CAA News Today

New Book on the History of CAA: The Eye, the Hand, the Mind

posted by Christopher Howard — Jan 07, 2011

Edited by Susan Ball, executive director emerita, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association surveys the impressive history of the organization from 1911 to the present. The 330-page hardcover book, published jointly by CAA and Rutgers University Press, can be ordered now ($29.95); it will also be available at the upcoming Annual Conference in New York—just in time for CAA’s Centennial Kickoff.

CAA was founded with a single stated purpose: “to promote art interests in all divisions of American colleges and universities.” From this humble yet ambitious origin, Ball has organized her book thematically instead of chronologically, with sixteen “purposes” from the CAA By-laws that are covered in twelve chapters. Written by artists and scholars who have worked closely with the organization over the last few decades, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind offers not a comprehensive history but rather a presentation of memorable highlights that tells the complex, contentious story of a venerable organization.

The Eye, the Hand, the Mind reviews familiar aspects of CAA. Craig Houser negotiates the long history of CAA’s dynamic publications program, which began in 1913 with the first issue of The Art Bulletin, and Julia A. Sienkewicz chronicles the evolution of the celebrated Annual Conference. Less known is CAA’s traveling-exhibition program in the 1930s, uncovered by Cristin Tierney. More recently, Ellen K. Levy explores how CAA has similarly supported presentations of artwork by its members, both students and professionals. Other authors investigate myriad other topics: developments in pedagogy and curriculum; political involvements and advocacy work; visual resources, libraries, and issues of copyright; professional support and career development; partnerships with museums and their associations; relationships to other learned societies in the humanities; governance structure and diversity matters; and much more. In the conclusion, Paul B. Jaskot anticipates the future of the organization as it enters its next one hundred years.

Ball, who served as CAA executive director from 1986 to 2006, is now director of programs at the New York Foundation for the Arts. In addition to organizing the book project, she wrote the introduction and contributed a chapter on the founding of CAA, administrative and financial matters, and the organization’s larger role in the visual arts.

The renowned artist Faith Ringgold has generously allowed the use of her lithograph, The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles (1996), for the book’s cover. She created the work, published by the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper (now the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions), as a benefit print to support CAA’s Professional Development Fellowship Program. Ringgold will be honored this year with CAA’s Distinguished Feminist Award.

Events at the Annual Conference

At the Annual Conference, CAA and Rutgers University Press are planning several events to promote The Eye, the Hand, the Mind. Judith K. Brodsky will operate a table outside Convocation, to be held at the Hilton New York on Wednesday evening, February 9, 2011, in the East Ballroom, Third Floor. Book signings with many of the contributors will take place in CAA’s Book and Trade Fair, also at the Hilton, on Thursday and Friday afternoons, February 10–11. Please check back later this month for more details on these events and more.

Table of Contents

Below is a list of the fifteen authors and their chapter titles:

  • Susan Ball, “Introduction”
  • Steven C. Wheatley, “The Learned Society Enterprise”
  • Susan Ball, “The Beginnings: “Art for higher education, and higher education for Artists”
  • Cristin Tierney, “A Stimulating Prospect: CAA’s Traveling Exhibition Program, 1929–1937”
  • Barry Pritzker, “Cooperative Relationships with Museums”
  • Craig Houser, “The Changing Face of Scholarly Publishing: CAA’s Publications Program”
  • Julia A. Sienkewicz, “United the Arts and the Academy: A History of the CAA Annual Conference”
  • Ofelia Garcia, “Mentoring the Profession: Career Development and Support”
  • Ellen K. Levy, “Art in an Academic Setting: Contemporary CAA Exhibitions”
  • Matthew Israel, “CAA, Pedagogy, and Curriculum: A Historical Effect, An Unparalleled Wealth of Ideas”
  • Christine L. Sundt, “Visual Resources for the Arts”
  • Judith K. Brodsky, Mary D. Garrard, and Ferris Olin, “Governance and Diversity”
  • Karen J. Leader, “CAA Advocacy: The Nexus of Art and Politics”
  • Paul B. Jaskot, “Conclusion: The Next 100 Years”

The book also includes four appendices that list CAA’s sixteen purposes, past presidents of the Board of Directors, volunteer and staff administrators, and the editors from the publications program.