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Affiliated Society News for May 2011

posted by May 09, 2011

American Society of Hispanic Art Historical Studies

Janice Mann

Janice Mann’s Romanesque Architecture and Its Sculptural Decoration in Christian Spain, 1000–1120 won the 2011 Eleanor Tufts Award

The American Society of Hispanic Art Historical Studies (ASHAHS) has announced the recipients of two annual awards, with one honorable mention, at a business meeting held during the CAA Annual Conference in February 2011. The Eleanor Tufts Award, which recognizes an outstanding English-language publication in Spanish or Portuguese art history, went to Janice Mann for Romanesque Architecture and Its Sculptural Decoration in Christian Spain, 1000–1120: Exploring Frontiers and Defining Identities (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009). In addition, the jurors selected Giles Knox’s The Late Paintings of Velázquez: Theorizing Painterly Performance (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009) as an honorable mention. The winner of the ASHAHS Photographs Grant is Kelly Watt of the University of Louisville, who is conducting research for her dissertation, “Medieval Churches on the Spanish Frontier: How Elite Emulation in Architecture Contributed to the Transformation of a Territorial Expansion into Reconquista.”

Art Libraries Society of North America

The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) has awarded its 2010 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award to Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles: The Mary Hunt Kahlenberg Collection (New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2010). Edited by Ruth Barnes and Mary Hunt Kahlenberg, this large, beautifully produced catalogue includes stunning, detailed photographs of many rare and unique textiles and essays by expert art historians and anthropologists that seamlessly connect the history and cultural significance of these aesthetically beautiful weavings for the reader. Aimée Brown Price’s Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010) received the honorable mention. Her exceptional two-volume set includes a scholarly monograph on the artist and a catalogue raisonné of his painted works. ARLIS/NA presented the two awards at a joint conference with the Visual Resources Association, another CAA affiliated society, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 25, 2011.

Association for Latin American Art

The Association for Latin American Art (ALAA) announces the election results for its executive committee: Margaret A. Jackson of the University of New Mexico holds the office of president; Elisa Mandell of California State University, Fullerton, is the new vice president; and Paul Niell of the University of North Texas becomes secretary-treasurer. As advocates for all areas and periods of Latin American art, committee members hold office for a three-year term (2011–13).

Association of Academic Museums and Galleries

The Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG) will hold its next annual conference, “Who’s Muse? Challenges to the Curatorial Profession in Academic Museums,” on May 21, 2011, at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum in Texas. Curatorial practices in academic museums and galleries are sometimes highly experimental. Faculty members from a wide variety of fields and with limited curatorial experience periodically recommend and help lead exhibition projects. The organization of exhibitions likewise engages both graduate and undergraduate students, museum-education professionals, librarians, and even area school classes in project leadership roles. Exhibitions thus generated offer unorthodox approaches to curatorial planning and execution. Appropriate to a scholarly mission, they can stretch disciplinary boundaries, cross-fertilize disciplinary methodologies, and generate wholly new paradigms for knowledge. Academic museums and galleries thus become vital centers of original research, interdisciplinary dialogue, and participatory learning. While this democratic and laboratory approach to curatorial practice contributes in significant ways to the groundbreaking research and all-important teaching missions of universities and colleges, it can also challenge conventional standards of the curatorial profession. Through the presentation of outstanding case studies and lively roundtable discussions, the 2011 conference will explore the pros and cons of the broad curatorial approaches found in academic museums and galleries.

Association of Art Historians

Art History, the flagship journal of the Association of Art Historians (AAH), has just published a special issue on “Creative Writing and Art History.” Guest edited by Patricia Rubin of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and Catherine Grant of the Courtauld Institute of Art and Goldsmiths, University of London), this collection of articles and projects considers the ways in which the writing of art history intersects with creative writing, from the creative writing of art history to dialogues between modes of creative and art-historical writing. Essays range from the analysis of historical examples of scholarship that have a creative element to presentations of contemporary modes of creative writing about art.

Association of Historians of American Art

The Association of Historians of American Art (AHAA) has announced the names of new board members: Peter John (P. J.) Brownlee of the Terra Foundation of American Art is chair (2011–12); Jenny Carson of Maryland Institute College of Art is cochair (2011–12); Elizabeth Kuebler-Wolf of the University of Saint Francis is web coordinator (2011–14); and Melissa Renn of the Harvard University Art Museums is membership coordinator (2011–14).

AHAA has named the winner of the $500 AHAA Travel Grant: Maggie Cao, a graduate student at Harvard University and a predoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She delivered a paper, “Invisible Color: Abbott Handerson Thayer and Camouflage,” in the AHAA-sponsored scholarly session, “Color and Nineteenth-Century American Painting,” at the recent CAA Annual Conference in New York.

Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art

Edouard Manet

Édouard Manet, Summer or the Amazon, ca. 1882, oil on canvas, 73 x 52 cm. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (artwork in the public domain)

The Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art (AHNCA) held its eighth annual graduate-student symposium in nineteenth-century art at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, on March 4, 2011. Speakers included ten doctoral candidates from the United States, France, Spain, and Switzerland. AHNCA will also hold a special event for its members this summer in conjunction with the current exhibition, Manet, the Man Who Invented Modernity, at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey

Created in honor of a dear friend and colleague, Rhonda A. Saad (1979–2010) and sponsored by donations from numerous generous individuals, the Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) has established the Rhonda A. Saad Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Modern Arab Art. The award, which aims to recognize and promote excellence in scholarship on modern and contemporary art, is offered annually to a graduate student (defined as predissertation) working in any discipline whose paper is judged to provide the most significant contribution to Middle Eastern studies and art history. Papers will be evaluated according to the originality of research and methodological approach, cogency of argument, and clarity of writing. The submission must be written in English by a single author. AMCA will award $500 to the winner at the Middle East Studies Association annual meeting in December 2011. The paper must have been produced between June 2010 and June 2011; must not exceed thirty-five pages, excluding notes and bibliography; and must not be or have ever been submitted for publication. Applicants should send their entry for the inaugural prize to by June 30, 2011.

Historians of British Art

Marcia Pointon

Marcia Pointon won an HBA prize for post-1800, single-author book for Brilliant Effects: A Cultural History of Gem Stones and Jewellery

The Historians of British Art (HBA) recently announced the winners of its 2011 Book Prizes for publications on British art. Kevin Sharpe received the award for pre-1800, single-author book for Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in Sixteenth-Century England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009). Marcia Pointon won the prize for post-1800, single-author book for Brilliant Effects: A Cultural History of Gem Stones and Jewellery (New Haven: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, in association with Yale University Press, 2010); and Elizabeth Prettejohn, Peter Trippi, Robert Upstone, and Patty Wageman received the multiauthor publication honor for J. W. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2009).

The HBA awarded its Publication Grant to Leon Wainwright for Timed Out: Art and the Transnational Caribbean, forthcoming from Manchester University Press in 2011. Lyrica Taylor received the HBA Travel Grant to present a paper, “Winifred Knights and Interwar Artists at the British School at Rome, 1920–1925,” at the Association of Art Historians’s 2011 conference, held at the University of Warwick, March 31–April 2, 2011.

Historians of Islamic Art Association

At its 2011 annual business meeting, the Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA) recognized the visionary leadership of Renata Holod as president (2008–10) and welcomed Shreve Simpson as her successor (2010–12). Members chose Sheila Canby as president-elect (to follow Simpson), and Lara Tohme became the new webmaster. HIAA also decided to separate the secretary-treasurer position, currently held by Glaire Anderson. Anderson will continue serving as treasurer, and Ladan Akbarnia will be acting secretary for 2011.

HIAA also announced the winner of its 2011 Margaret B. Sevcenko Prize in Islamic Art and Culture for the best unpublished article written by a young scholar: Silvia Armando of the Università della Tuscia in Viterbo, Italy, for her paper on “Ugo Monneret de Villard (1881–1954) and the Establishment of Islamic Art Studies in Italy.” The organization then described several new initiatives, including the establishment of the Oleg Grabar Memorial Fund and the Richard Ettinghausen Achievement Award. The venue and dates for the third biennial symposium were given: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, October 18–20, 2012. Finally, HIAA announced plans to organize a memorial service for Grabar with the Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture, which took place at Harvard University on April 23, 2011, at 2:00 PM.

International Center of Medieval Art

At its annual meeting for 2011, the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) announced the election of new officers and a new group of directors, all to serve three-year terms. Lawrence Nees is president, Nancy Sevcenko became vice president, and Gerry Guest is secretary. Rebecca Corrie continues as treasurer. The new directors elected by the membership are Eva Hoffman, Melanie Holcomb, Charles McClendon, Elizabeth Morrison, Kirsten Noreen, Elizabeth Teviotdale, Benjamin Withers.

At the CAA Annual Conference, ICMA sponsored a well-attended and stimulating interdisciplinary session, “Medicine and Science in Medieval Visual Culture.” Organized and chaired by Jennifer Borland, the panel features papers from Megan McNamee, Kathleen Crowther, Jean Givens, Talia Avisar, and Jack Hartnell. ICMA thanks the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for a generous grant that underwrote some of the travel costs for speakers.

ICMA seeks proposals for the 2011–12 Harvey Stahl Lectureship. Named in memory of a longtime professor of medieval art at the University of California, Berkeley, the fund supports talks by distinguished scholars in any field of medieval art history, to be held at one or more locations. The precise number of venues depends on the availability of funds and the readiness of local host institutions to provide hospitality. While lectures may take place anywhere in North America, proposals that involve a venue in the Southwest (particularly New Mexico) are given priority, with the goal of having at least one event in that region every three years. Due to the current financial climate, ICMA cannot fund speakers who must travel from outside North America. Applications for the 2011–12 Stahl Lectureship should consist of a completed application form (available on the ICMA website) and CV(s) of the host(s). Please direct all lectureship proposals and inquiries to: Kirk Ambrose, Department of Art and Art History, 318 UCB, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0318. Deadline: May 15, 2011.

Italian Art Society

The Italian Art Society (IAS) has elected its new officers for 2011–13 terms: Kirstin Noreen of Loyola Marymount University is president, and Cathleen Fleck of Saint Louis University is vice president. The society also welcomes new committee members: Niall Atkinson, Jennie Hirsh, Martina Bagnoli, Sara Kozlowski, Catherine Hess, and Ian Verstegen. David Boffa, Rebekah Perry, Gilbert Jones, and Lisa Tom are members of a newly formed Graduate Student Committee. Jasmine Cloud of Temple University and Rebekah Perry of the University of Pittsburgh received 2011 Graduate Student Travel Grants to give papers, respectively, at the Renaissance Society of America’s annual meeting in Montreal, Quebec, and the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

IAS has selected Alison Luchs, curator of early European sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, to present the 2011 Italian Art Society–Kress Foundation Lecture. Her talk, entitled “The Wake of Desiderio: His Impact on Sculpture of the Late Quattrocento,” will take place at the historic Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence at 4:00 PM on June 8, 2011.

Japanese Art History Forum

Japanese Art History Forum

The new officers of the Japanese Art History Forum (JAHF) are: John Carpenter, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, president; Monika Dix, Saginaw Valley State University, vice president; John Szostak, University of Hawai‘i, Manoa, treasurer; Alicia Volk, University of Maryland, College Park, secretary; and Asato Ikeda, University of British Columbia, graduate-student representative.

Leonardo Education and Art Forum

Leonardo Education and Art Forum (LEAF) thanks those members who organized events, panels, and meetings at the 2011 CAA Annual Conference in New York. Special thanks goes to Ellen K. Levy, who, after making significant contributions on behalf of LEAF, has rotated off as former chair. Levy and Victoria Vesna hosted a LEAF event, called “ART SCI Salon,” at the former’s studio in New York on April 9, 2011. The salon theme was “Art and Neuroscience,” and attendees participated in a Pecha Kucha–style presentation of their work.

Midwest Art History Society

The Midwest Art History Society (MAHS) recently hosted its thirty-eighth annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Held April 14–16, 2011, the conference was hosted jointly by Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, with additional support from the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. The event offered twenty scholarly sessions, including special topics on the body in art, conservation, gardens as art, and public sculpture. Several featured events included an evening dialogue with the iconic American artist Jim Dine, who joined the conference at the Meijer Gardens on April 14, and a presentation by Rebecca Zorach, author of the acclaimed book Blood, Milk, Ink, Gold: Abundance and Excess in the French Renaissance (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).

National Council of Arts Administrators

National Council of Arts Administrators

Three National Council of Arts Administrators (NCAA) members, Cora Lynn Diebler, Kim Russo, and Andrea Eis, presented a highly successful CAA Annual Conference session on the uses of social media.

The next NCAA annual meeting, entitled “Push: The Artistic Engine of Innovation,” will take place November 2–5, 2011, at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. The NCAA board seeks proposals for presentations, sessions, and/or panels for the annual Arts Administrators Workshops, scheduled for Wednesday, November 2. Initial proposals should be no more than 350 words. Topics may include but are not limited to: leadership and management; promotion and tenure; interpersonal communication; succeeding with external constituencies; budget management; personnel evaluation; personal growth; career paths; and case studies (in any area related to arts administration). Please send proposals and inquiries to Sergio Soave by May 16, 2011. Selected entries will be asked to submit a 1,000-word abstract by June 20.

Radical Art Caucus

The Radical Art Caucus (RAC) had a strong presence at the CAA Annual Conference this year. Many thanks to Benj Gerdes and Nate Harrison for chairing “Video Art as Mass Medium” and to RAC copresident Travis Nygard for organizing “Environmental Sustainability in Art History, Theory, and Practice.” RAC especially is grateful to Dan S. Wang for his hard work on the beautifully designed RAC newsletter, reaching hundreds of participants at CAA. At the annual reception, the group held a compelling discussion on academic organizing, thanks to Nayla Wren. Please help RAC continue its important discussions by joining as a member or contributing to dialogues on Facebook or the listserv. For more information, please contact Joanna Gardner-Huggett, RAC secretary.

Society for Photographic Education

Society for Photographic Education

The Society for Photographic Education (SPE) seeks proposals for its forty-ninth national conference, called “Intimacy and Voyeurism: The Public/Private Divide in Photography” and taking place March 22–25, 2012, in San Francisco, California. Topics, which need not be theme based, may include but are not limited to: image making, history, contemporary theory and criticism, new technologies, effects of media and culture, educational issues, and funding. The conference offers six presentation formats: (1) Lecture: presentation on historical topic, theory, or another artist’s work; (2) Imagemaker: presentation on your own artistic work (photography, film, video, performance and installation, multidisciplinary approaches); (3) Panel: a moderator-led group discussing a chosen topic; (4) Demonstration: a how-to presentation; (5) Graduate Student: short presentation of your own artistic work and a brief introduction to your graduate program (you must be enrolled in a graduate program at the time of submission); and (6) Academic Practicum Workshop: lectures and panels that address educational issues. SPE membership is required to submit; proposals are peer reviewed. Visit the SPE website for information on membership and to read the full proposal guidelines. Deadline: June 1, 2011.

Society of Architectural Historians

The sixty-fourth annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) was held April 13–17, 2011, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Thirty thematic paper sessions presented the latest research in the history of architecture, landscapes, and urbanism. In addition, the meeting featured more than twenty-five architectural tours to the Garden District, the Lower Ninth Ward, the Make it Right Foundation neighborhood, and other notable sites and landscapes throughout the city.

SAH currently seeks abstracts of papers for the sixty-fifth annual meeting, to be held April 18–22, 2012, in Detroit, Michigan. Visit the SAH website to view the full list of sessions and to read instructions on how to submit your abstract online. A PDF describing all session is also available. Deadline: June 1, 2011.

Visual Resources Association

Visual Resources Association

The Visual Resources Association (VRA) republished its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) webpage in a new format in January 2011, after the IPR Committee completed its reorganization project. Called Resources Providing Guidance on Academic Use of Images, the section is arranged into eight sections of information about copyright and fair use that are important to the educational community. Maintenance and workability of current information and the incorporation of new resources guided this revision, and the contents have been more efficiently laid out and are easier to navigate. In other news, VRA has developed fair-use guidelines regarding the use of images in educational settings, and the IPR Committee has begun publishing a monthly news blog, called IPR in the News.

Filed under: Affiliated Societies

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts produces a curated list, called CWA Picks, of recommended exhibitions and events related to feminist art and scholarship in North America and around the world.

The CWA Picks for May 2011 include an exhibition of new work by Uta Barth at the Art Institute of Chicago, a career-spanning survey for Loïs Mailou Jones at the Women’s Museum in Dallas, and a show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, called Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.

In addition, two events—a graduate-student symposium and a lecture by Gail Levin—will take place next weekend (May 14–15) at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Check the archive of CWA Picks at the bottom of the page, as several museum and gallery shows listed in previous months may still be on view or touring.

Image: Chrissie Hynde’s jacket for the cover of the Pretenders’ self-titled debut album from 1980 (photograph provided by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum)

Filed under: Committees, Exhibitions

Art Journal has just published timely new features by two artists on its recently launched website.

Liz Magic Laser’s InterAct is an interview-performance hybrid. For Act I, the artist and her crew took part in a conversation with Christopher Y. Lew, a curator at MoMA PS1, at the East River Park Amphitheater in New York. The group then transcribed the discussion and staged it in the same outdoor space several weeks later, as Act II. Art Journal’s website features the full script along with photographs of the event and other works by Laser. This Friday and Saturday in New York (May 6–7), the Times Square Alliance is presenting Laser’s Flight (2010), a compilation of reenacted scenes on staircases from two dozen classic films, including Battleship Potemkin and American Psycho.

For his quizzically titled “X jxm vlr rpb pelria ilpb vlr,” Paul Chan discusses five conceptual maps from his 2007 project Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, staged on the post-Katrina streets of that city. The Art Journal piece coincides with the publication this week of Chan’s e-book, Waiting for Godot in New Orleans: A Field Guide (Badlands Unlimited and Creative Time Books). The artist’s images and text open a window onto his process in creating this major work.

Image: Performers for Liz Magic Laser’s Flight in Times Square (photograph by Ka-Man Tse for the Times Square Alliance)

Filed under: Art Journal, Publications

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)

Filed under: CAA News

Lucille A. Roussin, an attorney with a background in art history, reports on a recent daylong program that took place at the Cardozo School of Law in New York on March 31, 2011. The first two paragraphs are below; you may also read the full article.

Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: From the Holocaust to the Haitian Earthquake

The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York hosted an all-day conference, entitled “Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: From the Holocaust to the Haitian Earthquake,” on March 31, 2011. The program brought together experts in both human-rights law and Holocaust-era restitution law. Its organizers also invited specialists in the same areas who had not previously engaged this important topic.

The program commenced with opening remarks by Allan Gerson, chairman of AG International Law PLLC, a Washington, DC–based law firm specializing in complex issues of international law and politics. During his talk on “Civil Litigation to Secure Cultural Property as a Human Right,” he spoke of the continuing debate over the existence of a recognized human right to secure restitution of cultural property and, when a victim is deprived of actual possession, the right to just compensation. Gerson included news about his current litigation against the Metropolitan Museum of Art over Paul Cézanne’s Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (1891) and Yale University over Vincent van Gogh’s The Night Café (1888). Both cases involve major issues in international law, including the Act of State Doctrine and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Read the full article in the Features section.

Filed under: Cultural Heritage, Legal Issues

The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, and have provided important platforms for the open discussion of scholarly, theoretical, and practical issues in the visual arts. With the Centennial year in mind, CAA hopes that you will support the three journals with a generous gift to the 2011 Publications Fund.

Published respectively since 1913 and 1929, The Art Bulletin and Art Journal have grown from their original roots in pedagogy to become authoritative voices in the history and practice of art. Even now, after ninety-eight years in publication, The Art Bulletin continues to evolve and cultivate new interest: the journal witnessed, for example, a 35 percent increase in manuscript submissions during the past year. Upcoming features include interviews with senior scholars and short-form explorations that address the motivations of art historians working today.

Art Journal recently launched a dynamic website, which not only provides free access to select articles from each print issue but also publishes exclusive web-only features. In addition to presenting time-based art online, the journal commissions artists to create special projects—such as Dailies, Kerry James Marshall’s year-long project for the magazine’s inside covers—to underscore a commitment to producing visual art as well as scholarship on it.

Founded in 1998 as one of the first born-digital art journals, recently reached its long-held goal of publishing over 150 reviews a year. With timely, insightful criticism on books, exhibitions, articles, conferences, and an expanding array of other works, also presents the titles of dissertations, both completed and in progress, from PhD students in graduate programs across the United States and Canada. The list for calendar year 2010 is forthcoming later this spring.

At the threshold of its next century of activity, CAA remains committed to the superb quality and ongoing development of these highly regarded journals, which are enjoyed by thousands of readers annually and which remain essential resources for students, educators, and practitioners in all areas of the visual arts. Your contribution not only helps to maintain an invaluable platform for the presentation of new research and interpretation, but it also supports the groundbreaking work of emerging and future scholars.

Contributors of $250 and higher are prominently acknowledged in four issues of the printed publication that they support, or on the donor page of; they are also recognized in the Acknowledgments and through CAA News. CAA hopes that you will take your place on any or all of these growing lists of esteemed donors.


posted by May 03, 2011

Lucille A. Roussin is an attorney-at-law who earned a PhD in art history and archaeology from Columbia University. She is the founder and director of the Holocaust Restitution Claims Practicum at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York from which she earned her JD. Roussin introduced the conference and served as moderator of one panel, “Nazi Era Looted Art: Research and Restitution.”

A Conference Report on “Human Rights and Cultural Heritage”

Paul Cézanne, Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory, 1891, oil on canvas, 36¼ x 28¾ in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (artwork in the public domain)

The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York hosted an all-day conference, entitled “Human Rights and Cultural Heritage: From the Holocaust to the Haitian Earthquake,” on March 31, 2011. The program brought together experts in both human-rights law and Holocaust-era restitution law. Its organizers also invited specialists in the same areas who had not previously engaged this important topic.

The program commenced with opening remarks by Allan Gerson, chairman of AG International Law PLLC, a Washington, DC–based law firm specializing in complex issues of international law and politics. During his talk on “Civil Litigation to Secure Cultural Property as a Human Right,” he spoke of the continuing debate over the existence of a recognized human right to secure restitution of cultural property and, when a victim is deprived of actual possession, the right to just compensation. Gerson included news about his current litigation against the Metropolitan Museum of Art over Paul Cézanne’s Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (1891) and Yale University over Vincent van Gogh’s The Night Café (1888). Both cases involve major issues in international law, including the Act of State Doctrine and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.


The first morning panel, entitled “Natural Disasters: Haiti and Beyond,” comprised leaders in the law-related nonprofit world. A former officer of the United States Army, Corine Wegener has witnessed cultural-heritage catastrophes firsthand in Sarajevo, Iraq, and, most recently, Haiti. In 2006 she founded the US Committee of the Blue Shield—the “cultural equivalent of the Red Cross”—and serves as its president. Her illustrated presentation addressed what has been, and is being done, to preserve the many cultural monuments of Haiti since the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Wegener stressed that, because of current law, the US cannot provide aid to endangered nations on its own initiative: the country suffering the disaster must first request assistance. Her current efforts focus on training local communities to conduct preservation work themselves.

As executive vice president and chief operating officer of the New York–based World Monuments Fund, Lisa Ackerman helps lead an organization dedicated to protecting and preserving threatened ancient and historic sites around the globe. Using a wonderful PowerPoint presentation, she demonstrated the evolution of heritage-protection efforts in which she has been involved. Ackerman commented that when floods ravaged Venice in 1966, operations rallied around the city as a cultural icon and saved many important works of art. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, however, community building took precedence over art and architecture. She drove home her point with images of the preservation efforts at the Greater Little Zion Baptist Church in the Ninth Ward, which is not just an architectural gem but the heart of a community. Her two-fold message was a powerful one. First, nonprofits so accustomed to operating on shoestring budgets should not be afraid to think big. Second, widespread public perception that cultural-heritage preservation during times of crisis occurs at the expense of helping humans is a false dilemma. The two-pronged effort in Haiti is an excellent example of how disaster relief led by medical and humanitarian organizations can work side by side with specialists in cultural heritage.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Adam, ca. 1530, oil on panel, 75 x 27½ in. Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena (artwork in the public domain)

Tess Davis, the executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation who has significant preservation experience, particularly in Cambodia and Sri Lanka, summed up the panel. She observed that the public does not realize how important cultural heritage becomes until after the dust settles, floods recede, and immediate humanitarian needs are met. She also emphasized how cultural-heritage preservation should be an up-front part of postwar and disaster-management planning.

The second morning panel concerned “Nazi Era Looted Art: Research and Restitution.” Marc Masurovsky, a leading scholar in this field and the cofounder of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project, led with an historical overview of the restitution of artworks looted during the Holocaust. Inge van der Vlies, a member of the Dutch Restitution Committee in Amsterdam and a professor of constitutional law and of art and law at the University of Amsterdam, considered the workings of Dutch project, its processes, and recent successes. Lucian Simmons, vice president and head of the Restitution Department at the New York branch of Sotheby’s, informed us about the process used at his auction house to determine if a work of art has a questionable provenance. He then illustrated recent restitutions and settlements, discussing research efforts and the outcomes. Lawrence M. Kaye, partner and cochair of the Art Law Group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, spoke of recent major recoveries to the heirs of the Amsterdam art dealer Jacques Goudstikker. Kaye also addressed the current lawsuit against the Norton Simon Museum for two notable pieces from the former Goudstikker collection, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Adam and Eve (both ca. 1530), in which a petition for certiorari has been filed with the US Supreme Court. He then detailed other art cases that his firm had handled, most importantly the restitution of several paintings in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam to the heirs of the Suprematist artist Kasimir Malevich.

One program highlight was the midday keynote address by Howard N. Spiegler, also cochair of the Art Law Group of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, who provided an overview of many aspects of and results in cases involving Holocaust-era looted art. He related several examples, including the recently settled case of United States v. Portrait of Wally, in which the firm represented the heirs of Lea Bondi Jaray, the rightful owner of the Egon Schiele painting, Portrait of Wally (1912). Spiegler referenced a haunting testimonial by Rabbi Israel Singer, who once related that: “Himmler said you have to kill all the Jews because if you don’t kill them, their grandchildren will ask for their property back.”

Moderating the first afternoon session, “Libraries and Archives: Restitution of Recorded Cultural Heritage,” was Lynn Wishart, Cardozo’s associate dean for library services and professor of legal research. Her three panelists examined the many difficult issues with the restitution not of art but of written documents. Jeff Spurr, secretary and board member of the Sabre Foundation (based in Cambridge, Massachusetts), deliberated contesting arguments for the restitution of the ancient Jewish books, papers, and manuscripts rescued from the looting and burning of the Iraq National Library and Archives after the American incursion in 2003. Library representatives contend that the holdings belong to their country’s history, but a Jewish community no longer exists in Iraq. With some support from the American government, former Iraqi Jews in Israel and the US argue that the documents should be given to a living Jewish community. Nathan Lewin, a partner at the Washington, DC–based firm Lewin & Lewin LLP, represented the successful plaintiff, Agudas Chasidei Chabad, against the Russian Federation, discussed the case from the viewpoint of international law, under which the Russian Federation is obligated to return books and documents to the Chabad in New York but has refused. Patricia Krimsted, senior research associate at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute in Massachusetts, provided a history of looting by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) in Western Europe. She noted that the three largest ERR concentrations of books contained works that came from both West and East—but far more originated in the West. Grimsted also highlighted how looted collections (an estimated 600,000 books) that came to rest in the Soviet sectors of postwar Berlin, taken as part of the Soviet trophy brigades. Prospects for restitution today largely hinge on whether the archives ended up in the Soviet or Allied sectors. Six years ago the Russians admitted for the first time that collections were taken to Minsk in November 1945; Grimsted had found scraps of evidence in card catalogues that matched ERR confiscation lists. She questioned how the Russians could view the cultural materials, taken from Jews and published in languages few people in Russia can read, to be compensation for their World War II–era losses and then demand their own compensation to return them.

The second afternoon panel on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) presented a lively discussion on the applicability of the law. Jennifer Anglim Kreder, a professor in the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, conducted a roundtable with four experts on FSIA litigation to explore the intersection of cultural property, human rights, and the War on Terror. The panelists, all based in Washington, DC, were Mark N. Bravin (partner, Winston & Strawn LLP); Lisa Grosh (deputy assistant legal adviser, US Department of State); Laina C. Lopez (attorney, Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe LLP); and Stuart H. Newberger (partner, Crowell & Moring LLP). Bravin has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in FSIA litigation, including McKesson v. Islamic Republic of Iran (plaintiff), ongoing for twenty-five years, and Orkin v. The Swiss Federation, concerning a van Gogh drawing allegedly sold by a Jew under Nazi duress to a Swiss collector in 1933 (defendant). Grosh, who spoke in her individual capacity, was heavily involved with litigation under the FSIA’s Terrorism Amendments, which expressly authorized litigation against nations identified as State Sponsors of Terrorism. Lopez’s firm represents Iran, included in the McKesson case and proceedings brought by plaintiffs who obtained default judgments against Iran under the Terrorism Amendments; the plaintiffs seek to seize and sell Persian antiquities currently held in US museums to partially execute their judgments. The panelists engaged in a fascinating discussion of the mechanics of FSIA litigation, exploring such questions as: Should forced seizure and possible auction of cultural objects be fair game to compensate victims of terrorism? Is litigation or mass-claims resolution a better course to secure justice for terrorism and genocide victims—and for public safety?

In conclusion, “Human Rights and Cultural Heritage,” which brought together new voices in cultural heritage and human rights, was dynamic, informative, and thought provoking.

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