CAA News Today

We’re pleased to announce the appointment of two new editors for CAA publications: Christy Anderson, was selected to be Editor-in-Chief of The Art Bulletin. Balbir Singh will take the post as Reviews Editor of Art Journal. They begin their three-year terms July 1, 2022. Learn more about their work below.

EDITOR BIOGRAPHIES

Christy Anderson | Incoming Editor-in-Chief of The Art Bulletin

Christy Anderson Christy Anderson is an architectural historian with a special interest in the buildings of Renaissance and Baroque Europe. Professor Anderson has taught at Yale University, the Courtauld Institute, MIT, and the University of Toronto. At Yale she received a Morse Faculty Fellowship as well as numerous teaching prizes. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a Kress Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art and later as a Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford University, she studied the annotations made by the English architect Inigo Jones (1573–1652) in his collection of treatises and humanist literature. This work on literacy, architectural language, and the construction of the professional architect appeared in her book Inigo Jones and the Classical Tradition (Cambridge, 2006).

 

Learn more about The Art Bulletin.

Balbir Singh | Incoming Reviews Editor of Art Journal

Balbir SinghBalbir Singh’s scholarship focuses on the convergence of racial, gendered, and religious embodiment, with migration and policing under violent conditions of imperial and domestic security technologies. She is at work on her first book, “Militant Bodies: Violence and Visual Culture under Islamophobia,” which is rooted in questions that center post-9/11 racial and religious hyper-policing of Muslims and Sikhs, especially as they relate to bodily comportment and the donning of religious garments. Additionally, she is beginning research on a second book project — “Whose Terror? Vexed Attachments and the Contradictions of Freedom.”

Learn more about Art Journal.

We’re delighted to announce fourteen scholars have been awarded Terra Foundation for American Art Research Travel Grants in 2021. 

These grants provide support to doctoral, postdoctoral, and senior scholars from both the US and outside the US for research topics dedicated to the art and visual culture of the United States prior to 1980.

International Research Travel Grants for US-based Scholars 

Doctoral Scholars 

Thomas Busciglio-Ritter, The University of Delaware, “‘The Union of Excellences’: An Atlantic History of Early American Landscape Views (1790–1860)”

Ann Tartsinis, Stanford University, “Modernism in Pieces: Transatlantic Visual Culture Between the Wars”

Postdoctoral & Senior Scholars 

Caroline Riley, Boston University, “Thérèse Bonney’s Photography: The Politics of Art, the Body,and War from 1920–1970”

Nadia Sethi, University of Washington, “Alaska Native Cultural Belongings held in Museums in Estonia, Finland and Sweden”

Kay Wells, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, “Uncanny Revivals: Designing Early America during the Rise of Fascism”

International Research Travel Grants to the United States  

Doctoral Scholars

Max Böhner, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, “Twilight Aesthetics: Queer Visual Culture in the United States Between 1945 and 1969”

Sarah Happersberger, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany, “Connection, Community, Kinship, Network: Women Artists Performing Togetherness in the Long 1970s”

Jacqueline Mabey, University College London, England, “This Must Be the Place: Mapping Artistic Kinship and Economic Change in Downtown New York, 1973–1987”

Ana Gabriela Rodriguez, The Courtauld Institute of Art, England, “Tracing Puerto Rican Graphic Arts: Bridging Workshops and Crossing Borders, 1940s –1970s”

Frances Varley, The Courtauld Institute of Art, England, “Identity, Provincialism and Modernism in the US and Britain from a Comparative Perspective, c. 1870–1914”

Wen Yao, The University of York, England, “A Travelling Surrealist: Mobility and Representation in Stella Snead’s Paintings, Photographs and Collages Made in the US (1940–1980)”

Postdoctoral & Senior Scholars 

Dafne Cruz Porchini, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, “Jean Charlot: A French Artist in the United States and Mexico (1921–1944)”

Maria Stavrinaki, Université Paris I Panthéon–Sorbonne, France, “‘After History’: Variations on a Theme in the Art and Thought of the 1950s–1960s”

Emily Warner, Independent Scholar, “Abstraction Unframed: Abstract Murals at Midcentury”

Learn more about the Terra Foundation Research Travel Grants

Remembering Rick Asher

posted by July 13, 2021

Rick Asher

Rick Asher. Photograph by Ben Fractenberg.

Frederick M. Asher, beacon of collegiality and builder of institutions, died on June 26, 2021, having turned 80 just one month earlier. His generosity of spirit guided many scholars through their graduate years and beyond: at the University of Minnesota, where he spent his academic career, and around the world. With Catherine B. Asher, his wife and fellow historian of South Asian art, he led initiatives to document and preserve images of art, archaeological, and architectural objects and sites in India; mentored numerous colleagues and students; and contributed his energies to making academic organizations flourish across the world. He was an early, active member of the American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA); served as president of the American Institute of Indian Studies; and played many roles at CAA, most recently as part of the CAA-Getty International Program where his energies encouraged many of us to reach out across physical and intellectual distances to begin new conversations.  

His early research, published in 1980 as The Art of Eastern India, 300–800 (Minnesota), draws connections across the Gupta and Pala eras, thinking deeply about continuities across media—terracotta, bronze, and stone—and across belief systems. His subsequent research led him to study contemporary sculptural practices as a way of understanding the work of unnamed historical sculptors and to a deep engagement with the materiality, crafting, and afterlives of both sculptural objects and the sites where they were worshipped and excavated. His final book, Sarnath: A Critical History of the Place Where Buddhism Began (Getty 2020), published just months before his death, focused on the place where the historical Buddha preached his first sermon, tracing the establishment, excavation, and reimagining of the monastic site from that founding moment to the present. In April, Rick discussed the book with James Cuno for a Getty podcast, giving us a glimpse into his intellectual process and offering many of us a reminder of the rhythms of his class lectures. With his students, Rick always ran toward questions and tantalizing bits of information, wondering at what we don’t know about the past and at the same time marveling at contemporary uses of ancient sculptures and sites. At Sarnath, this meant both the tourists shuttling in from Varanasi with their local guides (guides who almost certainly had met Rick and discussed their mutual love of the site with him) and the international monastic Buddhist communities with pilgrimage centers nearby. Rick cared deeply about his students, and his engaging, dynamic teaching was renowned. He received the University of Minnesota’s Morse-Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2005–2006, one of his most treasured moments of recognition.  

I was incredibly fortunate to visit Sarnath for the first time with Rick and Cathy as part of a trip they organized for the cohort of graduate students in the late 1990s. The trip was exemplary of the Ashers’ generosity and openness—recognizing the hurdles associated with pursuing academic research in India, they sought to pass on their extensive experience by offering us the opportunity to shadow them in their respective projects. Rick had been working with a scientist at the University of Minnesota to ascertain the locations of quarries for various Pala-era (8th–12th century) sculptures by matching stone samples. The project focused on both the materiality and the process of crafting the sculptures—he considered how stone was separated from the earth, how it would have been chosen for a sculpture, and then how it was carefully carved with the detailed iconographies of a Vishnu or a Tara.1 The project’s success relied on his ability to bring people together in a common project: Rick recruited curators and conservators at museums around the world to undertake the delicate process of excising a thin section from the back of these sculptures to compare to the samples he gathered from quarries in Bihar and Bengal. It was this latter piece of the project that he embarked on that summer, taking two of us green graduate students with him into remote areas of Bihar, where we stayed in dak bungalows (remnants of the nineteenth-century postal system) and revisited many of his early research sites from his own graduate days. Rick’s enthusiasm for reconnecting with the people of the region and introducing us to them still resonates with me today, guiding my own fieldwork experiences beyond the inert object to understand the deep interconnections between art, history, and the people who made and continue to interact with the “works of art” we study, works that remain very much alive in the present. 

Rick had an incredible gift for open and positive leadership. He hosted ACSAA’s first conference in 1981, and he made sure that the group served as a space of warm, collegial exchange as it grew over the decades. He attended every conference, symposium, workshop, and meeting, seeking out the panels where colleagues and former students were presenting. He would often ask the first question, to draw out commonalities across a diverse panel and also, I came to realize, to facilitate discussion and to give everyone else in the audience time to formulate their own questions. It was primarily at conferences that he would make connections between scholars, a kind of academic matchmaking, if you will. One of the truths of my academic life is that if we have met, Rick probably introduced us. He would stride over, beaming, happy to see you, and then almost immediately say, “there’s someone here you should meet.” Then he would bound off, urging you to follow, to joyfully connect you to a towering senior scholar or newly minted PhD, offering a few choice intellectual threads to solidify the link. Rick understood that the big institutions—CAA prominent among them—only worked because of the dedication of an interconnected group of individuals who recognized their shared commitment to the field. These introductions wove the fabric of these institutions such that when he passed, my email inbox was filled with loving notes and remembrances from colleagues around the world—his colleagues, and also, because of him, my colleagues. 

Rick, whose intellectual pursuits focused on the material connections between works of art and people and who cared deeply for makers of objects and sites and the ways in which places and people shaped one another over time, thus continues to connect us even at the moment of his passing. His own post-history has yet to be written, but I have a strong feeling that his energy and presence will be with us at each future academic meeting, in each future encounter. So wonderful to see you! Come, there’s someone here you should meet. 

–Rebecca M. Brown, Johns Hopkins University 

Filed under: Obituaries

For our members and the larger visual arts community, CAA is disheartened by recent and continued actions on departmental closures in Art and Art History departments. The following links offer resources to use as we continue to determine the actions going forward:

In 2020, CAA signed on to advocacy with the ACLS: http://www.collegeart.org/news/2021/02/01/caa-signs-on-to-acls-statement-on-recent-kansas-board-of-regents-actions/

Earlier Advocacy posts and response:
https://www.collegeart.org/news/2018/09/17/caa-to-issue-best-practices-for-addressing-proposed-changes/

https://www.collegeart.org/news/2018/11/12/caa-guidelines-arts-and-humanities/

The 2018 survey of universities with departmental closures:
https://www.collegeart.org/news/2018/11/08/colleges-facing-cuts-to-arts-and-humanities/

Since 2018, several other institutions have closed and continue to close. Today our constituency has been affected by this ongoing situation over the past 13 years. CAA cannot stop any institution of art, design or art-history from the decision, necessitated by financial situation or otherwise, to close. To best support our community, as a part of our ongoing repositioning and digital transformation, CAA has identified the importance and continued growth of an e-learning model and publications to recognize and support those currently and who continue to be affected.

CAA has a robust and active group of committees, Board of Directors, and other members who all continue to work together and move forward upcoming guidelines and best practices, to survey and respond to the ongoing needs of our constituencies. The advocates within our organization help strengthen the organization as a part of the community of large.

Attendees at a reception at CAA's 108th Annual Conference in Chicago. Photo: Stacey Rupolo

Attendees at a reception at CAA’s 108th Annual Conference in Chicago. Photo: Stacey Rupolo

The Professional Committees address critical concerns of CAA’s members. Each Professional Committee works from a charge that is put in place by the Board of Directors. For many CAA members, service on a Professional Committee becomes a way to develop professional relationships and community outside of one’s home institution, and to contribute in meaningful ways to the pressing professional issues of our moment.

Candidates must be current CAA members, or be so by the start of and throughout their committee term, and possess expertise appropriate to the committee’s work.

Committee members serve a three-year term, with the term of service beginning and ending at the CAA Annual Conference.

It is expected that once appointed to a committee, a member will attend committee meetings (including an annual business meeting at the conference), participate actively in the work of the committee, and contribute expertise to defining the current and future work of the committee.

All committee members volunteer their services without compensation.

The following Professional Committee are open for terms beginning in February 2022. Please click on the links in order to review the charge of each committee, as well as the roster of current committee leadership and members:

Committee applications are reviewed by the current committees, as well as CAA leadership (CAA’s President, the Vice President for Committees, and Executive Director). Appointments are made by late October, prior to the Annual Conference. New members are introduced to their committees during their respective business meetings at the Annual Conference in February 2022.

In applying to serve on a committee, applicants commit to beginning a term in February 2022, provided that they are selected for committee service.

Questions about the committee charge and current work to the current committee chair and/or to the Vice President of Committees: Lynne Allen (ldallen@bu.edu).

Apply to serve by completing this form. Self-nomination submissions should include a brief statement (no more than 150 words) describing your qualifications and experience, combined with an abbreviated CV (no more than 2–3 pages) into a single PDF document and emailed to committees@collegeart.org. Applications will not be considered complete without a supporting statement and CV.

Deadline for applications: September 13, 2021 (11:59 PM ET)

Apply to serve

Filed under: CAA News, Committees