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CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Jul 17, 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.

Art Teaching for a New Age

In arts education, something profound is happening that will force us to rethink what and how we teach. Art making has changed radically in recent years. Artists have become increasingly interested in crossing disciplinary boundaries: choreographers use video, sculpture, and text; photographers create “paintings” with repurposed textiles. New technologies enable new kinds of work, like interactive performances with both live and web-based components. International collaboration has become de rigueur. And policy makers and businesspeople have embraced at least the idea of the so-called creative economy, with cities rushing to establish arts districts, and business schools collaborating with design schools. (Read more in the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Academia’s Pink-Collar Workforce

Victoria Baldassano, an English instructor at Montgomery College and the mother of a child with disabilities, thought turning to teaching from her previous career as a journalist would offer more stable pay and a better career path. But in the nearly eight years she’s been working at the community college, she hasn’t seen much improvement in the long hours, the inadequate office space and the poor salary. Recently president of the SEIU Local 500 at Montgomery, Baldassano and her fellow part-time faculty workers are beginning to organize for better pay and working conditions. (Read more in the Nation.)

Arts Leader Sentiment Survey Results

Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research has released the results of its Arts Manager Sentiment Survey, which collected and analyzed national arts leaders’ opinions on the health of the nation’s cultural sector across a range of disciplines. The survey results indicated that, overall, arts leaders have a positive outlook for the future of their organizations in areas like attendance and revenue streams. (Read more from Southern Methodist University.)

Arts Education Has Many Benefits, but Links to Improved Academics Are Limited

A comprehensive new report called Art for Art’s Sake: The Impact of Arts Education outlines the benefits and limits of arts education by digging into data and outlining what research has already been established in the field. Among the findings: Learning music can boost students’ IQ scores and visual arts likely help students’ understanding of geometrical reasoning. But the report also notes that there’s no evidence theater and dance help with overall academic skills. (Read more from Southern California Public Radio.)

US Government Strengthen Ties with UNESCO

The United States government has confirmed it is committed to restoring relations with UNESCO, with the intention of resuming funding to the cultural agency. On July 9, President Barack Obama announced that the lawyer and writer Crystal Nix-Hines, who also raised funds for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, has been nominated as the next US ambassador to UNESCO. If the Senate approves her post, Nix-Hines will succeed David Killion, whose four-year term is up this summer. (Read more in the Art Newspaper.)

Mind the Gap

When Stanford University enrolled over 100,000 students in its first massive open online courses (MOOCs) in fall 2011, the subjects were database architecture and artificial intelligence. A small but growing number of MOOCs is growing in the humanities, the largest of which is a course in modern and contemporary poetry, which enrolled 36,000 students this fall. The Museum of Modern Art has offered online courses since fall 2010, which are neither massive (enrollment is capped in the low double-digits) nor free (a five-week course costs $350). Last fall I took an online course in contemporary art at MoMA, and enrolled simultaneously in the poetry class, to see what it was like. (Read more in Artforum.)

The Rapper Is Present

Three years ago, when the performance artist Marina Abramović sat in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art for 750 hours, many people who had waited in long lines to sit across from her melted down in her presence. Abramović remained silent and still, enduring thirst, hunger, and back pain (and speculation as to how, exactly, she was or was not peeing), while visitors, confronted with her placid gaze, variously wept, vomited, stripped naked, and proposed marriage. But the other day, at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea, where Jay-Z was presenting his own take on Abramović’s piece—rapping for six hours in front of a rotating cast of art-world VIPs—viewers’ primary response was to get up and dance. (Read more in the New Yorker.)

Rescued Art: Meet Rodney Parrott, the King of Thrift-Store Finds

Last year was a banner year for dramatic art finds. A Salvador Dalí etching surfaced at Goodwill, a possible Leonardo da Vinci painting turned up at a Scottish farmhouse, and a $100,000 avian masterpiece was found in the dusty corners of someone’s attic. The series of unexpected discoveries made us wonder just how easy it is to uncover a fine art treasure outside a high-priced gallery. (Read more in the Huffington Post.)

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