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CAA News Today

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by Christopher Howard — May 20, 2015

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.

Entire USC First-Year MFA Class Is Dropping Out

We are a group of seven artists who made the decision to attend USC Roski School of Art and Design’s MFA program based on the faculty, curriculum, program structure, and funding packages. We are a group of seven artists who have been forced by the school’s dismantling of each of these elements to dissolve our MFA candidacies. In short, due to the university’s unethical treatment of its students, we, the entire incoming class of 2014, are dropping out of school and dropping back into our expanded communities at large. (Read more from Art and Education.)

Behind the Impasse That Led USC’s 2016 MFA Students to Withdraw in Protest

The graduate class of 2016 at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design has withdrawn in protest from the visual-arts program over administration and curriculum changes. The conflict stems from changes made to the program after students had already arrived on campus, as well as resignations by prominent faculty members. (Read more from the Los Angeles Times.)

The Conference Manifesto

We are weary of academic conferences. We are humanists who recognize very little humanity in the conference format and content. We have sat patiently and politely through talks read line by line in a monotone voice by a speaker who doesn’t look up once, wondering why we couldn’t have read the paper ourselves in advance with a much greater level of absorption. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Noodling on the Future of Conferences

May I just say, for the record, that I love love love the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting staff. They do a glorious job each year of pulling off the near impossible—decamping for a distant city to host a few thousand of our besties, orchestrating content, transportation, signage, A/V, food, drink, and the logistics of getting a couple hundred vendors in and out of a massive exhibit hall. They totally rock. But I’m a futurist. (Read more from the Center for the Future of Museums.)

The Machine Vision Algorithm Beating Art Historians at Their Own Game

Few areas of academic inquiry have escaped the influence of computer science and machine learning. But one of them is the history of art. The challenge of analyzing paintings, recognizing their artists, and identifying their style and content has always been beyond the capability of even the most advanced algorithms. That is now changing thanks to recent advances in machine learning based on approaches such as deep convolutional neural networks. (Read more from the MIT Technology Review.)

Thinking about Art Thinking

One of the problems we face when talking about art education is that we take the term “work of art” for granted. “Work” refers to labor as much as to an object, while “art” means the discipline in which this is performed, although it is also used as a laudatory adjective. In any case this divides people in two groups: those who make the objects, and those who appreciate them. Those who make them are subject to the criteria of meritocracy, and the educational system aims to distill the few that may rise to the top. (Read more from e-flux Journal.)

Should Graduate Students and Adjuncts Unionize for Better Pay?

Colleges have been cutting costs by using more nontenured instructors, including graduate student teaching assistants and adjuncts, instead of professors. They account for over half of teachers on college campuses. Both adjuncts and graduate instructors have been organizing for higher pay and employment benefits. But is unionization the answer? (Read more from the New York Times.)

Using Art Therapy to Open the Minds of Jihadists

Of all the problems therapists have been tasked with solving, altering the mindsets of committed jihadists is one of the toughest and most important. In Saudi Arabia, which has more experience with this problem than any other nation, they have found a simple tool provides invaluable assistance in this challenging process: paint brushes. (Read more from Pacific Standard.)

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