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CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Dec 18, 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.

Delusions in Detroit

Since last spring, when Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, said that he might have to sell art from the city-owned collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts to help pay off the city’s $18 billion in debt, the museum has been operating in a state of unreality. Less than a year after voters in three nearby counties approved a property tax to fund the DIA for ten years, the museum’s survival was again endangered. (Read more from the Wall Street Journal.)

DIA Joins Deal in Works with Mediators That Would Protect Art and Pensions

A potential grand bargain that could shield the Detroit Institute of Arts from the reach of creditors in the city’s bankruptcy while bolstering at-risk city pensions took a key step forward. The museum embraced publicly, for the first time, the broad outline of a federally mediated deal that would protect its art from sale and spin off the museum from city ownership into an independent nonprofit. The deal would raise roughly $500 million from a consortium of national and local charitable foundations and funnel the money into retiree pensions on behalf of the value of DIA’s art. (Read more from the Detroit Free Press.)

JSTOR’s Hidden Power

Training students to be attentive and discriminating in their use of sources is difficult and time consuming. It is enormously tempting to say “just use Project Muse and JSTOR articles” and be done with it. (Read more from the Atlantic.)

Rays of Light and Menacing Shadows

It’s hard to say whether 2013 was a lucky or unlucky year for the art world, but it was definitely packed with exhibitions and events that inspired or dismayed, sometimes in related clusters. The Metropolitan Museum of Art mostly shone this year, especially with the unveiling of its enlarged and rearranged European Painting Galleries, which start to give this splendid collection the space it deserves. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Michelangelo Was in a Class of His Own

Lorenzo de’ Medici, ruler of the Florentine Republic, was so taken by a statue carved by an adolescent that he proposed to make the sculptor a member of his household. The boy’s father was not impressed. He told Lorenzo that his family would be demeaned if his son were to become a stonemason. But the youth believed that he had been born to carve stone, and so the father relented. (Read more from the Economist.)

Taking a Magnifying Glass to the Brown Faces in Medieval Art

This Tumblr sounds a bit like a college course: People of Color in European Art History. And its goal is pretty ambitious. The blog’s author, Malisha Dewalt, says that she wants to challenge the common perception that pre-Enlightenment Europe was all white, which she argues is a much more recent and deliberate invention. Her blog, she writes, “is here to emphasize the modern racism that retroactively erases gigantic swaths of truth and beauty.” (Read more from National Public Radio.)

Artist-Run Art Schools

Artists may be among the greatest individualists in any society, but some contemporary practitioners, anxious about the future of the culture, are piloting projects that aim to educate and sustain their younger peers. Chris Ofili, one of Britain’s top contemporary painters, puts the problem succinctly: if he had been born twenty years later, he says he might never have become an artist. (Read more from the Financial Times.)

How Museums Name Their Shows

Got a show to curate? Need a title for your exhibition? You might use Rebecca Uchill’s Random Exhibition Title Generator, which will give you such plausible-sounding banners as Breaking Dissent: A Remix of the Local and After Illusion: The Video Art of Urban Experience. Uchill, a former independent curator who is now a PhD candidate in architecture at MIT, cooked up the idea and worked with a programmer friend to launch the site in 2010, plugging in words and syntax that seemed to recur in her experiences with museum and gallery titles. (Read more from ARTnews.)

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