Donate Now
Join Now      Sign In

CAA News Today

50th Anniversary Message from President Obama

posted by September 30, 2015

President Obama joined the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in celebrating the agency’s 50th anniversary, with the message that “The arts and humanities have always been central to the American experience.”

See a PDF of the White House message.

The full greeting reads as follows:

September 28, 2015

I am pleased to join in marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965.

The arts and humanities have always been central to the American experience. Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson helped lift up this legacy by establishing the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, affirming: “The arts and the humanities belong to the people, for it is, after all, the people who create them.” Today, President Johnson’s vision—of a society that honors its artistic and cultural heritage and encourages its citizens to carry that heritage forward—endures as an essential part of who we are as a Nation.

Through their efforts to shape a future of opportunity and creativity for all, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities reflect a notion that has always driven America’s promise—that ours is a country where all things are possible for all people. If we join in common purpose and continue believing in the possibilities of tomorrow, I know that groundbreaking explorations and innovations—in the humanities, in the arts, and throughout our society—will always lie ahead.

As you reflect on a half century of progress, you have my best wishes.

—Barack Obama

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

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.

Am I a Hack or a Budding Genius?

I’m an undergraduate in painting and approaching my final semester. While I feel like I’ve come so far over the last several years, I can’t get over the fact that deep down, when I look at my pieces, they seem so derivative. Should I quit painting? What can I do to be more original? (Read more from Burnaway.)

What Is Transformative?

There has been a recent surge in interest around fair use both in academia and in the trenches of artistic production. Several books and articles have been written on the subject of late, not to mention the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts that CAA released in early 2015. These publications have provided an alternative to the “sky is falling” copyright narrative that Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle, and other legal scholars propagated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (Read more from the Enemy.)

Will Facebook’s “Dislike” Button Change the Art World as We Know It?

Facebook will soon start testing a “dislike” button, or something very close to it. But will you really be able to dislike something? And what will the repercussions be for the hypersensitive contingency of contemporary art worlders? We decided to look at—you guessed it—Facebook to see what art types were saying about it. (Read more from the New York Observer.)

“So, What Is a Postdoc?”

After six years of graduate school, I got pretty good at explaining my research in evolutionary genetics to friends, family, strangers sitting beside me on an airplane, and anyone else who made the mistake of expressing an interest. What I didn’t anticipate was that when I finally finished my PhD, I would have to start explaining my actual job description. “I’m what’s called a ‘postdoc,’” I find myself saying regularly these days. And then I flounder. (Read more from Vitae.)

From Cory Arcangel to Pac-Man: How Digital Art Curators Save Vintage Data and Hardware

The artist Alexander Taylor was recently awarded a grant from Rhizome to support a project called .3gp. He plans to build a web app using YouTube’s API to let visitors digitally channel surf through a collection of videos shot on Motorola Razr–era cellphones. The project comes as the art world is increasingly concerned with preserving digital and electronic works, from amateur digital videos to experimental pieces by international art stars such as Cory Arcangel and Nam June Paik. (Read more from Fast Company.)

Not Paying Artists Deeply Entrenched in Gallery Culture, Research Suggests

The image of the hard-up artist toiling away day and night for little or no reward is nothing new, but recently published research may still surprise. It shows that more than 70 percent of contemporary visual artists who took part in publicly funded exhibitions in the last three years received no fee. Almost as many are now saying no to galleries because they cannot afford to work for free. The figures are published as part of a new campaign called Paying Artists, which is seeking a more equitable system. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Slow Teaching

At some point on the first day of classes I am going to ask my students to answer some questions anonymously. In all honesty, why did you enroll in this course? What final grade you would be happy with? What about this class are you most concerned or anxious about? Exploring students’ responses over the years has led me to identify two prevailing suspicions: that art-history courses are based on rote memorization of names and dates, and that class time will consist of a battery of artworks crammed into a swiftly delivered lecture. (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)

Preventing Ethnic Fraud

Rachel Dolezal made headlines for claiming to be black even as her parents publicly insisted she was white. The case brought to light something that academe has dealt with for decades: faculty applicants claiming an ethnic affiliation they don’t actually possess, either to gain some kind of edge in the hiring process or to appear more expert in one’s field—or both. While a variety of ethnic and cultural groups have been the subject of such fraud, Native Americans might be the most consistently affected group. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Filed under: CAA News

LaToya Ruby Frazier, a photographer and video artist who uses visual autobiographies to capture social inequality and historical change in the postindustrial age, has won a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Frazier, an assistant professor in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois, was a 2006 recipient of a CAA Professional Development Fellowship. At the time, she was completing her MFA in art photography in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Before that Frazier earned a BFA in photography and graphic design from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Informed by documentary practices from the turn of the last century, Frazier explores identities of place, race, and family in work that is a hybrid of self-portraiture and social narrative. The crumbling landscape of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a once-thriving steel town, forms the backdrop of her images, which make manifest both the environmental and infrastructural decay caused by postindustrial decline and the lives of those who continue—largely by necessity—to live among it.

Frazier’s work has appeared in solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Seattle Art Museum in Washington, and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Her first book, The Notion of Family, was published in 2014. To learn more about Frazier’s work, watch her MacArthur Foundation video.

Other winners of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship include the author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the painter Nicole Eisenman, and the playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda. For the entire list of 2015 fellows, visit the foundation’s website.

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. The foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from its fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during their term of the fellowship. The MacArthur fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000, paid out to the recipient in equal quarterly installments over five years.

Founded in 1993, CAA’s Professional-Development Fellowships program supports promising artists, designers, craftspersons, historians, curators, and critics who are enrolled in MFA, PhD, and other terminal-degree programs nationwide. The deadline for the MFA fellowship is Monday, November 16, 2015. CAA will send notifications in January 2016.

Image credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Filed under: Awards, People in the News

Working as a projectionist, room monitor, or registration attendant at CAA’s 104th Annual Conference, taking place February 3–6, 2016, in Washington, DC, is a great way to save on conference expenses. CAA encourages students, emerging professionals, and any interested CAA members—especially those in the Washington, DC, area—to apply for service. Students should check to see if their schools and universities are CAA institutional members as institutional membership now includes the benefit of specially discounted student memberships.


CAA seeks applications for projectionists for conference program sessions. Successful applicants are paid $12 per hour and receive complimentary conference registration. Projectionists are required to work a minimum of four 2½-hour program sessions, from Wednesday, February 3 to Saturday, February 6; they must also attend a training meeting on Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM (total of twelve hours minimum). Projectionists must be familiar with digital projectors. Please send a two-page CV and a brief letter of interest to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs. Deadline extended: January 4, 2016.

Room Monitors

CAA needs room monitors for two Career Services mentoring programs (the Artists’ Portfolio Review and Career Development Mentoring), several offsite sessions, and other conference events, to be held from Wednesday, February 3 to Saturday, February 6; they must also attend a training meeting on Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM. Successful candidates are paid $12 per hour and receive complimentary conference registration. Room monitors are required to work a minimum of twelve hours, checking in participants and facilitating the work of the mentors. Please send a two-page CV and a brief letter of interest to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs. Deadline extended: January 4, 2016.

Registration Attendants

CAA seeks registration attendants to work in the registration area at the 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC, to be held from Tuesday evening, February 2 to Saturday, February 6. Duties registration attendants must attend a training meeting on Tuesday afternoon, February 2 (between 3:30 and 5:00 PM). Successful candidates are paid $12 per hour and receive complimentary conference registration. Registration attendants are required to work a minimum of twelve hours, registering conference participants, checking membership statuses, and monitoring registration compliance in various session rooms. Please send a two-page CV and a brief letter of interest to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs. Deadline extended: January 4, 2016.

All candidates must be US citizens or permanent US residents.

Image: Working the registration booths at the 2015 Annual Conference in New York (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Filed under: Annual Conference, Service, Students

For the 104th Annual Conference, taking place February 3–6, 2016, in Washington, DC, CAA seeks established professionals in the visual arts to volunteer as mentors for two Career Services programs: the Artists’ Portfolio Review and Career Development Mentoring. Participating as a mentor is an excellent way to serve the field and to assist the professional growth of the next generation of artists and scholars.

Art historians and studio artists must demonstrate significant experience in their fields; critics, museum educators, and curators must have five years’ experience.

Artists’ Portfolio Review

CAA seeks artists, critics, curators, and educators to serve in the Artists’ Portfolio Review. In this program, mentors review and provide feedback on digital images or DVDs of work by artist members in personal twenty-minute consultations. Whenever possible, CAA matches artists and mentors based on medium or discipline. Mentors provide an important service to artists, enabling them to receive professional criticism of their work.

Interested candidates must be current CAA members and prepared to give five successive twenty-minute critiques in a two-hour period on one of two days: Thursday, February 4, and Friday, February 5, 2016, 8:00 AM–NOON and 1:00–5:00 PM each day. Conference registration, while encouraged, is not required to be a mentor. Please send a brief letter of interest and your CV to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs. Deadline: December 14, 2015.

Career Development Mentoring

CAA seeks mentors from all areas of studio art, art history, art education, film and video, graphic design, the museum professions, and other related fields to serve in Career Development Mentoring. In this program, mentors give valuable advice to emerging and midcareer professionals, reviewing cover letters, CVs, digital images, and other pertinent job-search materials in personal twenty-minute consultations. Whenever possible, CAA matches participants and mentors based on medium or discipline.

Interested candidates must be current CAA members and prepared to give five successive twenty-minute mentoring sessions in a two-hour period on one of two days: Thursday, February 4, and Friday, February 5, 2016, 8:00 AM–NOON and 1:00–5:00 PM each day. Conference registration, while encouraged, is not required to be a mentor. Please send a brief letter of interest and your CV to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs. Deadline: December 14, 2015.

Career Development Mentoring is not intended as a screening process by institutions seeking new hires. CAA does not accept applications from individuals whose departments are conducting a faculty search in the field in which they are mentoring. Mentors should not be attending the conference as candidates for positions in the same field in which mentees may be applying.

Image: CAA member Kendra Larson (right) participates in a mentoring session with Morgan Paine at the 2015 Annual Conference in New York (photograph by Bradley Marks)

The Services to Artists Committee invites artist members to participate in ARTexchange, the annual meet-up for artists and curators at CAA’s unique pop-up exhibition. This social event provides an opportunity for artists to share their work and build affinities with other artists, historians, curators, and cultural producers. ARTexchange will take place at the 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on Friday evening, February 5, 2016, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Each artist is given the space on, above, and beneath a six-foot table to exhibit their works: prints, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and small installations; performance, process-based, interactive and participatory works are especially encouraged. Previous ARTexchange participants have found that this parameter sparked many creative display options. Depending on the number and type of submissions CAA receives, a schedule of performances may be created. Please note that artwork cannot be hung on walls, and it is not possible to run power cords from laptops or other electronic devices to outlets—bring fully charged batteries.

To participate, send an email to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs. Include your CAA member number and a brief description of what you plan to present. Please provide details regarding performance, sound, spoken word, or technology-based work, including laptop presentations. You will receive an email confirmation. Because ARTexchange is a popular venue and participation is based on available space, early applicants are given preference. Participants are responsible for their work; CAA is not liable for losses or damages. Sales of work are not permitted. Deadline: December 14, 2015.

Image: A participant in ARTexchange at the 2015 Annual Conference in New York (photograph by Bradley Marks)

Filed under: Annual Conference, Artists, ARTspace

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.

What Ever Happened to Google Books?

It was the most ambitious library project of our time—a plan to scan all of the world’s books and make them available to the public online. “We think that we can do it all inside of ten years,” Marissa Mayer, who was then a vice president at Google, said to the New Yorker in 2007, when Google Books was in its beta stage. “It’s mind-boggling to me, how close it is.” Today, the project sits in a kind of limbo. (Read more from the New Yorker.)

There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts

Apart from feeling sorry for the underpaid faculty, why should we care that college professors have the same job conditions as day laborers, fast-food workers, cashiers, taxi drivers, or home-care aides? They did, after all, choose to pursue a career in higher ed. Administrators at these institutions of higher learning argue that they need to use adjuncts because it is the only way to keep tuition from rising even faster than it has. And isn’t access to education the higher good? (Read more from the Atlantic.)

Why Is College So Expensive If Professors Are Paid So Little?

Twenty-five years ago, a student at a public college or nonresearch university campus would see twice as many faculty as administrators on average; now the ratio is roughly equal. Just 20 percent of the teaching workforce in 2013 were permanent or tenure track. About half worked part-time or as adjuncts, often stitching together temporary gigs at different institutions. (Read more from the Nation.)

Is This Art?

The State University of New York at Buffalo community was reeling last week after signs saying “white only” and “black only” appeared beside water fountains and bathrooms around campus. The signs were “posted by a student for a graduate art course,” said John DellaContrada, associate vice president for media relations and stakeholder communications. “We’re still looking into it.” (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Exposing White Privilege

Uproar over a controversial and racially charged art project at the State University of New York at Buffalo spread well beyond campus over the weekend—with people responding to both the project and the artist’s explanation of it. Ashley Powell, a graduate student in art who placed “white only” and “black only” signs around campus last week, did so without any explanation. But amid the uproar, she published a lengthy defense of her work in the campus newspaper. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)

Participation in the Arts Is Driven by Education, Not Class

Among sociologists, the arts have traditionally been examined through the lens of social class. Much research has found the well off and well connected are more likely to appreciate the arts, suggesting that highbrow taste is a significant signal of status. But those studies, as a rule, have failed to distinguish between passive enjoyment of the arts (say, going to the ballet) and active involvement (actually taking a dance class). A new study from England finds making that distinction is quite revealing. (Read more from Pacific Standard.)

Why Conference Book Exhibits Persist

Absent from the debates over the relative merits of academic conferences—either as disciplinary revival meetings, intellectual proving grounds, or ancient tribal gatherings—has been any discussion of book exhibits. We usually assume those ubiquitous spaces are part of the cost of registration, and we only notice them when they’re not there. Apart from the plenary and concurrent sessions, the workshops and roundtables, book exhibits are a middle ground between scholarship and commerce. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Three Tips for Handling Discussions in Online Classes

I’ve been teaching a large online class for the first time this semester. Because the course involves looking at a number of challenge interactive works and games, I emphasize discussion forums and critical debate. Discussion forums, however, present many potential problems in an online class. We only have to read the comments anywhere on the web to see that the online medium offers huge potential for miscommunication, personal attacks, trolling, and harassment—even when in the space of a virtual classroom. (Read more from ProfHacker.)

Filed under: CAA News

Sarah Betzer has been appointed the new chair of the editorial board of The Art Bulletin. Betzer is an associate professor in the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she has taught since 2007. Her research examines European art of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries взять займ с 18 лет на карту, with a particular interest in the intersections of art-theoretical debates and artistic practice. Pennsylvania State University Press published her book Ingres and the Studio: Women, Painting, History in 2012. Betzer is midway through the four-year term as a member of the Art Bulletin Editorial Board and will now complete the final two years as its chair.Image credit: Dave Woody

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.

President Obama Awards 2014 National Humanities Medal

The White House has awarded ten distinguished recipients the 2014 National Humanities Medal. The awardees include historians, writers, a philosopher, scholar, preservationist, food activist, and an education course. President Barack Obama conferred the medal in a September 10, 2015, ceremony in the East Room. (Read more from the National Endowment for the Humanities.)

Bookish: On the Art World’s Publishing Boom

Depending on how you look at it, the art-book industry is either in precarious straits or the midst of a golden age. Brick-and-mortar bookstores specializing in art books continue to close, giving way to online purveyors like Amazon, which don’t do so well with pricy art tomes. And traditional trade publishers have cut back on funding art titles. Meanwhile, blue-chip galleries, flush with cash in a booming art market, have picked up the slack with increasingly ambitious publishing programs. At the world’s wealthier galleries, an in-house imprint has become an essential part of business, as common as a front desk, PR team, and exhibition checklist. (Read more from ARTnews.)

How Art Reveals the Limits of Neuroscience

These days neural approaches to art are all the rage. We find it somehow compelling to think that the brain holds the answers to the questions about, well, everything that matters to us, including art. It’s hard not to be impressed by the excitement scientists feel as they try to hunt down aesthetic experience in the brain using the advanced methods and technologies of cognitive science. But art is an elusive quarry, and it leaves its clumsy predator flailing in the dust. (Read more from the Chronicle Review.)

The Brave New Museum Sputters into Life

With so many visitors—particularly the young—obsessively attached to digital devices as instruments of learning and sharing, even the most traditional art museum officials can no longer deny the imperative for technological interventions in what used to be a relatively unmediated relationship between viewer and object. First there were audio guides and websites. Now art museums are embracing everything from apps to robots to interactive pens, hoping to discern how best to enhance the gallery experience for savvy digerati, without ruining it for die-hard technophobes. (Read more from the Wall Street Journal.)

Why Art School Can Be a Smart Career Move

Art-school grads aren’t the highest earners overall, but neither are they doomed to become starving artists. “There’s a ton of evidence that prospects for graduates from art schools today are better than they’ve ever been before in terms of income, their ability to survive economic turbulence, and their preparedness for the job market of the 2020s,” says Jennifer Lena, a Columbia University professor who is senior research scholar for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project. (Read more from Forbes.)

The International Fight over Marcel Duchamp’s Chess Set

In the process of researching Marcel Duchamp’s chess life for a commissioned art project, Scott Kildall found old pictures of the artist’s own hand-carved chess set, created around 1917. He loved the aesthetic and wanted to recreate the beautiful objects. So Kildall turned to another digital-fabrication artist, Bryan Cera, to work out how to model 3D-printable versions derived from the archival pictures. (Read more from the Atlantic.)

The Google Art Heist

The more playful Google gets, the more paranoid I get. So when I heard that, building on its plan to digitize all books, Google had opened a Cultural Institute in Paris to digitally replicate and curate all art and culture on earth, I wanted to check it out. From the most famous paintings of the Uffizi to an archive of South Korean film to virtual galleries of the pyramids, the institute has already amassed an impressive collection. (Read more from the New York Times.)

Peer Review, Preprints, and the Speed of Science

A few weeks ago my collaborators and I submitted our latest paper to a scientific journal. We have been investigating how noroviruses subvert the molecular machinery of infected cells and have some interesting results. If it passes peer review, our paper could be published in three or four months’ time. If it’s rejected, we may have to rework the manuscript before trying our luck with another journal. That will delay publication even further—it’s not unheard of for papers to take a year or more to get out of the lab and into the world, even in the digital age. (Read more from the Guardian.)

Filed under: CAA News

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events should not be missed. Check the archive of CWA Picks at the bottom of the page, as several museum and gallery shows listed in previous months may still be on view or touring.

September 2015

Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World
Tate Britain
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom
June 24–October 25, 2015

Tate Britain presents Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World, a retrospective of one of the UK’s most famous artists and leader of a new generation of sculptors. Sculpture for a Modern World, the first major exhibition of Hepworth in London in the last fifty years, traces the extensive practice of the artist, offering novel ways of thinking about her art. The exhibition also evidences her achievements and international recognition, while playing around different spaces in which Hepworth presented her work, such as the reconstruction in the gallery of a modernist structure that was the artist’s “ideal” environment.

Hepworth (Yorkshire, 1903) has lived in Cornwall since 1939. Being associated with the “art of St Ives,” she began to make sculptures that translated her experience of the landscape. The exhibition features more than one hundred works that unveil her extensive creative practice. The highlights include a quartet of African hardwood pieces from her postwar period; Pelagos, her celebrated elm carving inspired by the Cornish coast, as well as drawings, collages, films, rarely seen textiles, and her fascinating photographs that have never been seen in public before.

From her earliest carvings to the imposing bronze pieces of the sixties, this major retrospective explores the progression of the artist’s abstract style, showcasing many of Hepworth’s iconic sculptures that helped to define modernism in the twentieth century. As the art critic Alastair Sooke stated: “the exhibition benefits from its decision to separate Hepworth’s sculptures from those of her friend and rival Henry Moore, with whom she is all too often compared. In this case, quite refreshingly, Hepworth’s work is allowed to breathe on its own terms.”

Cover of the exhibition catalogue for From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola

Grete Stern. From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019
May 17–October 4, 2015

The Museum of Modern Art presents From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola at the Edward Steichen Photography Galleries. This is the first major exhibition to focus on the work of two leading figures of avant-garde Argentinean photography, Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola. The couple met at the Bauhaus in 1932 and begun a creative life together. Among the rising threat of the Nazi powers in 1933, they fled Germany to London, and in 1935 embarked to Buenos Aires. Having been established themselves on both sides of the Atlantic, they played a key role in the arrival of modern photography in Argentina.

The exhibition begins in the late 1920s with each artist’s initial ventures into photography and typographic design, followed by a section focused on the extensive oeuvre of each artist. In 1928, Stern (born in Germany, 1904) met Ellen Auerbach at Walter Peterhans’s studio. Peterhans was Stern’s tutor, about to become head of photography at the Bauhaus.  Grete and Ellen become friends and opened ringl + pit, a pioneering collaborative studio specializing in portraiture and advertising. Named after their childhood nicknames, the duo embraced commercial and avant-garde design to create protofeminist works and advertisements, using photomontage in their imagery to challenge the stereotypical presentations of women in advertising.

The highlights of Stern’s individual practice include the series Sueños (Dreams) that the artist produced between 1949 and early 1950s. This series of photomontages, commissioned as a contribution to the then-popular women’s magazine Idilio, reflects how psychoanalysis had captured the Argentinean imagination and infiltrated in popular culture. However, Stern opted to resist psychoanalyst interpretations, instead using the platform to comment on women’s unfulfilled promises and objectification at the Peronist society of the time.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh: Bete & Deise
Brazilian Screening Tour
Casa do Povo, São Paulo; Fundaj – Arte Contemporânea Recife; Capacete, Museum of Modern Art and Casa França-Brasil, Rio de Janeiro
August 5–September 30, 2015

If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution has commissioned the Rotterdam-based artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s film Bete & Deise- Brazilian Tour (2012) to be presented in several venues in São Paulo, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro during August and September. The screenings will be accompanied by conversations with the artist and invited guests, including the protagonists of the film, Bete Mendes and Deise Tigrona, who are special guests at the presentation in MAM Rio.

Van Oldenborgh (born 1962) addresses modern-day social issues in exceptional, authoritative, and multilayered works. She proposes a unique and subtle language to build a dialogue between a precisely selected social or historical theme, a space, and a film or photograph. Bete & Deise stages an encounter between two women in a building under construction in Rio de Janeiro. The actress Mendes and the Baile funk singer Tigrona have—each in their own way—given meaning to the idea of a public voice. Together these women talk about the use of their voice and their positions in the public sphere, allowing for the contradictions they each carry within themselves to surface, the artists confront us with considerations on the relation between cultural production and politics and the potential power that is generated when public issues intersect with the personal.

Shelley Spector: Keep the Home Fires Burning
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130
March 7–September 24, 2015

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Keep the Home Fires Burning by the Philadelphia-based and community-engaged artist Shelley Spector. Spector (born 1960) was invited by the curator Dilys Blum to explore the museum’s collection of textiles and create an installation of new artwork. Her moving response became Keep the Home Fires Burning, a walk-through presentation of wood- and textile-based sculpture that reflects on the universal quest for hope, home, and connectedness.

The initial inspiration for the exhibition is a lively hand-stitched embroidered work decorated with images of a home, birds, tulips, trees, and couples designed by the folk art historian Frances Lichten and sewn by her mother in 1943. The piece was later donated to the museum by the artist Katherine Milhous, who was Lichten’s companion for four decades. Spector has re-created it in the exhibition by suspending large sculptures amid freestanding works, made from discarded second-hand clothing and furniture, with the help of her mother, Anita, who has—like did Lichten’s—carefully cleaned, deconstructed, and organized the material to be transformed into sculpture by the artist. Works in Keep the Home Fires Burning—a phrase that Spector found in a letter from Milhous to Lichten—spans from large, flowerlike structures and a birdcage to tomato-shaped pincushions and wood-and-fabric lions. The display also includes works dedicated to the couple: The Egg Tree (a nod to an award-winning children’s book by Milhous) and Frances Loves Katherine, which features two figures in front of a house inscribed with the words “give sunshine to others.”

Ana Mendieta, Untitled: Silueta Series, 1978, Super 8 film, color, silent (artwork © Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection)

Ana Mendieta: Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta
Katherine E. Nash Gallery
Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota, 401 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
September 15–December 12, 2015
Program: September 19, 2015, 7:00 PM, followed by a reception from 8:00 to 10:00 PM

The unique exhibition at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery on Ana Mendieta, a Cuban-born artist who was sent to the United States as a child in 1961 as part of Operation Peter Pan, features twenty-one films by Mendieta, as well as a selection of her photographic work and a documentary short on the artist by the producer Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, the artist’s niece.

“Ana Mendieta was influenced by and interested in the artistic movements of her time, including Minimalism, earth art, performance art, and feminist art as well as the historical and spiritual legacies of many cultures, ancient and modern,” the exhibition statement says. Mendieta’s films touch on subjects from sexual assault in Moffitt Building Piece and Sweating Blood, which were made in response to the sexual assault and murder of Sarah Ann Ottens, a student at the University of Iowa, where Mendieta also matriculated, to films made in Mexico, such as Silueta del Laberinto and Burial Pyramid, developing her “earth-body” esthetic, as she termed the melding of sculpture, earth art, and performance.

“Mendieta’s artwork speaks powerfully to a wide diversity of audiences across the generations because a sustained and unflinching investigation of what it means to be human can be found at the core of her work.”

The program begins on September 19 with comments on Mendieta’s artistic legacy by her sister Raquelín Mendieta, her niece Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, and Mary Sabbatino of Galerie Lelong. Other programs and discussions on the role of the artist’s prolific career follow through the exhibition.

Judy Chicago: Star Cunts & Other Attractions
Riflemaker Gallery
79 Beak Street, London
September 14–December 31, 2015

The pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago will have concurrent exhibitions in London this fall. Included is a series of never-before-seen works in Star Cunts & Other Attractions at Riflemaker. The solo show of Chicago’s archival work from the 1960s and 1970s “celebrates the visual language and core imagery of Judy Chicago’s minimalist and early feminist work.” Included are a suite of paintings and early sculpture work. Featured will be the Star Cunts series from 1969. The series, a set of prismacolor geometric shapes, suggests a sphincter. Also on exhibit will be test plates from The Dinner Party, which permanently lives at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. The test plates attest to the time Chicago invested in her work through practice of ceramic decoration.

While the exhibition at Riflemaker is open, Chicago will also have work in the Tate Modern exhibition The World Goes Pop, opening on September 17, 2015. On view together for the first time will be her Car Hood series from the mid-1960s, which is constructed of car hoods spray-painted in bold colors and depicting male and female forms—a reflection on the Los Angeles car scene of the time.

Filed under: CWA Picks, Uncategorized — Tags: