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CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Mar 20, 2013

Each week CAA News publishes summaries of eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.

Biotechnology as Art Form

It’s natural that some artists spend as much time in the lab as they do in the studio. Over the last three decades, in fact, artists have cultivated human tissue, bred frogs, assembled DNA profiles, and used modified bacteria as electrical transmitters. Bio-art—as this type of work is called—has also begun to surface in museums and avant-garde art festivals, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth in Australia. (Read more in ARTnews.)

What Do University Presses Do?

A book published by the University of Minnesota Press, begun as the author’s dissertation, had been discussed in the New Yorker. This journey, from dissertation to published book and beyond, provides a counter narrative to the rhetoric about scholarly publishers these days, rhetoric which paints us as parasites sucking profit and capital out of the work of scholars, structured around a “conflict” between publishers, libraries, and scholars often oversimplified into a binary. Publishers are interested in profit. Libraries and scholars are not. (Read more in the University of Minnesota Press Blog.)

What Do Cats Have to Do with It? Welcome to LACMA’s New Collections Website

Two years ago, we launched an experiment: an online image library where we made 2,000 high-resolution images of artworks that the museum deemed to be in the public domain available for download without any restrictions. This week, we’ve exceeded ourselves with the launch of our new collections website, giving away ten times the number of images we offered in the initial image library. Nearly 20,000 high-quality images of art from our collection are available to download and use as you see fit (that’s about a quarter of all the art represented on the site). (Read more in Unframed.)

What to Do with Artist’s Work after Death Can Be Vexing

Since the Oakland artist Thomas “Glen” Whittaker died last month, his longtime companion, Marcy Pitts, has faced the daunting task of deciding what to do with about thirty-five paintings and other works he left behind. More specifically, she has wrestled with how to catalog, value, transport, store, and market the works, some of which are several feet wide. At the forefront of Pitts’s mind is a desire to earn Whittaker, who was 62, recognition for his work. (Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

Pre-Tenure Leadership

As the dean of a college whose faculty includes many assistant professors, I am frequently asked for advice on how much service they should undertake. The twin horns of their dilemma? They know that service counts for less than teaching or research in annual and promotion evaluations … but they also know that demonstrating leadership potential through community engagement is important. (Read more in Inside Higher Ed.)

Things I Didn’t Learn in Graduate School

For more than thirty years now, I have benefited in my professional practice in student affairs from having attended some terrific graduate programs. It’s important to say that explicitly, upfront, as I’m about to focus on the things I didn’t learn in graduate school. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Help Desk: Lazy Art Critic

An art critic who writes for local newspaper recently approached me to review a recent show I installed at a local gallery. He is essentially asking me to provide him with my thoughts on my work and, after reading several of his articles, it seems as if he will just quote me at length rather than provide an actual review of my work. Should I indulge him in my eagerness to gain press attention or decline in hopes of a future proposal from a more attentive critic? (Read more in Daily Serving.)

Art without Market, Art without Education: Political Economy of Art

Since the early days of modernism, artists have faced a peculiar dilemma with regard to the economy surrounding their work. By breaking from older artistic formations such as medieval artisan guilds, bohemian artists of the nineteenth century distanced themselves from the vulgar sphere of day-to-day commerce in favor of an idealized conception of art and authorship. While on the one hand this allowed for a certain rejection of normative bourgeois life, it also required that artists entrust their livelihoods to middlemen—to private agents or state organizations. While a concern with labor and fair compensation in the arts, exemplified by such recent initiatives as W.A.G.E. or earlier efforts such as the Art Workers Coalition, has been an important part of artistic discourse, so far it has focused primarily on public critique as a means to shame and reform institutions into developing a more fair system of compensation for “content providers.” It seems to me that we need to move beyond the critique of art institutions if we want to improve the relationship between artists and the economy surrounding their work. (Read more in e-flux Journal.)

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