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Linda Downs, executive director and chief executive officer of the College Art Association (CAA), has announced her retirement, effective February 2016. Under her direction during her nine-year tenure, CAA celebrated its Centennial with a new visual identity and reestablished itself as the largest and most active association in the academic and museum visual-arts field. CAA has been a strong advocate on critical issues in the field, including workforce issues such as equity for part-time faculty, changing the restrictions on visas for international scholars and artists, and state and federal support for visual-arts higher education. CAA has made major improvements to its publications: current and archived issues of The Art Bulletin and Art Journal are now available online as a result of a copublishing partnership with Taylor & Francis; became a fully open-access online journal with an increased readership; and the Art Journal Open website was established, with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, to focus more on artists and to complement Art Journal articles in print.

Over thirty professional guidelines and standards were developed through the expertise of the Professional Practices Committee. A task force supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation was established to develop the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, which has greatly clarified what fair use is and how to utilize it for third-party images and materials in creative and scholarly work. CAA has changed its journal author contracts accordingly. Book and author subventions increased to approximately sixteen per year through the support of the Mellon Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, and Wyeth Foundation for American Art. International membership increased through the CAA/Getty International Program, which supported attendance and seminars on international issues at the past four Annual Conferences. The Professional Development Fellowships for Art Historians and Artists was reinstated. A new project, Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals, that was initiated by the Museum Committee and funded by the Mellon Foundation will establish a social community forum to promote the exchange of information related to the integration of academic art museums into various academic disciplines of study. Following CAA’s strategic plan, task forces have been established to review the structure of the nine Professional Interest, Practices, and Standards Committees, provide guidelines for digital art and architectural history in promotion and tenure, transform and extend the Annual Conference, review the governance structure, and address greater inclusion and attention to design in programs and publications. CAA has laid the groundwork for transforming itself in directions that are critical to the support of the visual-arts field.

The CAA Board of Directors has expressed its admiration for Downs’s outstanding leadership. DeWitt Godfrey, board president, stated, “Linda has brought CAA to a new professional level of service to members and the visual-arts field. We wish her well in retirement and thank her for her dedicated service.”

CAA has organized a search committee and will retain a search firm to seek a new Executive Director.

About CAA

The College Art Association is dedicated to providing professional services and resources for artists, art historians, and students in the visual arts. CAA serves as an advocate and a resource for individuals and institutions, nationally and internationally, by offering forums to discuss the latest developments in the visual arts and art history through its Annual Conference, publications, exhibitions, website, and other programs, services, and events. CAA focuses on a wide range of advocacy issues, including education in the arts, freedom of expression, intellectual-property rights, cultural heritage and preservation, workforce topics in universities and museums, and access to networked information technologies. Representing its members’ professional needs since 1911, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism, and teaching. Learn more about CAA at

For more information, please contact Nia Page, CAA director of membership, development, and marketing.

Filed under: People in the News

The College Art Association (CAA) has been awarded a $132,600 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development of Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals (RAAMP), a free, publicly accessible website that will collect, store, and share resources for professionals in academic art museums. RAAMP will promote scholarship, advocacy, and discussion related to academic art museums and their contributions to the educational mission of their parent institutions. CAA and its Museum Committee will develop RAAMP and manage its peer-generated content with the assistance of project partners, which include the Association for Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG) and the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC).

Linda Downs, CAA executive director, said, “The RAAMP project was initiated by the CAA Museum Committee members N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University of Richmond and Celka Straughn, Andrew W. Mellon Director of Academic Programs at the Spencer Museum of Art who recognized the professional needs of academic art museum to share resources in order to better integrate museum collections into interdisciplinary study through a social community system. CAA is excited about this important initiative that will provide a prototype for similar forums.”

“Through its College and University Art Museums program, the Mellon Foundation has been a long-term supporter of the integration of college and university art museums into the curriculum and research cultures of their host institutions,” said Mariët Westermann, vice president of the Mellon Foundation. “We are therefore pleased to provide a grant to CAA for the creation of an online repository and exchange hub that will further strengthen the collaboration between academic museums and their campus communities.”

RAAMP aims to strengthen the educational mission of academic museums and their parent institutions by providing a dynamic repository of resources, by functioning as a site for news and information, and by supporting public discussion through online forums. The anticipated primary users of RAAMP include academic museum staff: administrators, educators, curators, directors, and conservators. The site would also be a significant asset for university and college administrators, faculty and staff in art and art-history departments, undergraduate and graduate students, and scholars of academic museums. Because RAAMP’s content addresses particular demographic groups—higher education and the visual arts—that are also served by nonacademic museums, the project would be valuable to museum professionals from any institution or background.

RAAMP would specifically benefit users seeking publications, information, research, case studies, professional development, and networking opportunities. Support from the Mellon Foundation will help CAA to determine types of content that would be most beneficial to RAAMP’s audience and contributors, how best to deliver and share this content, and how to facilitate dialogue related to the project’s mission.

DeWitt Godfrey, CAA president and professor of art and art history at Colgate University, said, “This is an important step for the Association to strengthen ties with academic art museums throughout the United States.”

RAAMP was conceived during a 2013 CAA Annual Conference session organized by the Museum Committee, titled “The Position of Academic Programs in Campus Art Museums: What, Why, Who, and Where To?” Session attendees expressed the need to better and more efficiently share information, strategies, and best practices for communicating academic museums’ educational contributions to their parent institutions. Many museums have created innovative programs and practices to serve their campus communities and fully integrate their collections and activities into the academic mission of their college or university. Museums have also worked to apply quantitative and qualitative metrics for mission success.

Leading the project as principal investigators will be: N. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums in Virginia and a member of CAA’s Museum Committee; and Celka Straughn, Andrew W. Mellon Director of Academic Programs at the University of Kansas’s Spencer Museum of Art and a member of CAA’s Museum Committee. “We are excited to work with colleagues to further develop this accessible resource that reflects that many innovative activities happening at academic museums today. We hope it will serve academic art museums to promote collaboration and demonstrate their educational and scholarly contributions.”

About CAA

The College Art Association is dedicated to providing professional services and resources for artists, art historians, and students in the visual arts. CAA serves as an advocate and a resource for individuals and institutions nationally and internationally by offering forums to discuss the latest developments in the visual arts and art history through its Annual Conference, publications, exhibitions, website, and other programs, services, and events. CAA focuses on a wide range of advocacy issues, including education in the arts, freedom of expression, intellectual-property rights, cultural heritage and preservation, workforce topics in universities and museums, and access to networked information technologies. Representing its members’ professional needs since 1911, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism, and teaching. Learn more about CAA at

For more information please contact Nia Page, CAA director of membership, development, and marketing.

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.

Questions to Ask before Applying to an Artist Opportunity

Breaking into the art world is a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. To be a successful artist, you must be determined, hardworking, and passionate about your field of work. It also helps to understand how the art world does business: how to find the opportunity that is the best fit for you, how to avoid predatory scams, and how to build your résumé for the future. (Read more from the New York Foundation for the Arts.)

Before Applying to an Artist Opportunity: Beware the Ides of Arts

One of the biggest problems facing artists today is the multitude of scams and schemes, especially those on the internet. And no, it’s not just the foreign princes looking to transfer money. Every artist wants to be discovered and make it big, but that doesn’t mean you should hastily leap into opportunity without looking first. (Read more from the New York Foundation for the Arts.)

Is It Okay to Haggle with an Art Gallery?

There’s a painting that I’d like to purchase from a smaller gallery here in town, but it’s out of my budget. Not by much, but in order to buy it, the price needs to come down. Can I try to negotiate with the gallery? I come from the business side of things, so that’s a normal practice for my realm, but I don’t want to anger anyone, or seem rude. (Read more from Burnaway.)

Grant Dispute Throws an Unwritten Rule of Academic Poaching out the Window

Among research universities a longstanding gentlemen’s agreement has held that a scientist who moves from one institution to another is allowed to carry any grant support along to his or her new home. Now, with universities counting every dollar, that bit of protocol may become a quaint courtesy of days gone by. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Saying Yes

While it’s true that new hires need to learn to say no so they don’t get overwhelmed and fall behind on their scholarship, it’s also important to decide which opportunities to accept or decline. What are the offers worth saying yes to? When might saying no really be declining a valuable opportunity? Are there ways that saying yes to certain opportunities might help to advance, rather than take time away from, your own research agenda? (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Where Does Innovative Teaching Come From?

There’s a long-standing tradition of informal sharing of pedagogical innovation among K–12 teachers and a whole line of research on this phenomenon, which is known as teacher leadership. The same type of informal faculty leadership exists in higher education as well, but there is very little research on this topic, according to Pete Turner, education faculty member and director of the Teacher Education Institute at Estrella Mountain Community College. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)

Why Collect Artist’s Books and Zines?

The Brooklyn-based publisher Blonde Art Books recently organized its third annual Bushwick Art Book and Zine Fair (BABZ), a three-day event featuring a few dozen independent publishers, alongside workshops and performances. The presence of something like BABZ is not particularly surprising: a market for do-it-yourself printed matter still exists, whether at art-book fairs, at stores like Printed Matter, or in university library collections. What drives collectors to keep these venues running? What, or who, fuels the market? (Read more from Artslant.)

In Conversation: Peter Schjeldahl with Jarrett Earnest

In the pantheon of art writers, Peter Schjeldahl holds a special place as one of the greatest living critics. As an art critic for the New Yorker since 1998, he is alive to the nuanced movements of his own feelings, which he charts over the course of each review. This summer he met with the Rail’s Jarrett Earnest to discuss the interconnections between seeing, feeling, and writing. (Read more from the Brooklyn Rail.)

Filed under: CAA News

Smarthistory is working to provide essays and videos on the 250 objects that are part of the new AP art-history curriculum, launching fall 2015. We have eighteen objects left ranging from prehistoric to contemporary work. If you are interested in contributing a brief introductory essay on one of these, please drop us an email: and

Here’s what missing (images can be found on this list):

  • Apollo 11 Cave Stones (State Museum Namibia)
  • Running horned woman, 6000–4000 BCE, Algeria
  • Hall of the Bulls, Lascaux, France, 15,000–13,000 BCE
  • Anthropomorphic stele (El-Maakir-Qaryat al-Kaafa), fourth millennium BCE (Riyadh)
  • Terracotta fragment, Lapita, Solomon Islands, Reef Islands, 1000 BCE (University of Auckland
  • Michel Tuffery, Pisupo Lua Afe (Corned Beef 2000), 1994 (MNZM/Museum of New Zealand)
  • Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 1997
  • Magdalena Abakanowicz, Androgyne III, 1985, burlap, resin, wood, nails, and string (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
  • Portrait mask (Mblo), Baule peoples (Côte d’Ivoire), late nineteenth or early twentieth century
  • Lukasa (memory board), Mbudye Society, Luba peoples, (DR Congo), ca. nineteenth or early twentieth century
  • Night Attack on the Sanjô Palace, Kamakura Period, Japan, ca. 1250–1300 CE (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
  • Ambum Stone, Papua New Guinea, ca. 1500 BCE (National Gallery of Australia)
  • Nan Madol, Pohnpei, Micronesia, Saudeleur Dynasty. ca. 700–1600 CE
  • ‘Ahu ‘ula (feather cape), Hawaiian, late eighteenth century
  • Tamati Waka Nene, Gottfried Lindauer, 1890 CE, oil on canvas
  • Malagan display and mask, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, ca. twentieth century (University Museum, Pennsylvania)

We are also looking for contributions from art historians on other broadly taught topics.

Filed under: Art History

Piotr Piotrowski: In Memoriam

posted by July 22, 2015

Amy Bryzgel is lecturer in history of art in the School of Divinity, History, and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

The field of art history and culture in Central and Eastern Europe mourns the loss of its unofficial cultural ambassador: the art historian, curator, and critic Piotr Piotrowski, who died on May 3, 2015, at the age of 63. The author of numerous publications, Piotrowski was a pioneer of new methods of study and approach to the art history of the region.

Piotrowski was professor ordinarius in the Department of Art History at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, where he was also chair of the department (1999–2008) and head of modern art history (1996–2009). He was director of the National Museum in Warsaw from 2009 to 2010 and served on a number of advisory boards, such as those for the National Gallery of Prague (academic board), Ars (Slovak Academy of Sciences), and Art Margins (MIT Press, editorial board). Piotrowski was also a permanent research fellow of the Graduate School for East and South-East European Studies, a program of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and Regensburg University. In 2010 he was given the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory, which acknowledges the dedication of an arts and culture professional to deepening and broadening internationally the knowledge of visual art and culture in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. He held numerous academic fellowships, from the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts (2009), CASVA in Washington, DC (1989–90), and most recently the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2015). Piotrowski’s most recent books, In the Shadow of Yalta: Art and the Avant-Garde in Eastern Europe, 1945–1989 (Reaktion Books, 2009) and Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (Reaktion Books, 2012), have set the standard for comparative studies of modern and contemporary art in East Central Europe. Both are key texts not only in the field of Central and East European art history, but also for art history in general.

Piotrowski’s contributions to the field, however, go well beyond his substantial and impressive list of accomplishments. He was one of the guiding forces in the field of Central and Eastern European art history. His publications are at the forefront of the academic study and research of an area that had largely been neglected by Western scholars throughout the Cold War and is only recently expanding from its previously self-contained national histories. What’s more, Piotrowski’s project didn’t just unearth these practices and expose them to the West; in writing these histories he also criticized the so-called universal canon of art history, offering a view from “the margins” to “expose fractures within center,” to use his words. His project was to subvert the traditional geography of art, calling for a horizontal approach that would eventually contribute to the globalization of Eastern European art and help to develop a true global art history.

Those who knew Piotrowski remember his warmth and generosity and his quick, infectious sense of humor. Regardless of the situation, his personality always shined through—despite being a man of considerable achievements, publications, and awards, he was incredibly humble. Furthermore, he was extremely dedicated to the field and to his work and uncompromising in his principles, regardless of the cost to him personally or professionally. In October 2014, he organized a large and very successful conference in Lublin, Poland, entitled “East European Art Seen from the Global Perspective: Past and Present,” and was working to produce the conference reader up until his death.

All who knew his work agree on one thing: Piotr Piotrowski left us far too soon. Most of us expected to look forward to many more years of his talks, publications, exhibitions, and projects. One small bright spot we can look forward to is his forthcoming publication, From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum, edited with Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius and published by Ashgate. Furthermore, it must be remembered that Piotrowski was a teacher—not only to his many undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD students, but also to those who read his work and followed his example. Piotrowski taught us all very much, and in our future work, we can only hope to insure that his spirit will live on.

Filed under: Obituaries

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.

Great Colleges to Work For 2015

This special issue features results of the Chronicle’s eighth annual Great Colleges to Work For survey, based on responses from nearly 44,000 campus employees. The survey found that at colleges recognized for a strong workplace culture, employees were more likely to feel acknowledged, supported, well informed by their leaders, and engaged in a common mission. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

UK Copyright Amendment Provokes Controversy in the Art and Design World

The British government has recently moved to repeal section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Removing this section would increase the copyright duration for artistic designs—as opposed to traditional artistic works—from twenty-five years from the year the designs were first marketed to the more common term of life of the author plus seventy years. The new arrangement has stirred up controversy in the process. (Read more from Center for Art Law.)

Help Desk: Selling Out

Recently a design firm approached me about a project that involves artists painting on small refrigerators from which energy drinks will be sold. There will be a gallery exhibition of these fridges before they are distributed to various retail outlets in major cities around the country. The pay is pretty good, though not what I would ideally get for a painting of that size. Will I be committing an ethical transgression if I participate in this promotion? (Read more from Daily Serving.)

Peter J. Cohen Trumpets the Art of Amateur Photography

Waiting for a companion at a Chelsea flea market in New York in the early 1990s, Peter J. Cohen thumbed through a bin of bygone snapshots, torn out of discarded family albums. He didn’t know what attracted him to the images—he’d never been interested in vintage photography and wasn’t the type to reach for a camera to document his own life—but, on a whim, he purchased five of them for $8. When he got home and inspected the photographs more closely, he knew right away that he wanted to return to the flea market to buy more. (Read more from the Boston Globe.)

You Can’t Hurry Greatness

In 1990, the psychologist John Hayes proposed the “ten-year rule,” arguing that even someone with enormous creative potential needs to spend a decade working on his or her craft before producing work of lasting merit. In a newly published paper, Richard Hass of Philadelphia University and Robert Weisberg of Temple University reevaluate this rule by looking at the careers of some of America’s most enduringly popular artists: five composers from the Great American Songbook era. (Read more from Pacific Standard.)

Mentoring as a Tenure Criterion

Purdue University, like most colleges and universities, evaluates faculty members up for tenure on their accomplishments in research, teaching, and service. Like most research universities, research has tended to be prominent. But university administrators recently told the Purdue board of plans to make significant changes in those criteria. Coming first will be an expectation that faculty members are active mentors to undergraduates, especially to at-risk students. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Museums’ Disturbing Transformation: Relentless Commercialization

For-profit art dealers are organizing shows for nonprofit museums. Museum professionals are organizing shows for commercial art fairs and galleries. Museum collections are being monetized, rented out for profit to other museums and private corporations. Corporations are co-organizing museum shows. In fact, so commonplace is the boundary-blurring that few any longer notice. (Read more from the Los Angeles Times.)

Modeling the Behavior We Expect in Class

We should be thinking about social learning theory in the context of the college classroom. Although so-called observational learning now has widespread acceptance and a fair amount has been written about the benefits of modeling in the grade-school classroom, there is surprisingly little out there on the topic for college instructors. (Read more from Vitae.)

Filed under: CAA News

John Wesley William: In Memoriam

posted by July 20, 2015

Julie Harris earned her PhD in art history at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989. She teaches at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.

There was little in John Williams’s early life to suggest that he would eventually become the world’s authority on Spanish medieval art—unless one considers a boundless energy and curiosity that propelled him from an athletic childhood in Memphis, through a canoe trip down the Mississippi, service in the Marines, and eventually led him to study at Duke, Yale, and University of Michigan—where he discovered Spanish medieval art and earned a PhD in 1962. A scholar of international reputation, inspiring teacher, and family man, Williams died on June 6, 2015. He was 87 years old.

Williams taught first at Swarthmore College from 1960 until 1972. He then joined the Fine Arts Department of the University of Pittsburgh, where he remained for thirty-five years. At Pitt, Williams served as chair for five years, was named Distinguished Service Professor in 1993, and was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of History of Art and Architecture from 1997 to 2000. Among the many honors he received in his career were two Fulbrights to Spain, two NEH grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a visiting membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and an appointment as a fellow of the Medieval Academy of America.

Best known for his work on the Beatus Commentaries, Williams’s work evolved from searching for models for these manuscripts’ rich and enigmatic imagery to recognizing the individuals responsible for their creation and a careful reading of their reception. His five-volume series, The Illustrated Apocalypse: A Corpus of the Illustrations of the Commentary on the Apocalypse (Harvey Miller, 1994–2003), won the Eleanor Tufts Award from the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies. Williams’s interests and research were not limited to manuscript studies; he also was an authority on the major Romanesque monuments of Spain, such as San Isidoro in León, Santo Domingo de Silos, and Santiago de Compostela. He participated in rigorous international debates over their dating, patronage, and the meaning of their decoration in all media. This work generated groundbreaking and authoritative publications in such journals as The Art Bulletin and Gesta and in collaborative volumes, some of which he edited or coedited.

John’s life-long interest in Spain did not end with his retirement from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. In addition to ongoing work in medieval art, he recently turned his attention to securing the attribution of a neglected Goya in the Carnegie Institute. A documentary project on the Beatus manuscripts, directed and produced by Murray Grigor and the cinematographer Hamid Shams with commentary by Williams, premiered in New York at the Morgan Library and Museum last October. Even as his illness progressed, he remained engaged in academic pursuits. Determined to complete his book, he enlisted the help of a former student, Therese Martin of Madrid (CCHS-CSIC). The resulting work, Visions of the End in Medieval Spain: Tradition and Context of the Beatus Commentary on the Apocalypse, with a Census of Illustrated Manuscripts and Study of the Geneva Beatus (forthcoming from Amsterdam University Press, 2016), both introduces a recently discovered manuscript and offers Williams an opportunity to update and reassess his earlier work on the Beatus corpus.

Williams had a gift for synthetic scholarship, revealing connections across the Pyrenees and across disciplines in a way that made his art-historical analysis deep and utterly unique. Four students—Martin, David Raizman, Ann Boylan, and myself—wrote their dissertations on Spanish medieval topics under his supervision. Both as his student and in later years, I found that John’s authoritative writing and speaking style made me believe that what he was doing—and by extension what I doing—was important. John was a demanding and thorough adviser who became a delightful friend. He had little sympathy for trendy jargon but plenty of interest in new ideas. I never stopped sending him my work or seeking his approval.

A relentlessly productive scholar, Williams will also be remembered as a person of varied interests, including but not limited to fine books and martinis, music of many genres, good conversation, and the dance at Kalamazoo. He is survived by his wife, Mary; their six children; and thirteen grandchildren.

Filed under: Obituaries

CAA offers Annual Conference Travel Grants to graduate students in art history and studio art and to international artists and scholars. In addition, the Getty Foundation has funded the fifth year of a program that enables applicants from outside the United States to attend the 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, which takes place February 3–6, 2016. Applicants may apply for more than one grant but can only receive a single award.

CAA-Getty International Program

The CAA-Getty International Program, generously supported by the Getty Foundation, provides funding to fifteen art historians, museum curators, and artists who teach art history to attend the 2016 Annual Conference. The grant covers travel expenses, hotel accommodations for eight nights, per diems, conference registrations, and one-year CAA memberships. Extended deadline: August 26, 2015.

CAA Graduate Student Conference Travel Grant

CAA will award a limited number of $250 Graduate Student Conference Travel Grants to advanced PhD and MFA graduate students as partial reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the 2016 Annual Conference. To qualify for the grant, students must be current CAA members. Successful applicants will also receive a complimentary conference registration. Deadline: September 18, 2015.

CAA International Member Conference Travel Grant

CAA will award a limited number of $500 International Member Conference Travel Grants to artists and scholars from outside the United States as partial reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the 2016 Annual Conference. To qualify for the grant, applicants must be current CAA members. Successful applicants will also receive a complimentary conference registration. Deadline: September 18, 2015.

Donate to the Annual Conference Travel Grants

CAA’s Annual Conference Travel Grants are funded solely by donations from CAA members—please contribute today. Charitable contributions are 100 percent tax deductible. CAA extends a warm thanks to those members who made voluntary contributions to this fund during the past twelve months.

CAA’s Annual Conference provides an important platform for the dissemination of new research and creative work. It also provides opportunities for networking, hosts workshops on crucial career topics, tackles pressing issues in the field, and provides an opportunity for institutions to interview candidates for open positions. In an effort to serve its members more effectively, CAA has established a Task Force on the Annual Conference to address ways of providing more occasions for members to exchange work and scholarship. The task force will also investigate greater uses of technology to extend the conference beyond its physical location and increased networking opportunities for professionals in the visual arts. The changes announced below are only the first round of a more thorough redesign of the conference, a very much renewed and improved version of which will be introduced in the coming years.

In preparation for the next Annual Conference, to be held February 3–6, 2016, in Washington, DC, and in an effort to strengthen the Annual Conference while providing an even greater value to the membership and our profession, members of the CAA Board of Directors and the Task Force on the Annual Conference have recommended and approved the following changes:

  • Allowing members to present papers and chair sessions in consecutive years at the Annual Conference
  • Extending the Annual Conference through low-cost webinars to accommodate those affected by reductions in funds for professional travel. CAA will offer webinars on a regular basis that will highlight the content generated by members
  • Conference registration, opening in early October 2015, will have only one advance registration period that will end on December 21, 2015
  • A new discounted registration fee for CAA members who are part-time faculty or are independent artists and scholars
  • Institutional members may purchase specially discounted student memberships and register their students for the conference at deeper discounts during the advance registration period. These discounts will not be available onsite
  • CAA members will be hired to be room monitors and to work at CAA’s registration area for a stipend and free conference registration rather than hiring temporary staff to fill these roles
  • Providing a conference that serves members. Everyone who participates (i.e., presenter, speaker, chair) must be a current CAA member at the time of the conference
  • All participants will need to either register for the entire conference or purchase a single-time-slot ticket for the session in which they are participating. This change applies to sessions led by all CAA affiliated societies and special-interest groups

CAA must proactively respond to the escalating costs of producing the Annual Conference. Ever-increasing expenses include staffing the conference, union rates at hotels, guaranteeing minimum numbers of attendees, and providing audiovisual equipment and WiFi. In the past, many sessions were offered without requiring CAA membership or conference registration. CAA can no longer subsidize the attendance and participation of nonmembers and nonregistrants. In order for CAA to maintain the high quality of the conference and to meet the needs of its members, we ask for your support as we introduce these changes to improve the conference experience.

The 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC, will be outstanding. The keynote speaker will be David Adjaye, architect of the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall and newly designated architect of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Richard J. Powell is CAA’s Distinguished Scholar, and Joyce Scott is the Distinguished Artist who will be interviewed. CAA will sponsor an MFA exhibition with student artists from around the region and host a reception for all CAA members at the Katzen Art Center at American University. In addition, the Annual Conference Committee for the DC meeting is preparing special tours to artists’ studios and museums and organizing special events.

Washington is home to a host of outstanding museums and other cultural institutions, and CAA has not held a conference there since 1991. We are very pleased to bring the conference to Washington, DC, and grateful for the support of our membership and institutions in that region. You will not want to miss this exciting event! Please refer to for ongoing updates and news about the 2016 Annual Conference.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Membership

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.

Trigger Warning Diffused

Students at Crafton Hills College who sign up for a course on the graphic novel next year will encounter works such as Fun Home and Persepolis without being first warned on the syllabus that they might be offended. That’s the way it has been at the college, but officials at the California community college said in June that a trigger warning would be added to the syllabus after one student and her parents complained about those two novels as well as two others. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Speaking for the “Quitters” and “Failures”

In the eyes of many academics, as Leonard Cassuto recently pointed out, I am considered a failure because I did not earn a doctorate. Meanwhile, American universities are awarding more doctorates than ever. And yet I have something most of those newly minted PhDs will never have: a full-time, tenured teaching job. (Read more from Chronicle of Higher Education.)

The Booming World of Architecture That Only Exists in Pixels

There’s a long tradition of great architects never building a single thing. They’re called paper architects, because their work is purely two-dimensional. But today, you might look for them working somewhere else: video-game design and three-dimensional visualization. An architectural visualization artist named Ronen Bekerman has been at the center of that shift. (Read more from Gizmodo.)

Help Desk: How to Lob a Pitch

How do I pitch an art article to an editor? I have begun a writing practice that is not reviewing art as much as just reflecting on art, science, and visual culture in essay-length posts. I would love to share them but don’t even know where to start. (Read more from Daily Serving.)

Art Critics Need to Get Serious If They Want to Thrive Online

Amazon announced last month that it would change its payment structure for independent writers who publish directly on the online retailer’s different Kindle platforms, giving out royalties according to the number of pages read by Kindle users, rather than per book downloaded. A per-page payscale privileges a certain kind of writing, one that relies on cliffhangers and withholding information, but this attitude fails to echo the complexities, possibilities, and variety of web-based publishing platforms. (Read more from the Art Newspaper.)

Collector Fights for African Art

Sindika Dokolo, a Congolese businessman and art collector, is on a crusade to force Western museums, art dealers, and auction houses to return Africa’s art, particularly works that might have been removed illegally during the colonial era. “Works that used to be clearly in African museums must absolutely return to Africa,” Dokolo said. “There are works that disappeared from Africa and are now circulating on the world market based on obvious lies about how they got there.” (Read more from the New York Times.)

A Done Deal, Obama to Create Basin and Range Monument

A vast sweep of rural Nevada marked by lonely desert valleys, craggy mountain ranges, and ancient and modern art will become the newest addition to the nation’s inventory of protected landscapes. President Barack Obama will sign a proclamation designating the Basin and Range National Monument on 704,000 acres of Lincoln and Nye counties in Nevada, the White House announced. The artist Michael Heizer has spent decades creating a massive earthen sculpture, called City, in the midst of the newly protected area. (Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.)

Is Adjuncting the “Kiss of Death”?

Numerous commentators have observed that being an adjunct, as a recent essay put it, “actually seems to decrease your chances of securing a tenure-track position.” Some have even gone so far as to label adjuncting a career destroyer, the proverbial “kiss of death.” But is it really? (Read more from Vitae.)

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