A day-long series of panels on subjects of importance to the membership and the wider visual-arts community, called Saturday Symposia Sessions, will take place at the 2017 Annual Conference in New York on February 18. The four topics in this special programming are: “Museums,” “The Design Field,” “International Art History,” and “Interventions in the Future of Art History.”
The “Museums” rubric opens with a session called “Cultural Preservation and Its Publics.” Next, the Design History Society, one of CAA’s eighty affiliated societies, will facilitate a discussion on “Beyond Boundaries: Art and Design Exhibitions as Transnational Exchange from 1945.” Laura Flusche, executive director of the Museum of Design Atlanta, has found three artists—Sheryl Oring, Patricia Cronin, and Susan Stockwell—to explore “Museums, Artists, and Social Change.” Ending the track is “Preservation by Other Means,” a session lead by Chad Elias and Mary K. Coffey, both of Dartmouth College, that will examine contemporary art and the destruction of cultural heritage.
For “The Design Field,” the 2017 conference will feature “Making Objects Speak: Speculative Design, Critical Making, and the Internet of Things,” led by Gwyan Rhabyt of California State University, East Bay. Following that will be “Design and Science: Catalyzing Collaborations,” chaired by Leslie Atzmon of Eastern Michigan University. Wrapping up the track is a session put together by Andrew DeRosa of Queens College, City University of New York, and Laura Scherling from Columbia University’s Teachers College, called “Ethics in Design.”
Several sessions will address “International Art History.” Nazar Kozak of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine will chair “Holy Images on the Move.” Next, Ittai Weinryb of the Bard Graduate Center will lead a conversation with eight panelists about “Future of the Research Institute.” Shortly after that is “Global Conversations IV” chaired by David J. Roxburgh of Harvard University. This talk about “Transnational Collaborations and Interdisciplinary”, is the fourth and final session in a series taking place throughout the conference to celebrate five years of the CAA-Getty International Program. The last session for “International Art History” is titled “Figures and Formations of Civic Space”; four speakers are scheduled to give presentations.
For conference attendees wishing to make “Interventions in the Future of Art History,” CAA recommends following this symposium track. Karen J. Leader of Florida Atlantic University and Amy K. Hamlin of St. Catherine University will chair four sessions: “The Pragmatism in the History of Art,” “Art History Plays with Food,” “Art History as Table, Not Tower: A Practical Conversation about Diversity,” and “What Have You Done for Art History Lately? 2017 Edition.” The fifth session in the “Interventions” rubric—with the timely topic of “Defining and Exploring Socially Engaged Art History”—will be led by Cindy Persinger from California University of Pennsylvania and Azar M. Rejaie from the University of Houston, Downtown.
For full descriptions of the Saturday Symposia Sessions and lists of all speakers and the titles of their presentations, please visit the conference website.
As 2016 comes to a close, CAA would like to wish a safe and happy holiday season to its members, subscribers, partners, and other professionals in the visual arts. As we reflect on the past twelve months, the association would like to offer readers a look at the most accessed articles in the weekly CAA News email from the past year.
I Survived My First Year on the Tenure Track, but I’m Ready to Bail!
Now that I’ve survived my first year in a tenure-track position at a small liberal-arts college, all I want to do is curl up in a ball. A nonacademic position is opening up in my hometown. If I got the job, I’d still have adjunct faculty status and be able to supervise grad students. I’d also probably get a 30- to 50-percent salary increase. (Read more from Vitae.)
Advice for the Newly Tenured
I would love to share with you the three biggest mistakes that I observe newly tenured faculty members make. If you know what those mistakes are, then you are not only far less likely to make them, but you also have the opportunity to experiment with new ways of thinking and working that will help you to truly enjoy your tenured status. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)
How Many Hours a Week Should Academics Work?
How many hours do you work in a week? Many academics feel overworked and exhausted by their jobs. But there is little evidence that long hours lead to better results, while some research suggests that they may even be counterproductive. (Read more from Times Higher Education.)
The Disappearing Humanities Jobs
The arrival of annual reports on the job market in various humanities fields this year left many graduate students depressed about their prospects and professors worried about the futures of their disciplines. This week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released several new collections of data that show that these declines, part of a continuing pattern, are far more dramatic when viewed over a longer time frame. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)
Publish or Be Damned
The London office of Yale University Press has been a leading publisher of art history in the English language. When we heard of a new book planned by a leading scholar in the field, we expected to learn that Yale had pledged to publish it. When a bright graduate finished his or her dissertation, we hoped that Yale would publish it. (Read more from the Burlington Magazine.)
Racially Charged St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum Show Sparks Outrage
Racially charged works at a Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis exhibition have some calling for boycotts and the resignation of the museum’s chief curator. The museum has opted to build walls around the controversial pieces of art. The show will remain up and visitors will have access to all of the work. (Read more from Fox 2 News.)
Learning from My Teaching Mistakes
As a professional failed academic, I get asked if my decisions in graduate school were to blame for my failures. The answer is, of course, yes and no. Similar to anyone else with a PhD who isn’t delusional or lying, my relationship with my doctorate contains multitudes of defeats. And now, six years after I finished, I’ve got some perspective on both what I screwed up and what I didn’t. (Read more from Vitae.)
Syllabus Adjunct Clause
Here is a sample adjunct clause that can be inserted into any syllabus for courses taught by temporary faculty. Please keep in mind that since situations differ from school to school—and even from department to department—the following may not be universally applicable as written. Therefore, if you decide to use it, make the necessary changes to accurately reflect your own situation. (Read more from School of Doubt.)
When Students Won’t Do the Reading
Is there a more common lament among college instructors than “Why won’t students just do the reading?” It’s an important and difficult question. In my experience, many students understand, at least in the abstract, that the reading is important. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)
Why You Weren’t Picked
There are two major downsides to not getting that tenure-track job you applied for. The second one is the less obvious but may be the more pernicious in the long run: no one will tell you why you weren’t chosen. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)
Why Most Academics Will Always Be Bad Writers
For at least a generation, academics have elaborately and publicly denounced the ponderous pedantry of academic prose. So why haven’t these ponderous pedants improved, already? The critics would say the ponderous pedants are doing it on purpose. (Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education.)
Balancing the Books at Yale University Press in London
A letter signed by over 290 academics, curators, and writers expressed a “sense of shock at the restructuring of Yale University Press in London, particularly as it affects the renowned art books department.” Having learned that two commissioning editors were to be made redundant, the signatories asked for reassurance about Yale’s commitment to scholarly art publishing and for the rationale for the changes. (Read more from Apollo.)
How to Be an Unprofessional Artist
No one likes being called an amateur, a dilettante, a dabbler. “Unprofessional” is an easy insult. The professional always makes the right moves, knows the right thing to say, the right name to check. Controlled and measured, the professional never sleeps with the wrong person or drinks too much at the party. (Read more from Momus.)
Make No Mistake, Art History Is a Hard Subject. What’s Soft Is the Decision to Scrap It
In the UK, art history A-level is to be scrapped in 2018. The decision taken by the exam board AQA seems related to the Conservative government’s policy of ranking subjects by perceived relative difficulty, using an analogy of “soft” and “hard” that may be designed to belittle students and teachers who have apparently taken the easy way out. (Read more from Apollo.)
Essential PhD Tips: Ten Articles All Doctoral Students Should Read
If you’re still deciding whether to study for a doctorate, or even if you’re nearing the end of your PhD and are thinking about your next steps, we’ve selected ten articles that you really should take a look at. They cover everything from selecting your topic to securing a top job when your years of hard graft come to an end. (Read more from Times Higher Education.)
How to Become a Curator
Start out as an artist instead. In school, you’re always saddled with organizing the group shows, buying the beer, placating fellow artists’ fears, making the invitations, composing the checklist, finding the funding, contacting the press, inviting the audience. Your entire art practice becomes a smudgy line between curating and art, and you grow to feel strange and unnecessary. (Read more from Momus.)
Donald Trump, Taste, and the Cultural Elite
It’s said that taste defines us. The music I like lets you know, to some degree, what kind of person I am. Yet though this year’s presidential election has raised issues of racism, sexism, and classism, not much has been said about taste, and the role it may or may not have played in getting Donald Trump to the White House. (Read more from the Washington Post.)
Black Arts Community Expresses Outrage with Kelley Walker
“This is a mess, and I’m uncomfortable,” said Kat Reynolds as she spoke before the capacity crowd at the Contemporary Art Museum on September 22. The panel of artists and educators—who spoke during the Critical Conversations talk presented by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts—didn’t hold back from voicing their disdain about the art that hung in the very space where the discussion was taking place. (Read more from the St. Louis American.)
What Learning People Really Think about Lecturing
Is there really a war on lecturing going on across higher education? Do learning professionals want to kill the lecture? Read Christine Gross-Loh’s “Should Colleges Really Eliminate the College Lecture?” and you would be forgiven in thinking that there is and that we do. The problem is that her description of the current climate bears little resemblance to reality. (Read more from Inside Higher Education.)
Gallery Defends Kelley Walker, Artist under Fire in St. Louis Exhibit
The New York City–based gallery representing the artist Kelley Walker has responded to the controversy surrounding a racially charged exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis, but with a statement that raises more questions than it answers. (Read more from Riverfront Times.)
Should Colleges Really Eliminate the College Lecture?
Despite the increased emphasis in recent years on improving professors’ teaching skills, such training often focuses on incorporating technology or flipping the classroom, rather than on how to give a traditional college lecture. It’s also in part why the lecture—a mainstay of any introductory undergraduate course—is endangered. (Read more from the Atlantic.)
What Happens When a Museum Closes?
Four recently dissolved cultural institutions—the Museum of Biblical Art in New York, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science in California, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Higgins Armory Museum in Massachusetts—each offer a lesson in how to weather the complex process of closing a museum. (Read more from Artsy.)
Artiquette: Ten Mistakes Not to Make While Promoting Your Art
How do you make it in the art world? It’s a magical formula that involves, talent, drive, grit, and the ability to promote oneself. Unfortunately, talking up your own artwork, projects, and ideas can be a delicate balancing act. To help you walk that line, Artnet News has rounded up a list of mistakes to avoid in self-promotion. (Read more from Artnet News.)
Six Things to Keep in Mind When Applying for Art Grants
With governments cutting funding for the arts, it is getting harder for artists and art institutions to obtain art grants, fellowships, or scholarships. The professional grant writer Ethan Haymovitz has put together a list of things to keep in mind when writing your application. (Read more from Art Report.)
Getting beyond the Anecdote: Research and Art-History Pedagogy
Pedagogical innovations abound in art-history classrooms. National and regional conferences increasingly feature panels of inspirational examples and case studies. These sessions are well attended by instructors eager for new, proven ideas to improve their teaching. The speakers assure this audience of improved student engagement and efficacy at achieving learning outcomes with this or that innovation. But how can they prove it? (Read more from Art History Teaching Resources.)
This Art Historian Teaches FBI Agents and Surgeons How to See
Amy Herman teaches people how to see. Her tools of choice are famous artworks from major art institutions all over the world. Her typical pupils? Cops, FBI officers, medical students, and first responders. Herman teaches a class that helps people fine-tune their observational skills—which often prove critical in solving a crime or conducting open-heart surgery. (Read more from Fast Company.)
Five Strategies Successful Artists Follow to Thrive in Their Careers
As a gallery owner, I’ve been particularly interested in watching the careers of artists who have built strong sales of their work. These artists are able to generate sales that allow them to devote all of their time to their art. They have found ways to make a successful living while at the same time pursuing their passion. (Read more from Red Dot Blog.)
Five Time-Saving Strategies for the Flipped Classroom
I often hear comments like “The flipped classroom takes too much time,” “I don’t have time to devise so many new teaching strategies,” “It takes too much time to record and edit videos,” and “I don’t have time to cover everything on the syllabus.” I also hear “I tried to flip my class, but it was exhausting; so I quit.” If these comments sound familiar, it might be helpful to create margins in your flipped classroom. (Read more from Faculty Focus.)
How Do I Get My Foot in the Art World?
I’m a recent grad and want to learn more about the art world, so hopefully, one day, I can work in the arts. I didn’t major in art, but I took several art history and art classes and really loved them. I also love going to galleries and museums. Could you give me some suggestions on how to learn more? (Read more from Burnaway.)
Help Desk: Getting Paid for Curatorial Work
I’m a professional curator with over a decade of experience, mostly as a salaried professional. I’d like to do more freelance work, but curators seem to get paid nothing, absurdly little, or astronomical sums. How can I actually get paid for the work I do? (Read more from Daily Serving.)
Museums Are Keeping a Ton of the World’s Most Famous Art Locked Away in Storage
Most of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is in storage. Nearly half of Pablo Picasso’s oil paintings are put away. Not a single Egon Schiele drawing is on display. Since the advent of public galleries in the seventeenth century, museums have amassed huge collections of art for society’s benefit. But just a tiny fraction of that art is actually open for people to view and enjoy. (Read more from Quartz.)
University of Chicago Strikes Back against Campus Political Correctness
The anodyne welcome letter to incoming freshmen is a college staple, but the University of Chicago took a different approach: it sent new students a blunt statement opposing some hallmarks of campus political correctness, drawing thousands of impassioned responses, for and against, as it caromed around cyberspace. (Read more from the New York Times.)
On Not Reading
The activity of nonreading is something that scholars rarely discuss. When they—or others whose identities are bound up with books—do so, the discussions tend to have a shamefaced quality. Blame “cultural capital”—the sense of superiority associated with laying claim to books that mark one’s high social status. (Read more from the Chronicle Review.)
Medieval Scots Used Art the Way We Use Social Media
Medieval Scots once gave each other postcard-sized artworks to forge social bonds, in the same way we post pictures on social media today, according to new research. The “postcards on parchment”—whose painted images included patron saints, the Virgin Mary and child, and highly decorated lettering—revealed status, allegiances, and values among the wealthy classes in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. (Read more from the Scotsman.)
Rolando del Fico, last seen in 1970s Italian gay underground comics, is resurrected in the Winter 2016 issue of Art Journal. A project by the Catalan artist Francesc Ruiz revives the irrepressible character, picaresque hero of myriad amorous adventures, in a visual tribute replete with Rolando’s thought-bubble iconography of salamis and cherubs in various states of excitement.
Other features in the issue explore little-examined aspects of more familiar bodies of work. Amy DaPonte analyzes the portraits of Turkish immigrants central to the early work of the German photographer Claudia Höfer. Liz Linden investigates the overlooked presence of the textual in the works Douglas Crimp gathered in 1977 for the watershed exhibition Pictures.
In the Reviews section, Lauren Richman reviews two exhibitions of work by the midcentury American photographer Lee Miller, along with their catalogues. The artist Liam Gillick considers a book by Dave Beech that grapples with the relation between art and capitalism in the contemporary neoliberal moment. Christa Noel Robbins assesses David J. Getsy’s book that sees the sculpture of the 1960s through the lens of transgender and “transformable” bodies. Finally, Kent Minturn reviews Pierre Leguillon’s book on the experimental typography of Jean Dubuffet—a significant compendium of the work that is also a work of art history.
CAA sends print copies of Art Journal to all institutional members and to those individuals who choose to receive the journal as a benefit of membership. The digital version at Taylor & Francis Online is currently available to all CAA individual members regardless of their print subscription choice.
Amanda Cachia visits Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016 at Hauser Wirth and Schimmel. Although “it was the inaugural project at Hauser Wirth and Schimmel, a commercial gallery-cum-arts complex,” the show “felt like an ambitious museum exhibition,” making it “an echo of the revolution taking place within the institutional world of museums and galleries themselves.” Read the full review at caa.reviews.
Sarahh E. M. Scher reads Architectural Vessels of the Moche: Ceramic Diagrams of Sacred Space in Ancient Peru by Juliet B. Wiersema. The book “is a significant contribution to the field of art history” that “addresses the relationship between architectural spaces and its representation” on ceramic vessels and architectural remains from the Moche culture, “a topic that has not been closely researched prior to this volume.” Read the full review at caa.reviews.
Johanna Seasonwein discusses Elina Gertsman’s Worlds Within: Opening the Medieval Shrine Madonna. In this “ambitious exploration” of about forty sculptures known as Shrine Madonnas, the author breaks with past studies “of these and other kinds of late medieval devotional objects” and “aims to suggest ways that medieval audiences understood and responded these objects.” Read the full review at caa.reviews.
Kristen Gaylord reviews Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, an exhibition and catalogue organized by the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. Corita, “a teacher, nun, activist, and artist,” was a “national figure in her time,” and the “monumental” catalogue is “the first scholarly monograph dedicated to an important but previously understudied artist of the postwar period.” Read the full review at caa.reviews.
caa.reviews publishes over 150 reviews each year. Founded in 1998, the site publishes timely scholarly and critical reviews of studies and projects in all areas and periods of art history, visual studies, and the fine arts, providing peer review for the disciplines served by the College Art Association. Publications and projects reviewed include books, articles, exhibitions, conferences, digital scholarship, and other works as appropriate. Read more reviews at caa.reviews.
A young Ghanaian man photographed by Paul Strand in 1963 peers intently from the cover of the December 2016 issue of The Art Bulletin. Mark Crinson’s essay analyzes the American photographer’s book Ghana as a conflicted attempt to represent postcolonial nationhood.
In other essays featured in the issue, Michalis Olympios reassesses the Renaissance art of Venetian Crete in light of local Gothic traditions and adaptations of northern European models; Susannah Rutherglen defines a genre of Venetian Renaissance painting that treats interior doors and shutters as sites of artistic innovation; Ruth S. Noyes finds that Mattheus Greuter’s engravings for Galileo’s controversial publication on sunspots argue a case too provocative to articulate in the text; and Harper Montgomery surveys the work of the Guatemalan artist and critic Carlos Mérida, a cosmopolitan who worked in the 1920s to incorporate indigenous Maya culture into the transnational production and display of modern art.
The reviews section, on the theme of “Subjects Framed and Reframed,” takes aim at early photography. It includes reviews of recent books on Eadweard Muybridge’s nudes, photographs of the abolitionist Sojourner Truth, a European commercial photographer in 1870s Yokohama, and portrait photography in the Arab world of the late nineteenth century.
CAA sends print copies of The Art Bulletin to all institutional members and to those individuals who choose to receive the journal as a benefit of membership. The digital version at Taylor & Francis Online is currently available to all CAA individual members regardless of their print subscription choice.
Each week CAA News summarizes eight articles, published around the web, that CAA members may find interesting and useful in their professional and creative lives.
Why Does the Art World Love Overlooked Artists?
The prices of work by young artists escalate so quickly that it’s difficult to buy it continuously throughout their career. The same is true for public museums, which usually rely on either (shrinking) public funds or committees whose decision-making processes will always take longer than those of deeper-pocketed private museums. One fruitful solution to this dilemma is the focus on overlooked historical artists. (Read more from Artnet News.)
The Soft Power of Art
Harvard professor Joseph Nye coined the term “soft power” to describe the ability of a nation to influence others with its values and culture. In the mid-twentieth century, the CIA used American modern art as a weapon in the cold war. The legacy of this effort can be found in a popular discourse of contemporary art that rarely goes beyond how much art sells for. (Read more from Hyperallergic.)
Saving Art from Looting and Destruction Is a Military Matter
The British Army recently announced that it would recruit fifteen to twenty new officers with specializations in art, archaeology, and antiquities to be deployed in the field, just behind the front lines, to help identify, protect, and track art and antiquities that are in danger of being damaged, looted, or destroyed. (Read more from Salon.)
New Law Will Aid the Recovery of Nazi-Looted Art
In a rare act of bipartisanship, Congress unanimously passed a bill geared toward helping Holocaust survivors and their families reclaim art looted by the Nazis. Approved by both the House and Senate, the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016 now heads to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. (Read more from Artsy.)
An Artistic Discovery Makes a Curator’s Heart Pound
It’s an auctioneer’s jackpot dream. A man walks in off the street, opens a portfolio of drawings, and there, mixed in with the jumble of routine low-value items, is a long-lost work by Leonardo da Vinci. That is what happened to Thaddée Prate, director of old-master pictures at the Tajan auction house in Paris. (Read more from the New York Times.)
Big Data, Big Challenges
The rise of big data has been a tremendous boon to researchers, but it has also revealed shortcomings in how higher education collects and analyzes data and judges the impact of research on human subjects. Speakers during the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools presented that argument during a session on the ethical implications of big data-driven research. (Read more from Inside Higher Ed.)
Five Ways to Make Online Classrooms Interactive
The convenience and flexibility of the online learning environment allow learners to develop new skills and further their education, regardless of where they live. Yet for all of its benefits, online learning can sometimes feel isolating for students and faculty. How does one build a sense of community in online courses? (Read more from Faculty Focus.)
Why Schools Should Not Teach General Critical-Thinking Skills
Since the early 1980s, schools have become captivated by the idea that students must learn a set of generalized thinking skills to flourish in the contemporary world—and especially in the contemporary job market. Variously called twenty-first-century learning skills or critical thinking, the aim is to equip students with a set of general problem-solving approaches that can be applied to any given domain. (Read more from Aeon.)
Have some free time? Looking for a good place to brainstorm 2018 session ideas over a drink? Want food recommendations other than Yelp? We love our attendees at the conference, but we also want you to leave. To help, CAA has compiled a list of staff members’ favorite places offsite. Here are a few highlights.
For drinks in midtown, CAA recommends the Library Bar, a cozy spot in the Hudson Hotel with a fireplace, books, and a pool table, and Tanner Smith’s, which boasts a great happy hour and superb cocktails. For those heading downtown, Henrietta Hudson in the West Village is a friendly bar for lesbians. In nearby Greenwich Village is Julius’, the site of a 1966 “sip in” that protested a state regulation prohibiting bars and restaurants from serving homosexuals. If watching NBA basketball or NHL hockey is your thing, the place to go is Boxers, New York’s preeminent gay sports bar, located in Hell’s Kitchen.
Everyone must eat! Within a few blocks of the conference CAA staff can recommended these three restaurants, among several others: China Grill serves upmarket Asian fusion; Fig & Olive offers upscale season Mediterranean fare and a great happy hour; and Nougatine at Jean-Georges is the home of a tasty and reasonably priced prix-fixe lunch.
A short cab or train ride away from the conference hotels are: Elephant & Castle, a charming café in the West Village; Vanessa’s Dumpling House, which dishes up inexpensive dumplings and amazing sesame pancakes, in Union Square; and Yuka, a sushi restaurant on the Upper East Side famous for its all-you-can-eat option. In the same neighborhood as Yuka is Candle 79, serving eclectic, health-conscious organic vegan dishes in swanky surroundings.
Although the Museum of Modern Art is only a half-block away from the Hilton, CAA staff recommends trekking uptown to the Met Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s outpost for medieval European art, as well as to various locations in Harlem for Art in FLUX. An organization whose politics lean left is Interference Archive, a library, gallery, and archive of activist and social-justice movement materials in Brooklyn.
A popular but lesser-known historical site is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which tells the story of urban immigration in the United States. A favorite place of contemplation for one CAA staff member is the Irish Hunger Memorial, a site in lower Manhattan that marks the struggle against hunger amid a sublime view of the New York Harbor.
The next in a series of interviews with staff members is a conversation with Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs.
How long have you worked at CAA?
I have worked at CAA just over one year now. I originally started in the Publications Department as data coordinator for the graduate-school directories and moved over to the Programs Department when Lauren Stark left her position to pursue work in the archives field.
What do you do at CAA?
Many different things! I do the administrative work for all programs related to the conference: session submissions for the Annual Conference Committee’s review, ARTexchange applications, submissions to the various conference publications and the conference website, special events, business meetings, poster sessions, appointments for mentoring sessions, and more! I also help the juries for the annual Awards for Distinction as well as the conference travel grants. Both are quite rewarding.
What does CAA mean to you?
I became a member of CAA long ago when I graduated with a BA in photography and was searching for my first job. At that point in my career, membership was a way for me to determine the state of the field—what kind of jobs and opportunities and career paths there were for me as a young artist. As my career shifted away from art practice and toward museum work and then art history, CAA became a network for keeping up with peers rather than a resource for the job market.
Can you talk about one of your favorite member moments?
It would be too hard to pick one moment of engagement with a member. While working in the Speaker Ready Room I overhear amazing conversations between session chairs and their speakers while they prepare before or recombobulate after their sessions. Observing the uniqueness of each group and noting the different approaches that session chairs take when creating thoughtful panels is equally inspiring. I always learn things about new theories, historiographies, artists, and exhibitions through osmosis while I am running around doing management tasks!
What do you like best about the arts and working in the arts?
This sounds so cliché, but I like being surrounded by creative people and getting inspired and challenged by them: people who know that the “right” or “best” answer is an ambiguous, moving target; people who, after they are done with the business of an email, send me a link to an article, exhibition, or artist’s webpage; people who know the value of thinking deeply or uniquely; and people who do what they do not for the money but for their belief in the importance of discourse.
Do you have a favorite moment from the Annual Conference?
When I attended as a regular member, my favorite moments were seeing my academic heroes speak or listening to the annual Distinguished Artist Interviews. Now that I work for CAA “behind the scenes,” my favorite moments have become working with the room monitors onsite. These are the people that check conference badges at the doors to session rooms. I enjoy hearing what they are working on with their art or scholarship, pointing them toward sessions they may have overlooked in the program, and taking in the stories of the retired professors who are volunteering their time.
You are writing your dissertation on Native American art, and the CAA office is up the street from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). Have you visited the museum often since working here?
Yes, I feel very lucky to be so close to the museum’s New York branch. One of the main curators there, Kathleen Ash-Milby, is a powerhouse who focuses on contemporary Native American art, which is what I write about most often, so I value seeing the exhibitions at the George Gustav Heye Center as soon as they open. The museum also has the film and media center with rare digital content and a cozy educational library that I like to visit on my lunch break. It is the perfect spot for even fifteen minutes of reading outside the office, or for watching a VHS tape from the NMAI collection of performances that hasn’t been digitized yet! A lot of tourists visit lower Manhattan, but many of them don’t know they can go inside the Customs House—the building that houses the museum—for free, so it still remains a quiet refuge with rotating exhibitions and frequent nighttime events. In fact, I attended a MuseumHue event there about art and social change just a few weeks ago!
You have performed and taught dance. What are your specialities and favorites?
Oh, I could go on for hours about this. I love whatever classes I can take. As a company dancer, I felt like contemporary dance challenged me the most intellectually. It really pushes the boundaries of expansive concepts like “movement,” “performance,” and “choreography.” Closer to my heart, though, are samba dance and the Brazilian martial art of capoeira, both of which feed my soul. Samba is physically demanding yet joyful and amazingly fun to perform. I love looking into the crowd from the stage and seeing hundreds of people smiling back or even dancing themselves because they can’t sit still. Conceiving of and making new costumes uses my creativity in a different way.
There are many types of samba—including carnival mas group/Rio-style samba, Bahian-style samba de roda, and Orisha dances associated with Candomblé—that speak to different needs, abilities, histories, lives, and energies. Dance is an art form that grows with a person over time and answers their needs in the moment. Capoeira is the same way. It is actually a martial art, not dance. It challenges both my body (I swear someday I will still be able to learn a back flip … in my thirties) as well as my mind (in the strategy of the game). Capoeira even challenges my musical abilities in having to learn all the songs and instruments while trying to sing in tune!
Sunanda K. Sanyal visits the solo exhibition Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence at the Brooklyn Museum. For the last decade, Zanele Muholi, “who identifies herself more as a visual activist than an artist,” has created photo and video projects to document “multiple facets of LGBT life in South Africa, focusing particularly on hate crimes against the community.” Read the full review at caa.reviews.
Holly Gore reviews Leap before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957 at the Hammer Museum. The exhibition “offers an earthbound view on this storied institution, as seen through over two hundred artworks created by students and faculty.” Ultimately, the show’s “uplifting effect is grounded in physical encounter,” and the artworks “feel ever-vital, never dusty.” Read the full review at caa.reviews.
Midori Yamamura discusses the sixth edition of The Echigo–Tsumari Art Triennale in Nīgata, Japan. “The world’s largest international exhibition,” the placed-based triennale featured “180 new works in addition to 200 preexisting projects” and impelled viewers “to rethink consumer society, urban lifestyle, and the corporate world as not necessarily happier choices.” Read the full review at caa.reviews.
caa.reviews publishes over 150 reviews each year. Founded in 1998, the site publishes timely scholarly and critical reviews of studies and projects in all areas and periods of art history, visual studies, and the fine arts, providing peer review for the disciplines served by the College Art Association. Publications and projects reviewed include books, articles, exhibitions, conferences, digital scholarship, and other works as appropriate. Read more reviews at caa.reviews.
posted by CAA — December 16, 2016
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.
Ruth Buchanan, Judith Hopf, Marianne Wex: Bad Visual Systems
Adam Art Gallery
Victoria University of Wellington, Gate 3, Kelburn Parade, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
October 2–December 22, 2016
Victoria University of Wellington presents Bad Visual Systems, a major new exhibition by the New Zealand-born, Berlin-based artist Ruth Buchanan. In order to position her thinking within a feminist history and discourse, Buchanan has chosen to work with two fellow artists of different generations that are also based in Germany: Judith Hopf and Marianne Wex.
The title of the exhibition draws on the idea, first articulated by the feminist theorist Donna Haraway, that “self-identity is a bad visual system.” Buchanan is drawn to this notion as it concisely articulates her sense that there are powerful forces vested in architecture, art, language, society, and the structural systems that take place within them.
Buchanan (born in 1980 in New Plymouth) has blurred the roles of artist, curator, and designer, playing all three to create a fully immersive installation with objects, materials, display systems, screens, images, and words. The artist creates situations she describes as “meetings with meaning,” where the systems utilized in the production of culture—display formats, collection protocols, museum structure—are interrogated, while exhibition and graphic design are reappropriated in order to manipulate the viewer’s experience.
In Bad Visual Systems, Hopf (born in Berlin, 1969) is represented by three film works that typify her irreverent approach to art practice. Wex (born in Hamburg, 1937) presents excerpts of the project Let’s Take Back Our Space: ‘Female’ and ‘Male’ Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures (1977–79), a compilation of thousands of images of men’s and women’s differing body language.
Ruby Rumié: Weaving Streets
Centro, Cellejón de los Estribos, Esquina Playa de la Artillería, Carrera 2 nO. 33–36, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
November 2–December 23, 2016
NH Galería presents Ruby Rumié’s Weaving Streets, an arresting exhibition born from a chance encounter between the artist and Dominga Torres Tehran, a woman who has walked the city streets selling fish for more than forty-five years.
Weaving Streets (tejiendo calles) was a phrase used by grandmothers to describe those who walked the streets of the city. Following Rumié’s captivation by Dominga’s unique and natural beauty, the artist worked on a series of projects for this exhibition, including photographs, video, poster, and five volumes on Cartagena’s ambulant street vendors. The collection is an attempt to rescue, from oblivion and invisibility, women like Dominga who have spent their lives as ambulant street vendors. While the artist’s goal is to present new views on the vendors and their environment to an audience, the portrayed women will have a meaningful encounter themselves with their own images in the gallery as well.
Rumié (Colombian, b. 1958) condenses the collected material into a corpus in a historical archival manner. Five volumes unfold spatially in the gallery: photo albums picturing each participant, stamp albums paying tribute to them, and a video of a ceremony held in their honor will frame the gallery space so that the images collectively transform into a fight against death and oblivion, thus becoming a legacy and memory to be heard by generations to come.
Rumié’s work includes painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation. She develops projects based on injustice and the impact of modern life in the daily lives of common people. She aims to provide a social and creative voice to women who suffered from domestic violence. In the artist’s words: “Problems such as gender violence, gentrification, social barriers and discrimination constitute a constant concern which I attempt to uncover through my work, by means of large installations where I use repetition as a platform for protest; bodies as objects of mass consumption that reveal the disappearance of our intangible heritage, and photographs to suggest the enigma of social stratification, all of these intend to stimulate reflection, playfulness, visual pleasure, emotion and inquiry.”
Anthea Hamilton, Helen Marten and Josephine Pryde: 2016 Turner Prize
Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG
September 27, 2016–January 2, 2017
This year, three women artists have been shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize, awarded annually to an artist under fifty, born, living, or working in Britain.
Anthea Hamilton (born in London, 1978) has a research-based practice that is strongly influenced by the early twentieth century French writer and dramatist Antonin Artaud, and his call for the “physical knowledge of images.” Hamilton wants visitors to experience a bodily response to an idea or an image when we encounter her work made of unexpected materials, scale, and humor. For the Turner Prize, Hamilton restages the exhibition Lichen! Libido! Chastity! for which she was nominated at New York’s SculptureCenter, with wallpaper “bricks” covering the walls, as well as new works specifically made for Tate including a floor-to-ceiling mural of the London sky at 3:00 PM on a sunny day in June.
Helen Marten (born in Macclesfield, 1985) uses sculpture, screen printing, and her own writing to produce installations that are full of references, from the contemporary to the historical, and from the everyday to the enigmatic. For the Turner Prize, the artist brought together a range of handmade and found objects in collagelike gatherings that have a playful and poetic approach. Marten’s exhibition at the Tate Britain space is divided into three sections. Each suggests a workstation or terminal where some unknown human activity has been interrupted. She encourages viewers to look very closely at the objects she makes, as well as the materials she uses, inviting them to reconsider the images and objects that surround us in the modern world.
Josephine Pryde (born in Alnwick, 1967) explores the nature of image making and display through photography and sculpture. For the Turner Prize she has created new works using domestic kitchen worktops. Placing objects on the back of the worktops and then exposed them to sunlight in London, Athens, and Berlin, Pryde offers resulting marks that are reminiscent of photograms, a cameraless photographic technique developed by early photographers as well as by experimental twentieth-century photographers. Resembling fashion or advertising images, her photographs in the ongoing series Hands “Für Mich” are closely cropped and focus on the models’ upper body and hands touching objects such as phones, computer tablets, and notebooks. Our attention is drawn to the point to the gestures the hands perform when body and the object meet.
Sabra Moore: Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970–1992
Available from New Village Press
Released in October, Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970–1992 is an illustrated trip through Sabra Moore’s art, life, and collaborations with other female artists at the center of New York City’s “second feminist wave.” Thanks to Moore’s penchant for journaling, personal narratives and historical details bring the era to life, providing “thoughtful introspection about art, writing, identity, family, and dreams.”
“Through Moore’s witty, nuanced, and poignant narration, readers follow the stories of these bold, trailblazing women as they find ways to create personally and politically meaningful artworks, exhibitions, protests, and institutions in response to war, environmental degradation, violence against women, struggles for reproductive freedom, and racial tension—all while fighting for greater opportunities for women in the art world.”
Moore, an artist, writer, and activist, moved to New York in 1966. She was president of the NYC/Women’s Caucus for Art, a key organizer of the 1984 demonstration against the Museum of Modern Art for excluding women and minority artists. Moore was also a core member of the influential Heresies Collective, an active member of Women Artists in Revolution and Women’s Action Coalition, and a leading organizer/creator of several large-scale women’s exhibitions in New York, Brazil, Canada, and New Mexico. Her memoir boasts 950 color and black-and-white illustrations and is accompanied by forewards from Lucy Lippard and Margaret Randall.
Elizabeth Stone: 40 Moons
Granary Art Center
86 N Main Street, Ephraim, Utah
October 5, 2016–January 27, 2017
The visual artist Elizabeth Stone’s photographs 40 Moons at the Granary Art Center in Ephraim, Utah, recontextualize journal writings into circular, lunarlike photographs depicting the final forty months of her mother’s life.
A Montana-based artist, Stone makes work that explores identity, impermanence, and mark making while combining her study of photograph and drawing with biology and digital technology. In 40 Moons, the daily journals written by her mother’s caregivers are photographed and layered, each final photograph a representation of a month in her mother’s final stages with Parkinson’s disease and the dementia associated with this illness.
“Science has taught us that the gravitational pull of the moon tugs on the surface of our big, blue oceans until its surface rises up and outward,” Stone writes in her artist statement. “Mythology and astrology has taught us that the moon is a symbol of subtlety, a luminary that provides light through reflection. The moon waxes and wanes, shifting and progressing through a cycle of light and dark.”
Mary Maughelli: Abstract Expressionism and Feminist Artwork
Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery
Henry Madden Library, Fresno State, 5200 N. Barton Ave., Fresno, CA
November 4–December 16, 2016
The posthumous exhibition Mary Maughelli: Abstract Expressionism and Feminist Artwork at the Fresno State Henry Madden Library presents the artist’s early abstract work and explores the first California art movement. A Fulbright scholar and feminist artist, Maughelli died in October 2015.
A founding member of Gallery 25, Maughelli taught for thirty-six years at Fresno State and set the foundation for the arrival of the visiting artist Judy Chicago, leading to the formation of Fresno State’s feminist art program. The exhibition is aimed at educating viewers about Abstract Expressionism and the feminist art movement during the cultural and political environments of those times, integrating augmented reality and allowing the community a unique interaction with the content.
“Mary Maughelli is a trailblazer, and we are all indebted to her artistic vision,” said Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “She transcended her own historical space and forged a new meaning for the female body, one that challenged the typical binary model that made use of an essentialist nature in order to limit the creative process and value of womanhood. She created a legacy that epitomizes the generosity inherent in art—the creative process envisions a new perspective of a better world.”