CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Dec 03, 2014

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.

Is the Cultural Sector Ready to Move Beyond Data for Data’s Sake?

As any internet geek or high-priced consultant will tell you, we find ourselves today in the age of Big Data. You know, the era when science and numbers are supposed to solve all our problems forever? That one. And yet in the cultural sector, according to a report published earlier this year, we don’t have the data we need; we don’t know what to do with the data we have; and even if we did, we still wouldn’t use it to make decisions. (Read more from Createquity.)

Whose Work Is It Really? On the Much-Maligned Role of the Artist’s Assistant

The job of artist’s assistant has a confusing reputation in the press. Articles about the ongoing saga of Jasper Johns’s civil suit against his longtime assistant for the theft and sale of $3.4 million of his drawings is a prime example of the way the media talks about the relationship between artist and assistant. The horrifyingly theft aside, one recent article about the incident presents the power difference between an artist and his assistant as tauntingly acute and palpable. (Read more from Artslant.)

Assessing Assessment

In higher education circles, there is something of a feeding frenzy surrounding the issue of assessment. The federal government, due to release a proposed rating system later this fall, wants assessments to create ways to allow one to compare colleges and universities that provide “value”; accrediting organizations want assessments of student learning outcomes; state agencies want assessments to prove that tax dollars are being spent efficiently; institutions want internal assessments that they can use to demonstrate success to their own constituencies. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Help Desk: Ghost in the Art-Writing Machine

I’m a young curator and an arts writer with a museum job, but like everyone in the world, I can always use extra money. I’ve been approached before about “ghostwriting” for more established curators who get asked to write catalogue essays for galleries and small exhibition projects. In general, I feel weird but not too weird about this. After all, I like the practice and the opportunity to think about an artist’s work that I might not otherwise consider or know of. (Read more from Daily Serving.)

Teaching Feminism in Relation to Contemporary Art

Survey courses in contemporary art have tended to organize the field through movements, tendencies, and geographical areas. Women artists have been present in every movement, in every country, and in increasing numbers in contemporary art—approximately 20 to 40 percent of biennials and retrospectives and 40 to 50 percent of all artists today. It is possible to introduce a broad range of examples and case studies of work by women artists into every lecture. (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

Paint and Paper: Making a Watercolor

Watercolor paper is an active part in the creation of a painting, for watercolor artists paint with their paper rather than simply upon it. For this reason, the watercolor paper an artist selects influences both the painting process and the finished work. Paper choice can be as personal as color palette and subject, and it is not unusual for a painter to have a favorite paper surface from a specific manufacturer. (Read more from Just Paint.)

A Letter to My Younger Self

Well you’ve done it. You started graduate school and, at two months in, you are beginning to get the hang of things. By now you’ve figured out that the coffee from the cafe downstairs is terrible, but at least this end of campus has all the good food trucks. You’re meeting people who will turn out to be incredible colleagues and friends. You’ve also developed a few organizational habits already, even though it’s been a chaotic start to the semester. I’m writing to let you know how unbelievably helpful those habits are going to be over the next five years. (Read more from Vitae.)

Professors’ Place in the Classroom Is Shifting to the Side

Professors have long made assumptions about their place in the classroom. They have seen themselves as the experts whose job is to transmit a body of knowledge, typically through a lecture. Students are there to absorb content. But after years of exhortations for faculty members to become guides on the side instead of sages on stage, those assumptions are shifting, and they carry consequences that could be significant for professors and students. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

What’s Next?

As part of my job, I mentor graduate students and early career faculty through the transition to nonacademic jobs. These career-changers have usually thought long and hard about their decision to seek a nonacademic career. It is not something that anyone seeking my help takes lightly. The most common thing I hear from my students and clients is, “I don’t know how to even begin looking for other types of jobs.” (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

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