CAA News Today

This month CAA debuts several new sections of its website, gathering previously published material and adding new historical content. Read about the Distinguished Scholars, review a full list of Annual Conference dates and locations, see who served as a CAA president, and browse obituaries written especially for the website since mid-2008.

Established in 2001, the Distinguished Scholar Session illuminates and celebrates the contributions of senior art historians who emerged in the wake of World War II. Not intended as a static honor, the event can be viewed as the equivalent of a living Festschrift: an occasion for applauding, examining, and extending a distinguished career in art history and an opportunity for encouraging dialogue between and among several generations of scholars.

The first three Distinguished Scholars are James S. Ackerman, Leo Steinberg, and Phyllis Pray Bober. CAA honored the current recipient, Jonathan Brown of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, at the 2011 Annual Conference in New York.

CAA held its first gathering in 1911 in Urbana, Illinois, as the College Art Section of the Western Drawing and Manual Training Association. After adopting a constitution in May 1912, the newly formed organization held its second meeting seven months later in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Subsequent Annual Conferences have been held across North America, from Boston to San Francisco, Toronto to San Antonio, and Atlanta to Seattle.

The CAA president leads the Board of Directors and represents the organization as a whole for a single two-year term. CAA’s first president, Holmes Smith, was a professor of art at Washington University in St. Louis, where he taught drawing and designed his school’s official sea in 1896. For many decades, though, an art historian led the organization—Henry Radford Hope and Lamar Dodd were notable exceptions. In 1990, visual artists began filling the role more often, with five of the last eleven presidents—including the current one, Barbara Nesin—being practitioners instead of scholars.

In the Obituaries, CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the men and women whose work has had a significant impact on the visual arts. In addition to publishing a semimonthly roundup of recent deaths in the arts, CAA accepts texts written especially for the newsletter and website. Authored obituaries from mid-2008 are collected online, with earlier texts to be published over the coming months.

What is CAA doing today? Read more about important dates and deadlines for the organization’s programs, events, and services in Deadlines. Find out how you can get involved!

Image: Leo Steinberg was the 2002 Distinguished Scholar (photograph by Pamela Blackwell)

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