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CAA News Today

2011 Annual Conference Summary

posted by Nia Page — Mar 02, 2011

The College Art Association recently held its 99th Annual Conference and Centennial Kickoff at the Hilton New York in midtown Manhattan. Taking place February 9–12, 2011, the conference began the organization’s yearlong celebration of its one hundredth anniversary. The program comprised four days of presentations and discussions on art, art history, and visual culture; career-development workshops, mentoring programs, and job interviews with colleges and universities; a Book and Trade Fair featuring publishers of art books and journals, manufacturers of artists’ materials, and providers of various services for artists and academics; and a host of special events throughout the New York area.


The New York conference was not only the largest CAA has produced, it was also the best attended. More than seven thousand art professionals from across the United States and around the world—including artists, art historians, students, educators, curators, critics, collectors, and museum staff—came the event.


The conference offered more than two hundred sessions, panels, and talks—all developed by CAA’s members, affiliated societies, and committees. These sessions, which featured presentations from participants and institutions across the country and internationally, addressed a wide range of topics. With papers and presentations as manifold as “The Aesthetics of Sonic Spaces,” “Gender and Sexuality in the Art Museum,” and “Civic Performance and the Genesis of the Roman Social Cityscape,” the 2011 conference was highly diverse.

CAA also organized seven special Centennial Sessions in which invited panelists from different corners of the visual arts—among them Mark Tribe, Griselda Pollock, and James Elkins—came together to debate core concepts, such as diversity, experience, feminism, globalization, medium, technology, and tradition.

Career Services

Career Services included three days of mentoring and portfolio-review sessions, workshops and roundtables on professional-development issues, and job interviews. Approximately one hundred schools, academic departments, and institutions conducted interviews at the conference. Workshops addressed such topics as planning for retirement, advice for new instructors, securing a job in the arts, and self-marketing for artists.

Book and Trade Fair

The Book and Trade Fair presented 149 exhibitors, including participants from the United States, Turkey, Spain, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium, displaying new publications, artists’ materials, digital resources, and innovative products of interest to artists and scholars. The Book and Trade Fair also featured book signings, lectures, and demonstrations, as well as three exhibitor sessions on artists’ materials and publishing.

ARTspace and ARTexchange

ARTspace, a “conference within the conference” tailored to the needs and interests of practicing artists, presented the Annual Artists’ Interviews with Krzysztof Wodiczko and Mel Chin, as well as wealth of presentations and programming by and for artists. ARTexchange, an open-portfolio event in which artist members displayed their small paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and work on laptops, hosted over fifty artists this year.

Convocation and Centennial Awards

More than six hundred people attended Convocation and the Centennial Awards Presentation, held at the Hilton New York on Wednesday, February 9. Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, spoke about the importance of the humanities, and eco-art pioneers Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison delivered a lively keynote address.

On the occasion of CAA’s centennial year, the Board of Directors presented four awards to living individuals who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the visual arts in the United States. The recipients of CAA’s four Centennial Awards are:

  • Stuart E. Eizenstat, attorney and former US ambassador, Centennial Award for Protecting Art as a Cultural Product, presented by Paul Jaskot of DePaul University
  • Agnes Gund, arts advocate and philanthropist, Centennial Award for Service to the Field, presented by Ann Temkin of the Museum of Modern Art
  • Philippe de Montebello, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Centennial Award for Leadership, presented by Linda Downs, CAA executive director
  • Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, collectors of contemporary art, Centennial Award for Patronage, presented by Anne Goodyear of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Awards for Distinction

Each year CAA recognizes the accomplishments of individual artists, art historians, authors, conservators, curators, and critics whose efforts transcend their individual disciplines and contribute to the profession as a whole and to the world at large. More than four hundred people attended the presentation of the 2011 Awards for Distinction in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday, February 10.

The recipients of CAA’s 2011 Awards for Distinction are:

  • Lynda Benglis, Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • John Baldessari, Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work
  • Mieke Bal, Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art
  • Luis Camnitzer, Frank Jewett Mather Award
  • Faith Ringgold, Distinguished Feminist Award
  • William Itter, Distinguished Teaching of Art Award
  • Patricia Hills, Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award
  • Molly Emma Aitken, Charles Rufus Morey Book Award for The Intelligence of Tradition in Rajput Court Painting
  • Darielle Mason, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award for Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal
  • Yasufumi Nakamori, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions for Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture
  • Ross Barrett, Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize for “Rioting Refigured: George Henry Hall and the Picturing of American Political Violence”
  • Kirsten Swenson, Janet Kraynak, Paul Monty Paret, and Emily Eliza Scott, Art Journal Award for “Land Use in Contemporary Art”
  • Joyce Hill Stoner, CAA/Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation

Centennial Book

CAA introduced The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association, a new book that surveys the impressive history of the organization from 1911 to the present. Susan Ball, executive director emerita, edited the 330-page hardcover book, which was published jointly by CAA and Rutgers University Press.

Special Events

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted CAA’s Centennial Reception in the Great Hall and the Temple of Dendur. Hunter College offered its expansive galleries for the CAA Regional MFA Exhibition, which surveyed work by artists from twenty institutions within one hundred miles of New York. The New York Center for Art and Media Studies (NYCAMS) hosted the CAA Regional BFA Exhibition, which featured seventeen undergraduate student artists from seven area BFA programs. Sold-out tours explored the riches of New York’s cultural attractions, from a Chelsea Gallery District excursion to a preview tour of the Museum for African Art.

Save the Date

CAA will conclude its Centennial Celebration at the 100th Annual Conference, to be held February 22–25, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.

About CAA

The College Art Association is dedicated to providing professional services and resources for artists, art historians, and students in the visual arts. CAA serves as an advocate and a resource for individuals and institutions nationally and internationally, offering forums to discuss the developments in art and art history through its Annual Conference, publications, exhibitions, website, and other avenues. CAA focuses on a wide range of issues, including education in the arts, freedom of expression, intellectual-property rights, cultural heritage and preservation, and workforce topics in universities and museums. Representing its members’ professional needs since 1911, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism, and teaching.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Centennial