posted by Christopher Howard — December 06, 2016
Mary Miller, Sterling Professor of History of Art at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, will deliver the keynote address during Convocation at the 2017 Annual Conference, to be held at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan. Free and open to the public, Convocation takes place on Wednesday, February 15, 5:30–7:00 PM. The event will include the presentation of the annual Awards for Distinction and be followed by the conference’s Opening Reception.
Miller earned an AB in 1975 at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. Six years later she completed her PhD at Yale, joined the faculty there, and has remained at the school ever since. Miller was recently appointed as senior director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale. She also served as dean of Yale College from 2008 to 2014 and has taken many other professorial and administrative roles over the years.
Miller is the author of The Murals of Bonampak (1986), The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec (1986), and Maya Art and Architecture (1999). A frequent collaborator, she wrote The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya (1993) with Karl Taube and edited A Pre-Columbian World (2006) with Jeffrey Quilter and The Aztec Calendar Stone (2010) with Khristaan D. Villela. In recent years Miller edited Painting a Map of Sixteenth-Century Mexico City (2012), a study of a rare indigenous map in Yale’s Beinecke Library, with Barbara Mundy and completed The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak (2013) with Claudia Brittenham.
Miller has written essays for both of CAA’s scholarly print publications. In “A Re-examination of the Mesoamerican Chacmool,” published in The Art Bulletin in 1985, Miller proposed Maya sources for “the form, location, variety, and iconography” of the chacmool, the Mesoamerican stone sculptures of reclining male figures associated with war and sacrifice; previous scholarship had assumed they were of Central American origin and introduced to the Maya during the Toltec era. In “Shaped Time,” published in Art Journal in 2009, Miller considered George Kubler’s 1962 landmark study The Shape of Time, “so rich in its textured treatment of the ways that streams of history and art-making intersect.” She drew on her deep knowledge of ancient Mesoamerica to contextualize the book in relation to both Kubler’s research and other postwar scholarship in the field.
In 1988 Miller and Linda Schele accepted CAA’s Alfred H. Barr Award for museum scholarship for The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art (1986). The book, with photographs by Justin Kerr, was the catalogue for a traveling exhibition organized by Schele and Miller for the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
Among Miller’s many accolades are a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2010 she gave the fifty-ninth A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC—one of the highest honors in American art history.
CAA communicated with Miller via email last month. Here’s what she had to say.
How has teaching art history changed over the last twenty years?
Well, that takes us back to 1996, and just about then I volunteered to be the departmental pioneer (or guinea pig, take your pick) for digital images. I had to wrestle with the visual resources department to be allowed to build my own PowerPoints in that first iteration! And before I knew it, the slide cabinets had departed for remote storage. But that is the technical change. There are other changes that come along, especially in terms of what it is students bring to the class, and how the visual image is beginning to be the center for most of them.
What were the most important lessons you learned while serving as a dean?
You don’t want to know most of them! But, seriously, I gave a lot of thought to grading while dean. I also paid attention to learning outcomes, especially the importance of short assignments and detailed feedback early in the term. And I committed to developing opportunities for public speaking for students in class—a critical part of education but rarely intentionally instructed these days.
What does your current research concern?
My current research is focused on the gold disks of the Sacred Cenote at Chichén Itzá. The only serious study of the full set of them was published in 1952, although everyone knows them. Or thinks they know them. They’ve turned out to be even more fascinating than I though they’d be: the material—gold—was entirely new to the Maya of the ninth century, the technique of executing imagery on it entirely new as well. And then the imagery itself quite distinct. All but one of the disks were burned, ripped into pieces, crumpled, stomped upon, and then hurled into the Cenote (and the “one” is distinct only in not having been torn apart). There is meaning embedded in that dramatic ending! But three other projects have been developing along the edges. I keep all the files and notes for one of them—a history of the dealers, collectors, and materials that are critical to the formation of pre-Hispanic art as a field in the United States, 1940 onward—in a folder I call “The Rabbit Hole,” which tells you it is a wild and winding journey.
What was your first CAA Annual Conference experience like?
Oh, gosh. I think I was the driver of a group of Yale graduate students to DC [in 1979] and I am almost certain that George Shackelford was in the car. I’d had the bad fortune to have my wallet relieved of folding bills while I snoozed in the Yale Art and Architecture Library, so I scrounged together $40 to make the trip. I slept in the basement of a house some of my college friends shared near the Washington Cathedral, and then I hiked down Mass Ave to the Hilton—a good distance, I can assure you. I attended a session chaired by Joel Snyder that thrilled me. I watched a grad-school colleague give a presentation on African time, among other talks, and I had a lot of fun.
What are two or three pressing issues that both artists and academics share?
We all share the problem of the Google search: no matter what I am looking for, once I start searching for images, by page three the algorithm is offering me pictures of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. If I am looking for a work of art, then surely I must want Sunflowers!
Seriously, I think the most pressing issue we share is that of conservation and preservation. How can the past—or the present—be preserved for the future?
Can you give us a teaser of what you will discuss at Convocation?
Well, last year I gave a talk at the Clark Art Institute in which I said art history can play a different role in twenty-first-century humanities than it did in twentieth-century humanities. I’ve developed these ideas more fully—and I hope I have some interesting things to say to the community of art historians, and the community of artists!
 See Mary Ellen Miller, “A Re-examination of the Mesoamerican Chacmool,” The Art Bulletin 67, no. 1 (March 1985): 7–17.
 See Mary Miller, “Shaped Time,” Art Journal 68, no. 4 (Winter 2009): 71–77.
posted by CAA — November 28, 2016
CAA is excited to present talks by the following special guests at the 105th Annual Conference, taking place February 15–18, 2017, in New York.
This year Mary Miller, a scholar of art of the ancient New World, Sterling Professor of History of Art, and senior director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University, will deliver the keynote address during Convocation.
This special event, to be held on the first evening of the Annual Conference, includes a welcome from Suzanne Preston Blier, CAA president, and Hunter O’Hanian, CAA executive director, as well as the presentation of annual Awards for Distinction.
Convocation is free and open to the public.
Distinguished Artist Interviews
Organized by CAA’s Services to Artists Committee, the Distinguished Artist Interviews feature esteemed artists who discuss their work with a respected colleague. The interviews are held as part of ARTspace, a program partially funded by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
First, the artist and activist Coco Fusco will be in conversation with the art historian Steven Nelson of the University of California, Los Angeles. Next, the painter Katherine Bradford will speak with a fellow artist, Judith Bernstein.
The Distinguished Artist Interviews are free and open to the public.
Kaja Silverman, a historian of art and film, critical theorist, and Katherine and Keith L. Sachs Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania, will be recognized as CAA’s Distinguished Scholar for 2017 in this special session.
In addition to remarks from Silverman, the panel will feature talks from Richard Meyer, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University, and Homay King, Professor of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College.
Please join the speakers for a reception immediately following the session in the Third Floor East Promenade. A cash bar will be available.
Conference registration is required to attend the Distinguished Scholar Session.
In our first staff interview, we spoke with Paul Skiff, assistant director for Annual Conference. Continuing in the staff interview series, we spoke with Doreen Davis, who currently holds the record for longest-serving CAA staff member.
How long have you worked at CAA?
What do you do at CAA?
I am the manager of member services.
What does CAA mean to you?
CAA has many meanings, but the greatest meaning to me is that it represents the opportunity for me to grow, for me to share what I have learned, for me to plant the seed of possibilities and leave behind a bigger, better organization than the one I first started working for. CAA will always be the organization that challenged me to be better and to have the flexibility to make our members feel that we are not just an organization. We are their partner for as long as they are members, whether active or lapsed.
Can you talk about one of your favorite member moments?
One member was very dissatisfied on several occasions and continued to be very mean on the phone. Even after I resolved her membership issues, she did not say “thank you” but instead hung up. The conference was approaching, and I am usually stationed at the “Problem Information Booth.” I hoped and prayed that I would not see her at the conference, because she would definitely come to that booth. Well, I was not so lucky. She showed up and, after reading my badge, said, “Hi Ms. Davis, I am so and so. I want to apologize for my behavior—it was so unlike me. I was going through a rough period, but thank you for your patience and your help.” I responded, “You are very welcome, and enjoy the conference.” Whew!
What do you like best about the arts and working in the arts?
I love that art can transcend time, and if art is good it will last forever. I also love that we can have an unlimited number of interpretations of art. Everyone sees or hears roughly the same thing, but each of us has our own opinion of it. Our experiences in life help shape our opinions of art. No two people experience the exact same thing, so our interpretations are bound to vary. I love working for the arts because I see how my efforts positively affect people in need. Nonprofits are a great place to maximize your mental talents along with your compassion.
Do you have a favorite moment from the Annual Conference each year?
One of my favorite moments was encountering a job seeker who had an interview, but because she was not a current member she was not allowed in the Interview Hall to meet with the employer. I gave her an individual-membership brochure with an application and walked her into the hall. She took it and thanked me. I said to myself, maybe she will join. She came back later and informed me that the interview went well. I said, “Congrats!” I forgot all about her until a few months later, when she sent me an email telling me she had been hired. Because of that, she took out a membership!
As part of the new myCAA campaign where we ask our members to share with us what CAA means to them, we thought it also makes sense to share with our members more about ourselves at CAA. In this spirit, every few weeks we will post an interview with a staff member at CAA. We want our members to know who we are also.
Our first interview in the series is with Paul Skiff, assistant director for Annual Conference.
How long have you worked at CAA?
What do you do at CAA?
I handle all space use for the Annual Conference: facility specification and coordinating with facility personnel, logistics, service providers, production, marketing, and sponsorships for the Book and Trade Fair, receptions, tours, onsite direction, and the task of working up budgets for all of this. Essentially I set up the arrangements that enable us at CAA to coordinate everyone and everything into and out of the conference.
What does CAA mean to you?
CAA is a leading international organization promoting visual art and culture in a way that has direct impact on society. The conference brings together the membership, along with related professions, for a large public event that gives a high profile to the cultural sector of the host city and contributes to defining the forward direction of culture in general.
Can you talk about one of your favorite member moments?
Too many to mention, really. CAA members are so frequently a great pleasure to work with no matter what the situation. At its base the organization is a collective, and that really guides so much of what members bring.
What do you like best about the arts and working in the arts?
Art, and culture in general, provides a basis for unity across social, cultural, national, and political boundaries. In the urban culture of the United States, cultural practice is seen as an open forum with authority to comment upon—and provide a way for coping with—the prevailing conditions of the time. Applied this way, cultural practices have as their main goal establishment of a democratizing equality. What I like about one part of the particular work I do in the arts with CAA is that my efforts serve to create opportunities for thousands of people involved in art and culture. Over my time working with CAA, this has amounted to providing a wide variety of opportunities for literally tens of thousands of people involved with art and culture.
Do you have a favorite moment from the Annual Conference each year?
The closing celebration for department staff after sessions conclude on the last day of the conference, when a year’s worth of hard work is complete and you know thousands of people had a pleasurable and fulfilling experience.
What have your most recent performances consisted of?
My most recent performances have been straightforward presentations of texts and poetry spoken live, often with supplemental sound, and mostly presented for community-based cultural organizations with a vision for preserving, promoting, and strengthening local culture.
How do you feel about the differences between your art performed live or recorded on tape?
My live performance often incorporates recorded sound and images, so it is not that easy to separate the two modes of presentation. But to consider electronically recorded material separately, there is of course a vast difference with regard to the resultant sensory phenomenon. The main strength of actual live, spoken work is its generative quality, its immediacy, and its ability to create a “hearership” that can challenge existing listening institutions. With electronically recorded sound and/or images you have the rather endlessly deep toolbox of technology, which mostly amounts to applying exaggeration and distortion to live forms, and playing with time, as well as simply preserving information for transmission. I’m not saying anything profound by that, of course. Applying technology to a live performance enables an extension and transformation of form that allows for many different and new ways to present the work, seek a broader audience, and invent ever more creative solutions.
The creation of electronic information along with storage and retrieval is the most expansive creative environment for us now. At this point in our history telelectricentrism is second nature. Humanity has adapted to this so that forms of experience based on electronic image and sound increasingly dominate everyday life. We are still discovering how this is an asset and liability. It has mixed results and risky implications for our ability to really communicate. But in this for me is a great and absorbing task of applying these distorting and exaggerating technologies to instill acts of rehumanizing our culture. It’s kind of like taking something inherently dangerous and reshaping or repurposing it to provide pleasure, fulfillment, and a greater sense of shared well-being—not to mention preserving and strengthening our sense of self-worth.
posted by Christopher Howard — July 29, 2016
The art critic and historian Irving Sandler was a regular contributor to ARTnews and other magazines in the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known for The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism (London: Pall Mall, 1970) and its follow-up, The New York School: The Painters and Sculptors of the Fifties (New York: Harper and Row, 1978). Born in New York in 1925, Sandler turned 91 years old on July 22.
He and his wife, Lucy Freedman Sandler, a historian of medieval art and an accomplished author in her own right, are CAA life members. Both scholars have a long involvement with CAA spanning several decades: Lucy served as president of the Board of Directors from 1981 to 1984 and organized the 1978 Annual Conference with her husband. Both have spoken many times at the conference; they have organized and moderated numerous panels and sessions as well. In addition, Irving was part of a group of CAA members who introduced a new format to Art Journal, back in 1979.
Sandler’s second book of memoirs, Swept Up by Art (Brooklyn: Rail Editions, 2015), follows his first, A Sweeper-Up after Artists (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003). Christopher Howard, CAA managing editor, visited Sandler in May 2016 at his New York apartment to talk about his recent book and about his involvement with CAA over the years.
CAA: Let’s start with Art Journal. In the late 1970s you and a handful of others—Anne Coffin Hansen, Ellen Lanyon, George Sadek—got together to reinvent the publication.
Irving Sandler: That is pretty much it. We took the journal, which had become pretty moribund—it was sort of run by an old guard—and we turned it into something much more interesting by doing thematic issues, and also getting interesting editors to do it. It’s still working more or less that way.
Yes, it is. Editors have three-year terms—but they get a longer time span to take it over. You even produced one of those early issues, in Winter 1980, yourself.
Yes, I did. This issue was, to my knowledge, was the first issue on modernism and postmodernism, indicating the change that had been taking place in art, and in the art world as well. That was a very good issue.
You and your wife first joined CAA in 1954. How has the teaching of art and art history changed over the last sixty years?
Well, one of the things—the primary thing I believe—that’s changed would be the introduction of contemporary art into curricula. That simply wasn’t done. In places like the Institute of Fine Arts, you couldn’t write a dissertation on an artist who wasn’t dead for a century. And suddenly, not only do you have contemporary art, but the primary emphasis, in our art-history programs now, is on the contemporary. That’s a radical change to the entire approach to art.
Marvin Eisenberg, professor of history of art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and president of the CAA Board of Directors from 1968 to 1970, died on May 18, 2016. He was 93 years old.
In 1943 Eisenberg earned a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, after serving in the Army Signal Corps during World War II. Upon earning both an MFA and PhD from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, he began teaching at Michigan, where he worked for his entire career. Eisenberg won CAA’s Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award in 1987. He retired in 1989.
Read more about Eisenberg’s life and career on the website of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
CAA is pleased to announce the members of the 2016–2017 Nominating Committee, which is charged with identifying and interviewing potential candidates for the Board of Directors and selecting the final slate of candidates for the membership’s vote. The committee members, their institutional affiliations, and their positions are:
- Jim Hopfensperger, Vice President for Committees and Nominating Committee Chair, Professor, Frostic School of Art, Western Michigan University
- Jesús Escobar, Harold H. and Virginia Anderson Chair, Department of Art History, Northwestern University
- Helen C. Frederick, Professor, School of Art and Design, George Mason University
- Carmenita D. Higginbotham, Associate Professor, Program in American Studies, University of Virginia, Department of Art
- Thomas Lawson, Dean, School of Art, Jill and Peter Kraus Distinguished Chair in Art, California Institute of the Arts
- Sarah A. Lichtman, Assistant Professor, Director, Design-Curatorial Studies, Parsons School of Design
- Gunalan Nadarajan, Professor and Dean, Stamps School of Art and Design, University of Michigan
- David C. Terry, Director of Programs, Curator, New York Foundation for the Arts
Hunter O’Hanian, CAA’s incoming executive director and CEO, will also serve on the Nominating Committee as an ex-officio member.
CAA publishes a call for nominations and self-nominations for Nominating Committee service on the website in late fall of every year and publicizes it in CAA News and via social media. Please direct all queries regarding the committee to Vanessa Jalet, CAA executive liaison.
posted by CAA — May 18, 2016
The College Art Association (CAA) is pleased to announce Hunter O’Hanian as its next executive director. He will start at CAA on July 1, 2016. O’Hanian succeeds Linda Downs, who served as CAA executive director from 2006 to 2016. O’Hanian comes to CAA at a moment of expansion and opportunity in the organization. In January 2016, CAA announced comprehensive changes to its Annual Conference that will increase the number of sessions and chances for participation. In response to the changes, CAA received over 850 session proposals for its 2017 conference in New York, February 15–18.
“I am very excited to welcome Hunter O’Hanian to CAA as executive director,” says Suzanne Preston Blier, president of CAA. “He brings not only unique administrative experience but also striking energy and vision at this key moment in the Association’s history.”
As executive director, O’Hanian is an employee of the CAA Board of Directors and serves as the Association’s chief executive officer. In this role, he will work with board members, committees, and task forces to develop the Association’s strategic plans. O’Hanian’s experience in fundraising, law, and the arts will greatly benefit the membership and the larger visual arts, design, education, and cultural communities with whom CAA works. O’Hanian will oversee a wide variety of initiatives, including the CAA Annual Conference, an advocacy program, member services activities, the career center, fellowships, grants and opportunities offered by CAA, and the publications program, which includes The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, Art Journal Open, and caa.reviews.
“I have long been an admirer of the work CAA has done. They have helped so many artists, art historians, and curators in the pursuit of their professional goals,” says O’Hanian. “I am pleased to be part of this exciting team and look forward to playing a role in growing its membership, bolstering the conferences, and helping the organization thrive on every level.”
O’Hanian is currently the director of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York’s Soho neighborhood. The Leslie-Lohman Museum is the only art museum devoted exclusively to artwork that speaks to the LGBTQ experience.
Prior to joining Leslie-Lohman, Hunter was the vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the Foundation for Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Previous to that, he led two renowned artists’ residencies programs, having served as the president of Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, outside of Aspen, Colorado, and executive director of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which is the largest residency program for emerging artists and writers in the United States. The Fine Arts Work Center recently permanently endowed a fellowship in his name.
O’Hanian has a long career of non-profit board and community involvement. He is the past board chair of the Alliance of Artists Communities, the national membership organization for artists’ residency programs. He studied painting at Boston College and received his bachelor of laws degree from Suffolk University in Boston. O’Hanian has an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the Art Institute of Boston.
Photo credit: Johnathan M. Lewis
CAA welcomes new members to the Board of Directors, Roberto Tejada of the University of Houston and Dina Bangdel of Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, who have filled vacant positions left by two resigning directors. The board also selected two directors to serve one-year officer terms: Tejada is secretary and N. Elizabeth Schlatter is vice president for Annual Conference. Four other new board members were elected in February 2016.
CAA warmly thanks the many contributions of the following dedicated members who joined the organization in 1966 or earlier. This year, the annually published list welcomes fourteen artists, scholars, and educators—and one attorney—whose distinguished exhibitions, publications, teaching practices, and professional service have shaped the direction and history of art over the last fifty years.
1966: Madeline H. Caviness; Gilbert S. Edelson; Jonathan Fineberg; Ann Sutherland Harris; Sara Lynn Henry; Cecelia F. Klein; Henry F. Klein; Anne-Marie Logan; Peter V. Moak; Anne Morganstern; James Morganstern; Peter H. Schabacker; David M. Sokol; and Marcia H. Werner.
1965: Jean M. Borgatti; Norma Broude; Wanda M. Corn; Elaine K. Gazda; Diana Gisolfi; Dorothy F. Glass; Andree M. Hayum; Ellen V. Kosmer; Lillian D. MacBrayne; Jerry D. Meyer; Ann Lee Morgan; Myra N. Rosenfeld-Little; Ted E. Stebbins; Eugenia Summer; MaryJo Viola; Michele Vishny; and Wallace E. Weston.
1964: Richard J. Betts; Ruth Bowman; Vivian P. Cameron; Kathleen R. Cohen; Paula Gerson; Ronald W. Johnson; Jim M. Jordan; William M. Kloss; Rose-Carol Washton Long; Phyllis Anina Moriarty; Annie Shaver-Crandell; Judith B. Sobre; and Alan Wallach.
1963: Lilian Armstrong; Richard Brilliant; Eric G. Carlson; Vivian L. Ebersman; Françoise Forster-Hahn; Walter S. Gibson; Caroline M. Houser; Susan J. Koslow; E. Solomon; Lauren Soth; Richard E. Spear; Roxanna A. Sway; Athena Tacha; and Roger A. Welchans.
1962: Jo Anne Bernstein; Phyllis Braff; Jacquelyn C. Clinton; Shirley S. Crosman; Frances D. Fergusson; Gloria K. Fiero; Jaroslav Folda; Harlan H. Holladay; Seymour Howard; Alfonz Lengyel; David Merrill; John T. Paoletti; Aimee Brown Price; Lillian M. Randall; Nancy P. Sevcenko; Thomas L. Sloan; Elisabeth Stevens; Anne Betty J. Weinshenker; and William D. Wixom.
1961: Matthew Baigell; Margaret Diane David; Bowdoin Davis Jr.; David Farmer; J. D. Forbes; Isabelle Hyman; Clifton C. Olds; Marion E. Roberts; and Conrad H. Ross.
1960: Shirley N. Blum; Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt; Dan F. Howard; Eugene Kleinbauer; Edward W. Navone; Linda Nochlin; and J. J. Pollitt.
1959: Geraldine Fowle; Carol H. Krinsky; James F. O’Gorman; and Ann K. Warren.
1958: Samuel Y. Edgerton Jr.; Carla Lord; Damie Stillman; Clare Vincent; and Barbara Ehrlich White.
1957: Bruce Glaser; Marcel M. Franciscono; Jane Campbell Hutchison; Susan R. McKillop; and Frances P. Taft.
1956: Svetlana L. Alpers; Norman W. Canedy; David C. Driskell; John Goelet; Joel Isaacson; John M. Schnorrenberg; and Jack J. Spector.
1955: Lola B. Gellman; Irving Lavin; and Suzanne Lewis.
1954: Franklin Hamilton Hazlehurst; Thomas J. McCormick; Jules D. Prown; Irving Sandler; Lucy Freeman Sandler; and Harold Edwin Spencer.
1953: Dorathea K. Beard; Margaret McCormick; and Jack Wasserman.
1951: Wen C. Fong.
1950: Alan M. Fern.
1949: Dario A. Covi and Ann-Sofi Lindsten.
1948: William S. Dale.
1947: Dericksen M. Brinkerhoff; David G. Carter; Ellen P. Conant; and Ilene H. Forsyth.
1945: James S. Ackerman.