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Cuban artists and activists organizing in opposition to the decree. Image: Courtesy Yanelyz Nuñez Leyva via Hyperallergic

In July 2018, the Cuban government issued Decree 349, aimed at the artists’ community on the island nation. The decree is slated to go into effect on December 1, 2018.

The law will criminalize independent artists who do not have authorization from the Ministry of Culture, and it will empower a new cadre of state agents to shut down events, confiscate artists’ equipment and property, impose heavy fines, and make arrests. Cuban artists were not consulted in the development of the decree and will have no recourse to independent arbiters in the event of a dispute. In particular this legislation will affect artists who are black and poor, as well as independent artists.

Amnesty International recently issued a statement about Decree 349:

“Amnesty International is concerned that the recent arbitrary detentions of Cuban artists protesting Decree 349, as reported by Cuban independent media, are an ominous sign of things to come. We stand in solidarity with all independent artists in Cuba that are challenging the legitimacy of the decree and standing up for a space in which they can work freely without fear of reprisals.”

CAA supports the work of Cuban artists and activists inside and outside of Cuba in their campaign to urge the Cuban government to reconsider the law and agree to a public debate with the artistic community. We support the artists’ Open Letter urging the Cuban government to refrain from imposing these harsh restrictions on its artists.

Related: As Criminalization of the Arts Intensifies in Cuba, Activists Organize (Hyperallergic)

Tania Bruguera and Other Artists Are Protesting a New Cuban Law That Requires Government Approval of Creative Production (artnet News)

#NOALDECRETOLEY349 #artelibre 

Filed under: Advocacy, Artists, Government and Politics — Tags:

CAA’s executive director, Hunter O’Hanian, recently visited the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida to speak with Eric Segal, the museum’s director of education and curator of academic programs, about the role of academic art museums and Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals (RAAMP).

A project of CAA supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, RAAMP aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic museums and their parent organizations by providing a publicly accessible repository of resources, online forums, and relevant news and information.

Watch and read the interview below.

Hunter O’Hanian: Hello everybody. My name’s Hunter O’Hanian and I’m the director of the College Art Association. I’m very pleased today to be with Eric Segal, who is the director of education and curator of academic programs here at the Harn Museum in Gainesville, Florida. Hello, Eric. How are you?

Eric Segal: Hunter, I’m doing well. It’s great to have you here in Gainesville.

HO: Well, it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s been great to be spending time here and to go through the museum. Before we start, tell us a little bit about your background. I know you’ve been a CAA member since you were in graduate school, but tell us a little bit about your professional background.

ES: Sure. CAA since 1993.

HO: Yay.

ES: I actually started my college career as a computer engineering major. So, it was a big change when my sister made me take an art history class and that led me into art history, and I studied American art subsequently at UCLA, Masters.

HO: And, I think you won a Terra award, too.

ES: I was really fortunate to have a Terra award in 1999.

HO: Great.

ES: And that was very exciting for me and helped me in my studies. Following the completion of my doctoral dissertation, I took an assistant professor position here at University of Florida. So, I was in the art history department teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in American art, African American art, illustration and even occasionally about museum theory. Later, in 2010, a position opened up in the museum where I was able to take on museum practice a bit more. That position was the academic programs position, which had just been created as the museum realized it was important to draw closer to the university. At that time, before the position opened up, there were perhaps a few dozen courses using the museum, because there was no one doing the outreach to work with faculty across campus.

Since that time, about 10 years, we’ve maybe increased that tenfold. The number of courses, the number of faculty, the number of disciplines and students using the museum—we’ve been really delighted to expand that quite a bit.

HO: That’s great. So, [the] University of Florida here in Gainesville, about 50,000 students here on campus.

ES: Yes.

HO: You have an art history department here. And do you have a studio arts department as well?

ES: It’s a combined school of art and art history and they’re both very robust. There’s a faculty of about seven in art history and the tens, twenties in art and they’re all great colleagues. In fact, in 2019 we will have the studio art faculty show here at the museum, which comes [around] every five years.

We want to reach audiences that have not seen themselves in museums.

HO: Wonderful. So, the Harn Museum has been around since 1990. Roughly, how big is it? How many square feet is the facility?

ES: The museum is about 26,000 square feet.

HO: That’s big for an academic art museum.

ES: It is. We have all of our storage onsite. We have great galleries devoted to five collecting areas. We collect in African [art], in Asian [art], in photography, in modern and contemporary art. And we have a curator in each area. So, we’re very lucky. Many academic museums don’t have such a robust curatorial staff. And we also have classrooms where we can do teaching, where we can bring objects out from storage in order to connect with academic classes on campus if we have a theme we want to try to address, say, “urban imagery.” It may be better just with works that are in storage, rather than those that happen to be on view at a given time.

HO: And 11,000 objects in the collection?

ES: That’s right.

HO: Wow. And so how do you go about procuring objects for the collection?

ES: Right. So our curators are very active along with our development officer and our director in building relationships. So, we do have an endowment for acquisitions, but many of our acquisitions do come through gifts from donors, and that would be in all areas.

HO: I noticed too in going through the museum with you that you also have a fair number of Florida artists in your collection. Can you speak about some of them?

ES: We have Florida artists from the 19th century through the present. Some of them are former faculty at UF with international and national reputations, and some include folk artists who work locally and are widely collected and whose work reveals unexpected and inspiring perspectives on our own community. So, we have both highly-trained professional artists and amateur or untrained artists.

HO: It seems to me also that you’ve done a lot of work in your role as far as inviting members of the local Gainesville community, people who are not part of the academic campus on or into the museum through different programs. Can you talk generally about how you’ve been programming in trying to bring the local Gainesville community into the museum?

ES: Sure. So, as curator of academic programs, I obviously personally focus a lot on the academic community, but I’m also director of education as you mentioned, and I have a staff with whom I work to engage the community. I also consider that my responsibility as well. We have public programs that I think of as creating layers of access. There’s programs that are traditional museum programs of lectures and educational docent tours, which have immediate appeal to people who are familiar with museums and have a museum-going experience and know they might want to learn something about an exhibition, but we also have our whole range of activities that invite the community in perhaps for a first time. We’re creating museum goers out of our local citizenry.

So, those might be experiences that sound more fun and social, but include informal learning opportunities. We have a museum nights event once a month which is open in the evenings. So, lots of programs such as that, but we also think it’s really important to reach audiences that aren’t even looking at the museum as a possible venue for leisure or art experiences and we find it’s really effective to work with the local public schools. All children go to schools and we’re able to work with them to provide transportation and rich tour experiences and programs that engage children and parents as well. Creating the opportunity to connect with families that might not be thinking of the museum, but may learn from the children that it’s a really welcoming, relevant, and meaningful space.

HO: Overall for the whole museum, how big is the staff here?

ES: The staff, including security and frontline staff, is about fifty.

HO: Wow. Great.

ES: So, it’s pretty robust.

HO: And for academic programs and education, how big is that?

ES: In education, we have six full-time staff and a number of part-time staff who support programs and activities. So, we’re also very lucky. There are smaller museums that are working on a narrower range of staff resources.

HO: What challenges do you see for the education programs here at the Harn Museum going forward?

ES: Well, you did ask about our connecting with community audiences and our challenge is to continue to grow that and be relevant and to let audiences know that we are welcoming. We want to reach audiences that have not seen themselves in museums. So, diversity in our audiences is something we’ve done a lot to improve with by partnering with local groups, with activists, with people in different communities. We’ve done a lot to improve our diversity of audiences, but we’re still expanding there. In staff, that’s another area where we really need to work hard and we have focused part of our strategic plan extension into 2019 to focus on developing new ways to build diverse staff members across the museum, including in senior staff, which as we know in museums in the United States is a real problem.

HO: If you were speaking to someone else in your position, maybe in a more rural location or a smaller facility, and they wanted to engage the community more, what advice would you give them?

ES: That’s a great question. I think that it’s really important to let audiences know that they’re welcome and to my mind, the best way to get that message out there is by being out in the community, attending community fora on relevant topics, being part of discussions of education and educational resources, being part of discussions on how universities are trying to engage—the local university or college may be trying to engage the community, both on campus and in the community. Being a face in the community makes you somewhat approachable and starts to build the relationship that’s hard to build with an advertisement in the paper that says, “Everyone’s welcome. Admission is free”. Hopefully.

So, that would be one of the first steps that I think I would try in that position is to really be part of the community and to make contact with community leaders who already have authentic connections to different members of different areas of the community.

HO: We’re going to be recording some video practicum about different areas in the museum and we’ll get into some more of those details later, but it also seems as if you’ve developed good relationships with different departments within the college itself. Can you speak a little bit about doing that and how you go about being successful there?

ES: Some of our failures in doing that have been—not that I wouldn’t continue to do it—you know, I go and give a talk to the faculty senate and I send a letter to all faculty and I get a lot of emails back, if I’m lucky, that say, you know, I saw your email but I didn’t read it last year because you sent it to everyone. So, the hard work is making individual contacts either by email but also being out there again on campus. I try to serve on committees, be it in the international center or on undergraduate curriculum, wherever it might be useful, seeing that the museum could be a resource that can be built into emerging programs and projects. So, being at the table is important. And then building the individual connections to faculty. One faculty member in a language and literature department can be your ambassador to other faculty members.

We’re creating museum goers out of our local citizenry.

HO: And, of course you’re familiar with RAAMP resources for academic art museum professionals, and the Harn has been one of the original stakeholders, and this has been a great project that CAA has worked on with the Mellon Foundation.

ES: Yes.

HO: We’ve been very happy with the success. As a resource out there, how have you been able to use RAAMP and also were there any changes you’d like to see to it or more things you’d like to see us add to it?

ES: Yes. RAAMP is a great resource. It’s been wonderful to see it grow and the website has, for anyone who hasn’t visited it recently, really been improved in the last year, making it searchable in a way that it wasn’t before. So, it’s a resource where you can actually find the materials that are there pretty easily now and that makes it especially useful. So, for me, it’s been great as a source of inspiration when I come up against a problem such as “How do I…?” I haven’t found this one yet, but one of my problems is how do I connect with low temperature physics? I’ve never solved that problem, but when someone posts that to RAMP, that’s where I’m going find it.

HO: Great. So, for any of you out there who have an answer to that quick question as to how to deal with low temperature physics, please post it on RAAMP now.

ES: That’s right. But, it’s really a great source of inspiration [for] problem solving and models that exist out there. It’s also I think increasingly going to continue to serve the role of [a] point for conversations, which is something that I’m really looking forward to, because sometimes someone hasn’t posted on low temperature physics, but they may have already done it. And so it’s a chance to get feedback and ideas. I’m also really looking forward to in the future ideas about building diversity, as we discussed earlier. How it’s being pursued at other museums, both in terms of audiences but also in terms of staff. I think as a community academic program officers in museums need to come together to build the pipeline of museum professionals. That includes recruiting students when they’re young. I’ve been working with high school students in the past week to just tell them that museums are a career and that’s important.

It includes supporting internships. I think that discussion can happen in RAAMP about how we can sort of strategically create a pool that we’re all going draw on to diversify our staff. I’m also looking forward to learning from RAAMP more about ideas for academic programs working with development offices.

HO: Interesting. The fundraising piece.

ES: Yes. The fundraising piece. We’re all challenged in our budgets. In the past year, we’ve developed a program on early learning that we built with the college of education, and we built a really robust project, and someone said: “You need to do a video for this.” And that video has been helpful for us in developing private funds to continue to pursue this program that provides education for headstart students.

HO: Which is great, because it gives potential funders the opportunity to see what the programs are really about and be able to see that.

ES: It is. And that’s the kind of thing I’d love to share on RAAMP and also learn from others their strategies for taking our programs and having them be tools for building our funding.

HO: Yes. I’ve been recently reviewing the session proposals for the upcoming CAA conference in New York in February of 2019 and there are a lot of sessions that are coming up for professionals in academic art museums, because I do think it’s a growing field that a lot of PhD students or PhD holders and Masters will be going into it in the future. So, there will be a lot at this year’s conference in February.

ES: That’s really great to hear. And I hope that non-museum professionals, hope that artists and art historians will attend those as well, because their voices are really useful to be part of those conversations that art museum professionals are having. I was thinking about the sort of professionalization that another area of RAAMP is going help us connect on is going to be evaluation. Museums are always challenged in terms of evaluation. We know it’s important to prove that what we do is effective. Evaluation is time-consuming or expensive or both, and sharing expertise and ideas in that area I think is going to be something that’s going to really help us to build our case in the future.

HO: Yes, I mean, ultimately all museums are educational institutions, and we have to be able to quantify how that happened.

ES: I think that is the case.

HO: Eric, thank you so much for your time here. It’s been great to tour the museum and I really have appreciated it. And so good luck with all your work going forward.

ES: Thank you, Hunter, for sharing your interest of the museum with our RAAMP audiences.

Brenna K. Murphy, Grief Work (Shroud). Detail. Cotton yarn and artist’s hair, 100 ft x 40 in. 2017 Professional Development Fellow in Visual Art.

The Professional Development Fellowships program supports promising artists, designers, craftspersons, historians, curators, and critics who are enrolled in MFA, PhD, and other terminal degree programs. Fellows are honored with $10,000 unrestricted grants to help them with various aspects of their work.

One award will be presented to a practitioner—an artist, designer, and/or craftsperson—and one award will be presented to an art, architecture, and/or design historian, curator, or critic. Fellows also receive a free, one-year CAA membership and complimentary registration to the Annual Conference. Honorable mentions, given at the discretion of the jury, also earn a free one-year CAA membership and complimentary conference registration.

CAA initiated its fellowship program in 1993 to help student artists and art historians bridge the gap between their graduate studies and professional careers. Past recipients include artists and thinkers such as Marin Sarve-Tarr (2015), Maggie Cao (2014), La Toya Ruby Frasier (2006), Risë Wilson (2002), Chitra Ganesh (2001), Miguel Luciano (2000), Miwon Kwon (1996), and Blake Stimson (1995), among many others.

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?

CAA seeks applications from students who are current members; will receive their MFA or PhD degree in the calendar year 2019, following the year of application (2018 for the current fellowship cycle); and have outstanding capabilities and demonstrate distinction in their contribution to art history and the visual arts.

A jury of artists, curators, and other professionals will review all applications in fall 2018 and announce the recipients in January 2019.

HOW TO APPLY

APPLY FOR THE PHD FELLOWSHIP

APPLY FOR THE MFA FELLOWSHIP

DEADLINES

PhD Fellowship: October 1, 2018

MFA Fellowship: November 16, 2018

CONTACT

For more information about the CAA fellowship program, please contact Aakash Suchak, grants and special programs manager, at asuchak@collegeart.org.

Join a CAA Professional Committee

posted by May 17, 2018

ARTexchange at CAA 2018 in Los Angeles. Image by Rafael Cardenas.

The Professional Committees address critical concerns of CAA’s members set out in the goals of CAA’s Strategic Plan. CAA invites members to apply for service on one of these working groups.

Committee members serve three-year terms (2019-2022), with at least one new member rotating onto a committee each year. Candidates must be current CAA members and possess expertise appropriate to the committee’s work. Members of all committees volunteer their services without compensation. It is expected that once appointed to a committee, a member will involve herself or himself in an active way.

The below vacancies are open for terms beginning in February 2019. Click on the committee name to learn more about the work of the specific committee.

CAA’s president, vice president for committees, and executive director review all candidates in the fall and announce the appointments in late October, prior to the Annual Conference. New members are introduced to their committees during their respective business meetings at the conference.

Nominations and self-nominations should include a brief statement (no more than 150 words) describing the nominee’s qualifications and experience and an abbreviated CV (no more than 2–3 pages). Please send all materials to Vanessa Jalet, CAA executive liaison at vjalet@collegeart.org.

Deadline: Friday, September 7, 2018. Kindly enter subject line in email: 2019 Professional Committee Applicant.

Filed under: Committees, Professional Development, Service — Tags:

Refining Hiring Standards for Part-Time Faculty

posted by November 02, 2017

Students and faculty protest at Ithaca College, 2016. Image courtesy Tompkins County Workers’ Center.

CAA is committed to supporting all professionals in the field.  This especially pertains to those who are applying for and working as part-time faculty members.  For more than twenty years, CAA has been setting standards for hiring part-time faculty.

CAA’s current guidelines are published here and copied below. We want to hear from members about how these might be updated and strengthened.

Hunter O’Hanian
College Art Association
Executive  Director and Chief Executive Officer

CAA Guidelines for Part-Time Professional Employment

Part-time employees play a critical role within the art world, specifically in academia, museums, galleries, and other arts institutions. They help meet curricular demands, offer expertise in specialized areas, and/or provide leadership in institutional programming.

Part-time faculty may be referred to with the following terms: adjunct, temporary, lecturer, graduate assistant, and teaching assistant. The terminology and its implications may vary from institution to institution, with the designation “part-time” or “temporary” serving as the most general and therefore consistent names. While this standard is primarily concerned with addressing the conditions of fully credentialed and professionalized part-time or short-term employees who are not simultaneously graduate students, this guideline may be relevant to those employed in conjunction with their graduate studies.

Part-time/temporary faculty and other part-time/temporary employees may be understood to be of several types: Part-time/temporary employees who would prefer full-time positions, part-time/temporary employees with no other employment, part-time employees who teach/work in addition to other full-time employment, and part-time/temporary employees who are retirees. Additionally, some institutions have paid, professional visitors that are not ongoing, full-time employees and also are not recurring, part-time employees. With this in mind, it is acknowledged that there is no singular reason one seeks part-time employment, and while each person may have individual reasons and needs, CAA encourages institutions to chart a path of continual improvements and aspire to provide the best possible working conditions for all part-time/temporary professionals, especially given the increasing reliance on such professionals.

Among key areas of concern are: equitable compensation; employment stability; access to employee benefits, including health care; access to professional development; and safe and adequate working conditions.

Within academia, these areas of concern may be assessed and addressed by comparing part-time faculty roles against full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty roles. Where similar work is performed and similar institutional expectations are held, equitable compensation and resources should exist. Where the treatment of employees in full- and part-time categories is dissimilar, the differences in expectations/compensation and the reasons for those differences should be articulated to both groups.

Institutions that regularly have visiting or guest faculty or curators should define how such roles are similar and different from other full-time and part-time employee roles. If the visiting appointment has responsibilities most similar to a comparable full-time position, the compensation should resemble such a full-time position.

Certain rights and responsibilities should be consistent regardless of one’s employment category. For example, academic freedom should provide the same protections for all. So too should workers’ compensation and other applicable laws that offer employee safeguards.

Working Conditions for Part-Time Employees

Given the great range of mission and expectations in institutions, it is essential that institutions define the roles of part-time employees and provide them with this information as well as information on their workplaces.

  1. The following written information should be provided by the institution at the time of employment.
    • Institutions with a significant number of part-time employees may wish to create and use a part-time employee handbook.
    • Statement on the institutional/departmental mission or philosophy
    • A full description of the part-time position, including a definition of the role and duties (in the case of faculty, this would include class title, description, size, contact hours, advising responsibilities, and any other responsibilities)
    • Description of teaching facilities, office facilities, and support services
    • In the case of art and design faculty, description of and access to studio facilities or teaching and for personal, professional development
    • Description of financial support and resources available for performing the work and for personal, professional development
    • Information on evaluation and promotion procedures
    • Information on employment security
    • Information on institutional governance and opportunities to participate in it
    • Information on any and all institutional expectations
  2. A written contract for part-time employment should explicitly state the following:
    • Compensation including salary, benefits, and any other compensation
    • Duties and responsibilities
    • Duration of employment
    • Process and timing of evaluation
    • Availability and timing of contract renewal
  1. For part-time/temporary faculty:The standards of excellence defined by visual arts programs should be founded upon realistic criteria
    • Generally, part-time/temporary faculty do not have research/creative activity duties; if such expectations exist they should be stated in the contract and the faculty member compensated for them
    • Part-time/temporary faculty may or may not have service obligations; if service duties are assigned, the faculty member should be compensated for them
    • Institutional expectations should take into consideration changes in academia, the commercial
      marketplace, and the discipline in question
    • Whenever possible, faculty should be included in the design of the course taught
    • If a course is to be canceled due to under-enrollment or another issue, the faculty member should be notified in a timely manner; if it is canceled at the last minute, the faculty member should be compensated, either in full or on a pro-rated basis for course preparation
    • Part-time faculty should have access to private (or shared with the expectation
      of privacy when needed) office space for student/teacher meetings
    • If a part-time faculty member’s institutional contribution is equivalent to that of a full-time faculty member, the part-time faculty member should be equitably compensated in comparison to such a full-time faculty member. If there is no expectation for research or service, differential compensation may be significant. This should be clearly stated in contractual materials.
  2. For all part-time employees:
    • Personal and environmental safety should be a major concern with adequate protection provided by the employer
    • OSHA, EPA, and other relevant standards should be followed
    • Institutional practices for ensuring safety should be clearly communicated
    • Opportunities for advancement in rank, salary, and responsibilities should be given to recurring, part-time employees.
    • Adequate administrative support should be provided: mailbox; office space; telephone and computer access; clerical support; library facilities; and teaching/research support such as assistants and/or graders, when warranted
    • When additional duties are offered or assigned, and such duties are ones often performed by full-time employees and go beyond the regular scope of part-time employment, the part-time employee should be offered additional and adequate compensation, such as a stipend

The 2013 ad-hoc committee for revision was co-chaired by Thomas Berding, Michigan State University and John Richardson, Wayne State University. The committee included Janet Casey, Skidmore College; Zoe Darling, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design; Jim Hopfensperger, Western Michigan University; David LaPalombara, Ohio University; Dennis Nawrocki, Wayne State University; and Kate Wagle, University of Oregon.

Click here for more information.

Indigenous Futures in Art Journal

posted by October 23, 2017

Postcommodity, Repellent Fence, 2015, installation view (artwork © Postcommodity; photograph by Michael Lundgren provided by Postcommodity)

Recent years have seen a boom in the creation of new art by Indigenous artists across North America—and a concomitant surge in scholarship about this art. The recently published issue of Art Journal is devoted to both the art and the research. In addressing the theme “Indigenous Futures,” editor-in-chief Rebecca M. Brown turned to the scholars Kate Morris and Bill Anthes as guest editors.

Works by dozens of Indigenous artists are featured in the issue, among them Kay WalkingStick, Kent Monkman, Shan Goshorn, Rebecca Belmore, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Will Wilson, and Edgar Heap of Birds. The artist collective Postcommodity created a project for the issue that includes the covers. Two artists wrote substantial texts: Jolene Rickard explores the theme of sovereignty in Indigenous art, while Marie Watt enjoys a frank chat with Joseph Beuys’s Coyote—who is amazingly au courant about today’s art.

In addition to Morris and Anthes, the scholars Jessica L. Horton, Dylan Robinson, and Sherry Farrell Racette provide insights into bodies of work by specific artists. A strong curatorial thread runs through the issue as well, with essays by Candice Hopkins and Heather Igloliorte; a magisterial essay by the curators Kathleen Ash-Milby and Ruth B. Phillips traces the history of critical exhibitions in North American museums and galleries since 1992, the year of the controversial “celebration” of the Columbus quincentennial.

The Reviews section of the issue features a 2015 book by W. J. T. Mitchell (reviewed by Caroline A. Jones), a substantial anthology on the postwar avant-garde in Scandinavia (by Karen Kurczynski), the exhibition and catalogue of Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium (by Camila Maroja), a multiauthor and -artist volume on the Indian city of Chandigarh (by Tracy Bonfitto), and the exhibition and catalogue of Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 (by Erica DiBenedetto).

CAA sends print copies of Art Journal to all institutional members and to those individuals who choose to receive the journal as a benefit of membership. The digital version at Taylor & Francis Online is currently available to all CAA individual members regardless of their print subscription choice.

Filed under: Art Journal — Tags:

Photography by Daniel Seth Kraus, 2016 Professional-Development Fellowship Awardee

October 2 (PhD candidates) and November 10 (MFA candidates) are the deadlines for the CAA Professional-Development Fellowships. The program supports promising artists, designers, craftspeople, historians, curators, and critics who are enrolled in MFA, PhD, and other terminal-degree programs nationwide.

Fellows are honored with $10,000 grants to support their work, whether it be for job-search expenses or purchasing materials for the studio.

“I remember sitting in my graduate school studio applying for the award. I was day-dreaming about how it could help me be a self-sustaining artist and maybe start my career in teaching. A few months later I received notification of the award and I’m happy to say the grant has helped me enormously with both of my day-dreams, artistic and academic. CAA’s Professional-Development Fellowship for Visual Artists has stabilized a shaky phase of my career and life, continuing an artistic practice after graduate school. The award funds helped me to kick-start my studio space, travel for photography research, and secure teaching positions right out of graduate school. CAA’s support of developing visual artists is certainly outstanding and to an even greater extent, appreciated. I’m happy to now be a CAA member and encourage others to apply for the fellowship without hesitation.” —Daniel Kraus, 2016 Professional-Development Fellowship Recipient

One award will be presented to a practitioner—an artist, designer, and/or craftsperson—and one award will be presented to an art, architecture, and/or design historian, curator, or critic. Fellows also receive a free one-year CAA membership and complimentary registration to the 2018 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February 21-24. Honorable mentions, given at the discretion of the jury, also earn a free one-year CAA membership and complimentary conference registration.

CAA initiated its fellowship program in 1993 to help student artists and art historians bridge the gap between their graduate studies and professional careers.

Learn more about eligibility and the application process for CAA’s Professional-Development Fellowship.

 

Photography by Daniel Seth Kraus, 2016 Professional-Development Fellowship Awardee

CAA Announces the opening of its Professional-Development Fellowship for 2017. The program supports promising artists, designers, craftspeople, historians, curators, and critics who are enrolled in MFA, PhD, and other terminal-degree programs nationwide.

Fellows are honored with $10,000 grants to support their work, whether it be for job-search expenses or purchasing materials for the studio.

One award will be presented to a practitioner—an artist, designer, and/or craftsperson—and one award will be presented to an art, architecture, and/or design historian, curator, or critic. Fellows also receive a free one-year CAA membership and complimentary registration to the 2018 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February 21-24. Honorable mentions, given at the discretion of the jury, also earn a free one-year CAA membership and complimentary conference registration.

CAA initiated its fellowship program in 1993 to help student artists and art historians bridge the gap between their graduate studies and professional careers.

Learn more about eligibility and the application process for CAA’s Professional-Development Fellowship.

 

Filed under: Grants and Fellowships, Students — Tags:

An Interview with Linda Nochlin

posted by June 08, 2017

CAA is proud to launch CAA Conversations, our newest initiative for fostering academic discussions about art and its purpose through conversations with diverse scholars and practitioners from our community. Every month, executive director Hunter O’Hanian will interview a notable scholar or artist who is making or has made progressive change in his or her field, with the goal to not only learn more about their craft, but to understand the artist or scholar behind it.

Our first interview in this series is with renowned feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, a long time CAA member and author of the pioneering essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” We caught up with Linda at her home on the Upper West Side, where art and inspiring works lined every wall of her apartment. Read the full conversation below (or click the video!) to hear Linda recount the early beginnings of her career, her thoughts on feminism then and now, her advice to young scholars, and a sneak preview of her upcoming book, Misère.

A friend…left me Off Our Backs… I stayed up all night reading and I was a feminist the next day.
Hunter O’Hanian: Hello, my name is Hunter O’Hanian, and I’m the Director of the College Art Association. I’m here today with Linda Nochlin. Hello Linda.
Linda Nochlin: Hello.
Hunter O’Hanian: How are you?
Linda Nochlin: I’m okay.
Hunter O’Hanian: You’ve been a member of CAA for a long time. It’s great to have this opportunity to chat with you. Let’s talk a little bit about your background. I know you grew up here in New York, in Brooklyn. You earned degrees from Vassar, Colombia, and NYU. You taught at Colombia, Vassar, Yale. You’ve won many awards from CAA. Most recently you won the 2006 Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for writing in art. I know you’ve won a Guggenheim Fellowship. I know you’re a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. You’ve got an honorary doctorate from Harvard. A lot of it’s really been about what you’ve been doing as far as thinking about, writing about, teaching about art. What brought you to art?
Linda Nochlin: I was always interested. When I was a little kid, I liked to paint and draw. I was very much encouraged to paint and draw both by mother and by my school. Being in New York, I had all these museums. There were a lot of other people who were interested in art that were around me, that were my friends. It seemed sort of natural to go to museums. I enrolled myself when I was 12 in the class for talented children at the Brooklyn Museum. A very interesting place.
Hunter O’Hanian: You enrolled yourself you said?
Linda Nochlin: I went with a portfolio and they said, “Come on.”
Hunter O’Hanian: Great.
Linda Nochlin: I was always interested in art, music, dance. I loved to dance. The arts.
Hunter O’Hanian: Apart from your writing, have you been drawing and making work through your adult life as well?
Linda Nochlin: No, I quit.
Hunter O’Hanian: How come you quit?
Linda Nochlin: Well, I don’t know. I just got interested in writing about it rather than making it.
Hunter O’Hanian: You have a very long history of publishing. There’s certainly a lot of work that you’ve done with Realism and Courbet. What attracted you to that particular period and that particular genre?
Linda Nochlin: Probably it was political I think. It was during the McCarthy period that I came to maturity. I went to the Institute. I really wanted to work on something that was anti-McCarthy. That was left. I was a person of the left and Courbet was the ideal subject in that.
Hunter O’Hanian: Tell me about what you remember of the McCarthy era and what was going on at the time and how artists and writers were dealt with.
Linda Nochlin: It really was a very oppressive period for people in intellectual and artistic pursuits. Even if they didn’t come and get you, that was always a threat lying over. I remember I began my Frick talk with a long quotation from Karl Marx. People were dumbfounded. I remember my teacher said, “Linda, you’re so brazen.” It was scary times.
Hunter O’Hanian: Watching the news today, do you see any similarities?
Linda Nochlin: No. I think it’s a different thing now. It’s scary in a different way, but you can say what you want. Unless you’re in government. I think it is a different take. It’s not good and it’s not pleasant, but I think it’s different.
Hunter O’Hanian: I noticed…. I’ve read that you said you were introduced to feminism in the late 1960s. You were probably in your 30s at that time. You wrote that you became a feminist virtually overnight. Tell me about that.
Linda Nochlin: I had been in Italy in ‘68, ‘69. I came home and a friend came with all these publications and said, “Do you know about feminism”? It was called the women’s movement. I said, “No.” She said, “Read this.” She left me Off Our Backs and rather the somewhat crude broadsheets of the early feminist movement. I stayed up all night reading and I was a feminist the next day. Certainly I always had been to some degree, but I could see now I could become formally as part of an organization, as part of a movement. Yes, I was a feminist.
Hunter O’Hanian: Do you see the movement alive today?
Linda Nochlin: Mm-hmm [affirmative] yes. But, of course, a lot of people I know happen to be feminists. I don’t know how alive it is otherwise. I think it still is.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s interesting. I meet a lot of male feminists, too, which back in the beginning of the movement….
Linda Nochlin: It would be unheard of.
Hunter O’Hanian: It would be unheard of for a man to say he was a feminist. Now there’s many of us who are actually happy to say that.
Linda Nochlin: You think of the Women’s March after the inauguration this year. It was enormous. Enormous. Not every one of those people might be a self-pronounced feminist, but they’re all feminists in the sense that they gathered together to show that they believed in something and were against other things.
Hunter O’Hanian: Of course there’s the essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” that you wrote in 1971. I think ARTnews published that?
Linda Nochlin: Yes.
Hunter O’Hanian: First of all, tell me about the title. How did you end up with that title? Why have there been no great women artists?
Linda Nochlin: I was at a Vassar graduation the year before and I think … I can’t remember who it was. He had a gallery. He was a well known gallerist. He said, “Linda, I would love to show women in my gallery, but why are there no great women artists?” I started really thinking about it and one thought followed another. It almost wrote itself. It seemed all so hitched together, so logical.
Hunter O’Hanian: You address the question in the beginning of the essay about how many great artists there are regardless of their gender, the fact of what actually makes a great artist. Talk a little bit about that.
Linda Nochlin: I refuse to say it’s something inborn, a golden nugget I would say, but artistic greatness, artistic production depends so much on time, place, situation, etc. It was no accident that up through the Renaissance, even the 18th century that artists came in families. Father artists, mother artists. You think of the Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach family, family practice.
What advice would I have for [young scholars]? Be very, very smart. Write a lot. Have a strong opinion. Just don’t be a little library worm.
Hunter O’Hanian: You write in here “The problem lies not so much with some feminist concept of what femininity is, but rather with their misconception shared with the public at large of what art is with the naïve idea that art is the direct personally expression of individual, emotional experience, a translation of personal life into visual terms. Art is almost never that. Great art never is.”
Linda Nochlin: Well that says what I mean. It always takes place within a context, within a setting, certain training, certain standards. What might be considered great art in one period might not be in others. It’s interesting. There’s a certain agreement in the Renaissance. They knew it was Raphael Michelangelo, etc., very little question.
Hunter O’Hanian: You also write here, “the fact of the matter is that there have been no supremely great women artists as far as we know.” I’m happy you added that in, “as far as we know,” although there have been many interesting and very good ones who remain insufficiently investigated or appreciated.
Linda Nochlin: I think that’s been corrected to a certain extent today.
Hunter O’Hanian: Tell me about the ones who have been discovered or investigated.
Linda Nochlin: I suppose Artemisia Gentileschi would be a primary one. Who else?
Hunter O’Hanian: What about women artists in the latter part of the 20th century or beginning part of the 21st century?
Linda Nochlin: I think women artists have definitely caught up as leaders, as being the interesting ones making art and so on. I’m thinking of somebody like Joan Jonas, for example. I’m thinking of somebody like Louise Bourgeois.
Hunter O’Hanian: I was just going to ask you about Louise.
Linda Nochlin: Obviously.
Hunter O’Hanian: Judy Pfaff
Linda Nochlin: The list itself is so long. I’m not saying they’re all Michelangelo, but I’m personally not a Michelangelo person. They’re really interesting and dynamic and have changed the way we look at art, which I think is important.
Hunter O’Hanian: I guess it’s in part because society has allowed them to some degree to be able to do that.
Linda Nochlin: Yes, of course. They had to fight for it, too.
Hunter O’Hanian: Of course. One last quote that I thought was interesting. There’s so much of this essay. I hadn’t read it for years. It’s just so dense. It so wonderful.
Linda Nochlin: It is. I tried to squeeze a lot in.
Hunter O’Hanian: You say “most men despite lip service to equality are reluctant to give up the natural order of things in which their advantages are so great. For women, the case is further complicated by the fact that unlike other oppressed groups or castes, men demand of them not only submission, but unqualified affection as well.”
Linda Nochlin: It’s sort of hard. Say in terms of color, nobody demands that black people love and adore and cater to white people. It’s only gender that does that. It’s very confusing if on the one hand there is somebody you love, live with, etc., yet who is part of a group or caste that is really denying you equality and denying you self-expression. It’s confusing to put it mildly.
Hunter O’Hanian: As we said, we have made progress….
Linda Nochlin: I think so.
Hunter O’Hanian: But how much progress to do you think that we’ve made? How tough do you think it is for a young woman, 30 years old, starting out today?
Linda Nochlin: I think it’s undeniably better. The conditions are better for a woman succeeding, and a lot of the major artists now certainly are women, but there’s still a boys’ club feeling about certain types of art and certain types of artists. I think you know equality has gone so far and no further maybe.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s interesting when you think about it in the sense that we think women have had the right to vote for 100 years, but still they don’t get paid the same wage. It’s been 135 years since the Emancipation Proclamation has been signed.
Linda Nochlin: No, it isn’t just done by words or by the progress of a few superstars either.
Hunter O’Hanian: Switching gears, but also on this one a little bit, obviously you’ve been involved in the academy and artistry for many, many years. What is your sense about the future for people graduating out of a master’s programs or PhD programs and getting jobs in higher education today? What do you think about that?
Linda Nochlin: I think it’s a difficult market as far as I can see. Although there are now galleries and museums throughout the country. It’s not just a question of the east coast and the west coast and Chicago. I think there is a sort of spreading, or a spread of art which allows for some jobs, but being an artist is tough no matter how you take it. I think it’s getting ahead, finding a gallery, getting a proper amount of publicity, making sure you show. It’s hard.
Hunter O’Hanian: What about for scholars, for those getting their PhD about being able to move their careers along? What advice would you have for them?
Linda Nochlin: What advice would I have for them? Be very, very smart. Write a lot. Have strong opinions. Just don’t be a little library worm.
Hunter O’Hanian: It seems your strong opinions have done you well for your career.
Linda Nochlin: I wouldn’t know how to not have them if you know what I mean. That’s what I’m about is my opinions. You have to know something. Frankly I know a great deal. There are very good…. I was a very good student, very good. I worked very hard. I really took pains and energy with my research, not just opinions. They have to be based on something.
Hunter O’Hanian: Can you think of an opinion that you had out there in some of your writing that you looked at it years later and thought, “I wouldn’t have come to the same conclusion?”
Linda Nochlin: I’m sure there are.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s so interesting how we develop those opinions based upon what we believe at a given time.
Linda Nochlin: Oddly enough I’ve remained more or less consistent. I’ve added some artists in, subtracted some, but the ones that I like are still the ones that I’m interested in. At least many of the issues that I was committed to, I’m still committed to.
Hunter O’Hanian: What are you working on now?
Linda Nochlin: I’ve just finished a large book called Misère about the representation about misery in the second half of the 19th century in France and England.
Hunter O’Hanian: Wonderful.
Linda Nochlin: That’s at the publisher right now.
Hunter O’Hanian: When should we expect to see it?
Linda Nochlin: In the fall I should think. Thames & Hudson as usual.*
*Update: Misère is slated for release after Spring 2018. 
Hunter O’Hanian: Are you excited about it?
Linda Nochlin: Yeah, I am. I laughingly said to my editor, “Are you going to be able to sell a book called Misère?” He said, “Misère by Linda Nochlin, yes.” It was fascinating, really interesting. It pulls together a lot of things I’ve been interested in all along. It’s both new territory, but based on elements that I’ve been interested in for a long time.
Hunter O’Hanian: Any nuggets that you want to give away from that that come to mind?
Linda Nochlin: Let me think. There’s been relatively little in investigation of the representation of the poor and oppressed. Middle class Impressionism, etc., upper class before that, religious high-minded themes, battles, just the everyday lives of the poor and “uninteresting,” so to speak, not much setting.
Hunter O’Hanian: It’s interesting because that seems like a very timely topic for us.
Linda Nochlin: Exactly I thought of that too.
Hunter O’Hanian: As we think of how elections change and how government change and how the education system changes about access, I think it seems.…
Linda Nochlin: Absolutely. It was certainly true in the 19th century, early 20th. I think it’s an interesting book. I hope other people find it interesting.
Hunter O’Hanian: I look forward to seeing it. Thank you so much for allowing us here in your home. It was great to chat with you about these things.
Linda Nochlin: Good.
Hunter O’Hanian: I look forward to seeing you at another CAA event soon I hope.
Linda Nochlin: I hope so.
Hunter O’Hanian: Thank you.
Linda Nochlin: I would love to. Thank you.

Image credit: William Glackens, “Beach, St. Jean de Luz.” 1929, oil on canvas, Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1988.8

CAA welcomes applications and letters of intent for the 2018 Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant and the 2017 Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant.

The Terra Foundation grant provides financial support for the publication of book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of American art circa 1500–1980. The grant considers submissions covering what is the current-day geographic United States.

The deadline for letters of intent is September 15, 2017.

Awards of up to $15,000 will be made in three distinct categories:

  • Grants to US publishers for manuscripts considering American art in an international context
  • Grants to non-US publishers for manuscripts on topics in American art
  • Grants for the translation of books on topics in American art to or from English.

More information on Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant, including submissions and guidelines.

The Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant supports the publication of books on American art through the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, administered by CAA.

The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2017.

For this grant program, “American art” is defined as art created in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Eligible for the grant are book-length scholarly manuscripts in the history of American art, visual studies, and related subjects that have been accepted by a publisher on their merits but cannot be published in the most desirable form without a subsidy. The deadline for the receipt of applications is September 15 of each year.

More information on Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, including submissions and guidelines.