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CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Mar 27, 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.

Outside the Citadel, Social Practice Art Is Intended to Nurture

In Detroit a contemporary-art museum is completing a monument to an influential artist that will not feature his work but will instead provide food, haircuts, education programs, and other social services to the general public. In New York an art organization that commissions public installations has been dispatching a journalist to politically precarious places around the world where she enlists artists and activists—often one and the same—to write for a website that can read more like a policy journal than an art portal. And in St. Louis an art institution known primarily for its monumental Richard Serra sculpture is turning itself into a hub of social activism. If none of these projects sounds much like art, that is precisely the point. (Read more in the New York Times.)

The Troubling Dean-to-Professor Ratio

J. Paul Robinson, chairman of the Purdue University faculty senate, walks the halls of a ten-story tower, pointing out a row of offices for administrators. “I have no idea what these people do,” says the biomedical engineering professor. Purdue has a $313,000-a-year acting provost and six vice and associate vice provosts, including a $198,000-a-year chief diversity officer. Among its sixteen deans and eleven vice presidents are a $253,000 marketing officer and a $433,000 business school chief. The average full professor at the public university in West Lafayette, Indiana, makes $125,000. The number of Purdue administrators has jumped 54 percent in the past decade—almost eight times the growth rate of tenured and tenure-track faculty. (Read more in Business Week.)

Let’s Do Lunch

In master’s programs, and especially at the doctoral level, graduate students depend on their advisers more than on anyone else in their careers. Students do more work for their adviser’s eyes than for anyone else’s, and the adviser’s approval is the key to the door that leads to the next place, whether full-time employment or more school. So an adviser’s criticism of a graduate student’s work can pierce deeper than the tiny hooks on a burr. And the adviser may not know it. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

The Gallery’s Glass Ceiling: Sexism Persists in the German Art World

The art world is typically seen as open and progressive, even radical. But artists and curators in Germany say that, despite slow progress, the art scene is still plagued by widespread sexism and a conservative, macho culture. (Read more in Spiegel Online.)

The Chapman Brothers on Life as Artists’ Assistants

“It was hard labor by any measure,” says Jake Chapman, recalling his and brother Dinos’s apprenticeship as assistants to Gilbert and George. “There was absolutely no creative input at all. They were very polite and it was interesting to hear them talking—as we did our daily penance.” What did the work involve? “Coloring in their prints. We colored in Gilbert and George’s penises for eight hours a day.” (Read more in the Guardian.)

Protect Rights of Artists in New Copyright Law

The head of the US Copyright Office has suggested that it may be time to start considering “the next great Copyright Act.” The last general revision to US copyright law passed in 1976 at the end of a process that took over twenty years. Since then, incredible technological advances have brought new opportunities and challenges to which copyright law has not been immune. In fact, with the advent of digital platforms and the internet, the centuries-old legal doctrine of copyright has perhaps faced more challenges than any other area of the law. (Read more in the Hill.)

Can Unions Save the Creative Class?

They’re just for hard hats. They peaked around the time Elvis was getting big. They killed Detroit. They’ve got nothing to do with you or me. They’re a special interest—and they hate our freedom. That’s the kind of noise you pick up in twenty-first-century America—in politics and popular culture alike—when you tune your station to the issue of trade unions. (Read more in Salon.)

Tackling Concerns of Independent Workers

Soon after landing a job at a Manhattan law firm nearly twenty years ago, Sara Horowitz was shocked to discover that it planned to treat her not as an employee, but as an independent contractor. Her status meant no health coverage, no pension plan, no paid vacation—nothing but a paycheck. She realized that she was part of a trend in which American employers relied increasingly on independent contractors, temporary workers, contract employees, and freelancers to cut costs. (Read more in the New York Times.)

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