Center for the Arts to address a weighty question: “What Is an Artistic Practice of Human Rights?” Through a multiday summit that explored issues such as US criminal policies, the refugee crisis, and the hypocrisy of governments, the artists not only formed a community among themselves, but constructed a discourse with the audience. (Read more from the Chicago Maroon.)

Help Desk: The Penis Award

I am a midcareer (female) artist married to an established (male) artist. Throughout our relationship, I have endured innumerable comments and actions that validate my husband and cast me into the shadows. The sexism of the art world astounds me, but I’m not sure what I can do. (Read more from Daily Serving.)

Ten Art Schools That Promise a Healthy Return on Investment

A career in the arts is not generally thought of as a pathway to a great salary, job security and financial fortune. But where you go to school to get your degree can have an impact. With that in mind, Forbes examined a recent report from PayScale.com, a salary, benefits, and compensation information company based in Seattle. (Read more from Forbes.)

A Fair-Use Primer for Graduate Students

When I try to imagine what a Campbell’s Soup can looks like, I am not sure if what I see is the actual object or one of Andy Warhol’s famous works. These iconic cans, regardless of their importance to modern art and American history, are a tangle of popular culture, artistic expression, and copyright litigation, all of which knot around the concept of fair use. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Arts Groups on Edge as New York City Reevaluates Cultural Funding

 The elite, marble-arched museums of Manhattan never had to worry about competing for city money with the small-fry arts groups of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. But this two-tiered system of haves and have-nots is poised to undergo its biggest transformation in decades. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Top Twenty Most Vibrant Arts Communities in America

Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research has announced its third annual Arts Vibrancy Index, which ranks more than nine hundred communities across the country, examining the level of supply, demand, and government support for the arts in each city. (Read more from the National Center for Arts Research.)

What Other States Can Learn from Rhode Island’s Arts Incentives

While Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the country, it has become a powerhouse for attracting artists and art lovers to its shores. And the method by which state leaders have leveraged Rhode Island’s tax code to benefit the creative community could serve as a model for other states looking to cultivate a stronger arts economy. (Read more from Charleston City Paper.)

US Students Are Struggling in the Arts. Donald Trump’s Budget Would Make the Problem Worse

American teenagers are not excelling in the arts, and President Trump’s proposed budget cuts will likely make matters worse, experts say. The most recent results of a wide-ranging national educational assessment known as the Nation’s Report Card left significant room for improvement in the visual arts and music, the National Center for Education Statistics reported last week. (Read more from the Huffington Post.)

Want Happier Professors? Try Being Nice

When it comes to keeping tenured professors content in their jobs, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with big faculty-focused strategic initiatives. A new study has found that their organizational commitment hinged far more on whether they believed they worked in a caring, supportive environment than on their sense that administrators had undertaken broad efforts to support the faculty. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Frieze New York Gets Reframed for the Post-Truth Era

Reflecting director Victoria Siddall’s aim that Frieze, true to its editorial roots, should be “a place where art is made, discussed, and debated,” there will be protest in the air when the fair unfurls its serpentine white tent for its sixth edition in New York. Some galleries are using Frieze as a platform to respond to current events. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Wait—What Was That? History’s Bygone Art Movements

“Fame,” according to art critic Henry McBride, “is a most uncertain garment.” The same is true of art movements and labels. Some—Abstract Expressionism, for instance—are familiar to the average museumgoer. However, others that were at one time in the vanguard have slipped into the shadows and are now the province of art historians and other specialists. (Read more from ARTnews.)

Was Robert Rauschenberg the Con Man of Art? 

There’s a volubility about Rauschenberg’s visual imagination that is irreconcilable with the discipline art demands. However monumental or panoramic a work of art may be, there must always be some acknowledgment of the limits of the artist’s vision. There was something of the outrageousness of a Ponzi scheme in the way Rauschenberg took this or that avant-garde idea and inflated it—over and over again. (Read more from the New York Review of Books.)

How Big Is the Online Art Market?

Despite a relative slowdown in the global art market, the online art market grew by 15 percent, to $3.75 billion, last year, according to Robert Read, head of art and private clients for Hiscox. The online art market’s share of the total art market also grew last year, from 7.4 percent in 2015 to 8.4 percent. While that may seem small, it is roughly equivalent to ecommerce sales’ share of the total retail market, which reached 8.3 percent last year, according to the US census. (Read more from Artnet News.)

Filed under: CAA News

CWA Picks for May 2017

posted by May 01, 2017

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events should not be missed. 

Louise Lawler: A Movie Will Be Shown Without a Picture
Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53 Street, New York, NY
May 2 and 10, 2017

Marquee for A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture, Aero Theatre, Santa Monica, California, December 7, 1979 (photograph by Louise Lawler)

An appropriately deadpan announcement, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for Louise Lawler’s cinematic event A Movie Will Be Shown Without A Picture (1979), reproduced the work’s title on a flat black card. Indeed, this is what viewers to the Aeron Theater in Santa Monica would have encountered on the night of Lawler’s event: a film shown without its flickering image. We might understand Lawler’s gesture as a riposte to Laura Mulvey’s influential text “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” published five years before in the British film journal Screen. The filmic performance deprives audiences of the picture of the chosen film (the film changes with each iteration), instead asking them to rely on sound and soundtrack. Thus viewers are left to imagine and project their own fantasies (if they haven’t seen the film) or cobble together their memories of the film (if they have). As an arm of the programming for Louise Lawler’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, A Movie Will Be Shown Without a Picture will be screened two times.

Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter
Project Row Houses
2521 Holman St., Houston, TX
March 25–June 4, 2017

Usually the curatorial and programming staff at Project Row Houses determine a theme and invite a series of artists to make installations and public programming inside the block of row houses in Houston’s Third Ward. This time Public Art Director Ryan Dennis and artist Simone Leigh cocurated the round to be exclusively for Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter, a collective group that Leigh founded during her residency at the New Museum last year, and which now has chapters in London, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Performances, installations, platforms for dialogue and activation—these are the things that tie Project Row Houses and Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter together. What began with an incubation period to get Houston’s chapter of BWA for BLM started, and was inaugurated with a processional performance, is now a full-tilt community platform for building generative ideas and actions for entering into the movement. As if to sum up the sentiments of the current round, one of the row houses is emblazoned with a supergraphic of the following sentiment: “YOU’VE GOTTA LOVE US OR LEAVE US ALONE.” 

Katharina Fritsch: Multiples
Walker Art Museum
725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 11–October 15, 2017

Katharina Fritsch’s sculpture, which seeks to defamiliarize the familiar and query the boundaries between the natural and the symbolic, will be on view at the Walker Art Museum for the next several months. Animals, religious figurines, body parts, and other objects drawn from the history and fairy tales of her native Germany take one new meanings when color, scale, and materials of everyday objects are altered. The show will include some forty objects, ranging from her early work as a student to her more recent pieces, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection. Katharina Fritsch: Multiples is a companion exhibition to the installation of her monumental, ultramarine blue Hahn/Cock in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in June. Described by the artist as “a feminist sculpture,” this work was first displayed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in the summer of 2013.

Musée Camille Claudel
Musée Camille Claudel
10, rue Gustave Flaubert, 10 400 Nogent-sur-Seine, France
Opened March 26, 2017

At long last, the beloved nineteenth-century French sculptor and feminist art icon Camille Claudel is receiving her due with a museum devoted to her work. Located in the small town of Nogent-sur-Seine, the Musée Camille Claudel is built around the family home where she spent her early adolescence. After a temporary exhibition of her work in 2003 brought over forty thousand visitors to Nogent-sur-Seine (pop. 6,000), it was determined that a museum dedicated to its most famous resident was in order. The Musée Camille Claudel now houses the world’s largest collection of the sculptor’s work. Visitors, who will be gratified to see such well-known pieces as The Waltz and The Gossips, will also be able to discover similarly remarkable works such as Abandon and Fortune. It takes under an hour by train to reach Nogent-sur-Seine from Paris. 

Power: Work by African American Women from the Nineteenth Century to Now
Sprüth Magers
5900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
March 29–June 10, 2017

The exhibition Power at Sprüth Magers features thirty-seven African American women artists from the nineteenth century until now. Works span fine-art and folk-art traditions covering multiple mediums, including painting, photography, video, sculpture, and installation. The title of the exhibition takes its name from a 1970 gospel song by Sister Gertrude Morgan, a self-taught, musician, poet, artist, and preacher. The works, engaging in issues of race, gender, and class, trace the threads of the craft-based folk traditions to a newer, academically trained generation of artists, depicting the “struggle to establish themselves as equal players on the uneven field of the American republic.”

In a review of the show published in the Los Angeles Times on April 11, 2017, the author Leah Ollman writes, “Artists here treat the physical body and the emblematic body of the nation as contested sites. Historical trauma persists within both, and both serve as ready—if not always willing—vehicles for self-determination.”

Artists in the exhibition, which was curated by Todd Levin, include: Beverly Buchanan, Elizabeth Catlett, Sonya Clark, Renee Cox, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Karon Davis, Minnie Evans, Nona Faustine, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ellen Gallagher, Leslie Hewitt, Clementine Hunter, Steffani Jemison, Jennie C. Jones, Simone Leigh, Julie Mehretu, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Sondra Perry, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Joyce J. Scott, Emmer Sewell, Ntozake Shange, Xaviera Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Shinique Smith, Renee Stout, Mickalene Thomas, Alma Woodsey Thomas, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Kara Walker, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Carrie Mae Weems, and Brenna Youngblood.

Power will also include an installation of over one hundred African American vernacular photographs from the early twentieth century on loan from the Ralph DeLuca Collection. They offer a diverse view into everyday lives of African American women, from images of positive change to difficult scenes of negative stereotyping and violence. Offered as an exhibition-within-an-exhibition, these images from a century ago encourage reflection upon the continued struggles of black lives in America today.

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85
Brooklyn Museum
Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia Gallery of Contemporary Art, Fourth Floor, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
April 21–September 17, 2017

The exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 explores the intersections of avant-garde art worlds, radical political movements, and profound social change through photography, sculpture, printmaking, photography, performance, film, and video. Examining the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism, this exhibition is the first “to highlight the voices and experiences of women of color—distinct from the primarily white, middle-class mainstream feminist movement—in order to reorient conversations around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history in this significant historical period.”

The artists represented in the exhibition include: Emma Amos, Camille Billops, Kay Brown, Vivian E. Browne, Linda Goode Bryant, Beverly Buchanan, Carole Byard, Elizabeth Catlett, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Ayoka Chenzira, Christine Choy and Susan Robeson, Blondell Cummings, Julie Dash, Pat Davis, Jeff Donaldson, Maren Hassinger, Janet Henry, Virginia Jaramillo, Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, Lisa Jones, Loïs Mailou Jones, Barbara Jones-Hogu, Carolyn Lawrence, Samella Lewis, Dindga McCannon, Barbara McCullough, Ana Mendieta, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, Alva Rogers, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Coreen Simpson, Lorna Simpson, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems.

A host of events accompanied the exhibition. In addition to the DJ reception on April 20, which paid tribute to the revolutionary music of black women, the week-long opening celebration also included a symposium on April 21, a Julie Dash film marathon on April 22, and a Black Lunch Table on April 23.

We Wanted a Revolution, organized by Catherine Morris, Sackler Family Senior Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and Rujeko Hockley, former assistant curator of contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum, is part of A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong series of exhibitions celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Filed under: CAA News, Committees, Exhibitions

Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

A Letter to Soon-to-Be Art School Graduates

You’re about to begin your career as artists. At this defining moment of transition, I’d like to offer five pieces of advice that I wish someone had shared with me when I graduated art school. (Read more from CERF+.)

Help Desk: Recommendations for References

I am often torn when applying for jobs, residencies, and grants when it comes to references. Is it better to list the names of people you do not know well but carry more name recognition, or to list the names of lesser-known people you know well and would give you a good reference? (Read more from Daily Serving.)

How Galleries Support Their Artists

Galleries have multiple roles, both visible and invisible: to incubate and support their artists, often by going above and beyond the normal work of putting on shows, promoting their artists, and selling the works; and to providing services such as financial management or book publishing, to help their artists focus more fully on their work. (Read more from Artsy.)

Group Shows Bring Together Works by Black Women Artists

Nearly forty years ago, CAA’s National Women’s Caucus for Art planned an exhibition featuring works by “Afro-American” women artists. Cocurated by Emily Martin and Tritobia Benjamin of Howard University, the show was to be presented at the 1979 Annual Conference in Washington, DC. (Read more from Culture Type.)

The Kids Are Right

Is it inherently misguided to suggest some speech ought to be restricted not by law but by informal rules? Is the space in the discourse that liberalism has granted to bigots emboldened by the Trump era a real problem or not? (Read more from Slate.)

Critique vs. Harassment

The visual arts sometimes involve painful critiques of student work, but the University of Central Florida has warned a well-known professor that he crossed the line into harassment with some salty comments allegedly directed at a female student in an advanced painting class. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

To Depoliticize Art, Trump Has to Do More Than End Federal Endowments

Shut up and go fund yourself. That’s President Trump’s message to arts organizations in his proposal for eliminating the NEA and NEH. CAA is not amused. Declaring “complete and total opposition” to the proposal, it offers toolkits to members to arm them for a fight. (Read more from the Federalist.)

Congressman to Appeal Removal of Art Showing Cops as Pigs, Citing Free Speech

A Missouri congressman is appealing a judge’s ruling in a long-simmering dispute involving a 19-year-old’s painting that shows policemen as pigs. The work was on display at the US Capitol as part of a student art competition and has outraged Republican Congressmen and the conservative media, who have branded the work “anti-police.” (Read more from Artnet News.)

Filed under: CAA News