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CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — Dec 17, 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.

Smithsonian’s Asian Art Collection Goes Online

The Smithsonian Institution’s museums of Asian art are due to release their entire collections online on January 1, 2015. More than forty thousand works, from ancient Chinese jades to thirteenth-century Syrian metalwork and nineteenth-century Korans, will be accessible through high-resolution images without copyright restrictions for noncommercial use. The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are the first Smithsonian museums—and the only Asian art museums—to complete the labor-intensive process of digitizing and releasing their entire collections online. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Balling off Painting: MoMA Opens The Forever Now

At the Museum of Modern Art’s opening for The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, most people had a hard time remembering when the last group show of young painters had happened at the museum. (Technically, the last full-on contemporary painting survey was in 1984.) With that in mind, no matter what anyone thinks about the show—or even the current state of painting in general—it could be argued that an exhibition of this nature was somewhat overdue. (Read more from ArtNews.)

New Art Now

At first glance, the three words “new,” “art,” and “now” might be considered synonyms. In order to be counted as art, an object or expression must be new, and its newness is strictly defined by the temporal limits of the present moment, now. But this is where the synonymy of the three terms starts to look like a contradiction. If contemporary art is art always happening “now,” can we ever really make sense of the present? (Read more from ArtReview.)

Unsustainable Postdocs

Postdoctoral fellowships make sense in theory: they offer recent PhDs, especially those aspiring to careers in academic research, a place to develop professionally and build a research profile before or while hitting the job market. But too often, these fellowships are underpaid, undermentored positions in which young academics languish during what are potentially their most creative, productive years. That’s the upshot of a new report that is highly critical of the structural factors driving the growth of postdoctoral ranks. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

The State of Professional Development in Higher Education

Earlier this year, Academic Impressions surveyed higher-education professionals to learn if institutions, on the whole, regard professional development as mission-critical, if investments in professional development is proactive or reactive, and if professional development is tied to performance appraisal. This report shares the findings. (Read more from Academic Impressions.)

Storming the Ivory Tower

All manner of treasure accumulates in the Ivory Tower, but too often that’s where valuable scholarship stays locked up, obscure and inaccessible. “Free the knowledge!” might be the rallying cry behind a creative new plan from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The federal agency, which bills itself as one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the country recently announced the Public Scholar program. Its goal is to motivate scholars to publish nonfiction books for general readers rather than for each other. (Read more from the Washington Post.)

Is a Museum a Database? Institutional Conditions in Net Utopia

The museum is pressured into adapting to the logic of the database from all sides, and we begin to entertain questions of absurd technological determinism. Is a museum a database? While this may be a ridiculous provocation on its face, we have seen that anxious cultural institutions are among the first to uncritically adopt the metabolism of database, to transform the institution into an indexed site of transmission. (Read more from e-flux journal.)

Can We Create a Culture That Values Good Teaching?

How might we create a culture that esteems effective teaching? The value of such a thing ought to be clear, if only because it would blunt some of the frequent public criticisms of universities for a too-narrow focus on research. But creating a teaching culture hasn’t proved so easy. It’s not that campuses don’t harbor great teachers—even the most research-intensive universities do. But those professors usually tend their personal classroom gardens on their own. (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

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