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One of thirteen The Life of Washington murals by Victor Arnautoff, George Washington High School, San Francisco. Image courtesy George Washington High School Alumni Association.

CAA invites comments from our members regarding our position on the San Francisco Unified School District and its Board of Education’s decision to destroy, and later its reversal and decision to cover up, WPA-era murals by Victor Arnautoff at George Washington High School.

We spoke out against the initial vote, in opposition to the destruction of works of art and from the hope that creating a contextual reading of the murals might be of some value to the school and its students and an alternative to destroying them.

We also acknowledge that many, including CAA board members, find the murals offensive and damaging to the students’ learning environment, and supported the Board of Education’s decision.

Last month, during a reportedly contentious meeting, the School Board voted to cover up the murals rather than destroy them.

What do you think? Should the murals by Victor Arnautoff be covered up? Should they be destroyed? What are other alternatives?

More broadly, what place do controversial works of art hold in our society? What role do you feel CAA should play in these situations?

We want to know what you think and why. Let us know using the form, below.

Filed under: Advocacy, Surveys

Anthony Faris and Nick Nelson

posted by CAA — Sep 09, 2019

The weekly CAA Conversations Podcast continues the vibrant discussions initiated at our Annual Conference. Listen in each week as educators explore arts and pedagogy, tackling everything from the day-to-day grind to the big, universal questions of the field.

CAA podcasts are on iTunes. Click here to subscribe.

This week, Anthony Faris and Nick Nelson discuss utilizing technology to connect with audiences in galleries and museums.

Anthony Faris is an artist, curator, and instructor at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

Nick Nelson is the director of the Springfield Art Museum in Springfield, Missouri.

Filed under: CAA Conversations, Podcast

New in caa.reviews

posted by CAA — Sep 06, 2019

    

Barbara Wisch reviews Flagellant Confraternities and Italian Art, 1260–1610: Ritual and Experience by Andrew H. Chen. Read the full review at caa.reviews.

Christine Kooi discusses Henk van Nierop’s The Life of Romeyn de Hooghe 1645–1708: Prints, Pamphlets, and Politics in the Dutch Golden AgeRead the full review at caa.reviews.

Filed under: caa.reviews

Poster sessions at the 2018 CAA Annual Conference in Los Angeles. Photo: Rafael Cardenas

We’re excited to announce a Call for Participation for a special poster session dedicated to undergraduate research for the 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago, February 12-15. 

Organized by Alexa Sand, Chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities for the Council on Undergraduate Research, and Professor of Art History and Director of Undergraduate Research at Utah State University, this session is one of several events planned for CAA 2020 to provide more opportunities for undergraduate participation.

Submissions should be sent via this google form by October 31, 2019.

Selected presenters will be notified by December 1 and will need to join CAA at the student membership rate prior to participation in the conference. Participants will also be required to register for the conference.

Undergraduate research—whether part of a faculty-directed project, class-based, or an individual pursuit on the part of a student—is an ideal example of active and engaged learning. Students in art history identify questions, evaluate source material, test ideas and theories, and produce reports in some form, usually including a significant written component. In the studio art and design fields, research can take a different form, with creative practice being one way outcomes of a project can be delivered.

This poster session will be dedicated to presenting outstanding examples of undergraduate research. Submissions are invited from students conducting research such as object and/or medium studies, text-based analysis, experimental archaeology, thesis research, and/or creative inquiry. Students may choose to present findings from ongoing research or from recently completed projects.

We also encourage submissions from faculty and museum professionals who have experience with mentoring undergraduate research in Art History, Studio Art, Graphic Design, Visual Communication, and other creative fields. Faculty posters may address specific projects or case studies of student research projects, assessment of undergraduate research, characteristics of successful programs, or other approaches that addresses the challenges and benefits to students of undergraduate research.

This project proposal is part of CAA’s Undergraduate Outreach Initiative organized collaboratively by CAA’s Education Committee, Committee on Diversity Practices, Students and Emerging Professionals Committee, and the Division of Arts and Humanities, Council on Undergraduate Research.

Please contact Alexa Sand directly at alexa.sand@usu.edu with any questions.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Students — Tags:

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by CAA — Sep 04, 2019

Tony Cokes, Della’s House, 2019. Image courtesy the artist and Hannah Hoffman, LA. Photo: Elon Schoenholz, via artnet News

How Does an Artist Get a Gallery, Anyway? Here Are 11 Practical Steps That Could Lead to Representation

Read tips from artists, dealers, and other experts about what it takes to win the eye of a gallery. (artnet News)

The True Costs of Research and Publishing in Art History

Art historian Kathryn M. Rudy breaks down the costs of doing scholarly work in her field. (Times Higher Education)

A Pedagogy of Kindness

“Kindness as pedagogical practice is not about sacrificing myself, or about taking on more emotional labor. It has simplified my teaching, not complicated it.” (Hybrid Pedagogy)

Getting to the Other Side: Surviving the PhD

Straightforward, helpful advice from Dr. Asia Ferrin at American University for students just starting PhD programs. (Diverse Education)

 

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Filed under: CAA News

Annette Cyr and Amy Sands

posted by CAA — Sep 02, 2019

The weekly CAA Conversations Podcast continues the vibrant discussions initiated at our Annual Conference. Listen in each week as educators explore arts and pedagogy, tackling everything from the day-to-day grind to the big, universal questions of the field.

CAA podcasts are on iTunes. Click here to subscribe.

This week, Annette Cyr and Amy Sands discuss online teaching for visual arts.

Annette Cyr is a bi-coastal painter, filmmaker, and Professor at National University, San Diego, CA where she is Lead Faculty of Art & Music, and develops online studio and art history courses.

Amy Sands is Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, MN. Amy has been teaching online drawing courses for over 15 years.

Filed under: CAA Conversations, Podcast

New in caa.reviews

posted by CAA — Aug 30, 2019

       

Peyvand Firouzeh discusses the book Affect, Emotion, and Subjectivity in Early Modern Muslim Empires: New Studies in Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Art and Culture, edited by Kishwar Rizvi. Read the full review at caa.reviews.

Fredo Rivera writes about Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83 | A Documentary Exhibition at Pérez Art Museum Miami. Read the full review at caa.reviews.

Paul Eli Ivey reviews the Phoenix Art Museum exhibition and catalog Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist, along with the accompanying exhibition Transcendent Transcendentalists. Read the full review at caa.reviews.

Filed under: caa.reviews

The following article was written in response to a call for submissions by CAA’s International Committee. It is by Swati Chembakuran architectural historian at Jnanapravaha, a center for the arts in Mumbai, India. The author is also a 2019 alumna of the CAA-Getty International Program.  

Vibrancy in Stone: Masterpieces of the Đà Nẵng Museum of Cham Sculpture, by Trần Kỳ Phương, V. Văn Thắng, and Peter D. Sharrock. Photographs by Paisarn Piemmettawat (Bangkok: River Books, 2018)

In 2018, the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) partnered with the Đà Nẵng Museum of Cham Sculpture in central Vietnam to produce a remarkable and visually striking centenary catalogue of its world-renowned collection of the sacred arts of the Cham people of Vietnam. The publication of Vibrancy in Stone: Masterpieces of the Đà Nẵng Museum of Cham Sculpture was timed to coincide with the renovation and expansion of the museum. 

Beginning in the second century CE, settlements appeared along the central coast of what became Vietnam. The Chams probably migrated over the ocean from Borneo and were accomplished navigators. Their ports were the first call for any ship heading from China to India and the Arab world. Their role in the medieval maritime trade grew steadily and reached an apogee in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when the great neighboring empire of Cambodia declined. The prosperity won from trade led to large scale temple construction earlier than the Cambodians.  

Figure 1. Map of Cham archaeological sites in Vietnam

When tourism resumed in Vietnam after the wars of the twentieth century, the museum quickly became a prime attraction in the port city of Đà Nẵng. It is the world’s only museum devoted exclusively to the art of ancient Champa, the name given to the civilization of the Cham people. With 500 objects on displayits collection far outnumbers those in the Hanoi and Ho chi Minh City History museums, as well as the Musée Guimet in Paris. 

Figure 2. Đà Nẵng Museum, Vietnam Photo: Trần Kỳ Phương

In the late nineteenth century, fifty sculptures were gathered by French colonial administrator and amateur/enthusiastic collector, Charles Lemire, in a public garden at Tourane (Đà Nẵng)forming the embryo of the future museum collection. Some years laterFrench architect and archaeologist Henri Parmentier took charge of the neglected artworks and proposed a museum for their protection, which opened in 1919 (Fig. 2). He compiled the first comprehensive catalogue 

French colonial research formed the basis of Cham studies. Today a growing number of Vietnamese archaeologists and art historians are taking an active interest in this subject, expanding our understanding of the ancient art. Ethnic Cham scholars still remain few in number. Almost seventy years after Parmentier’s catalogue, a short guidebook to the museum was published about Cham history and art (Trần Kỳ Phương, 1987). It marked the first catalogue of the collection compiled by Vietnamese researchers and highlighted the link between Vietnamese and French research. After the devastating twentieth-century wars in Vietnam, some of the objects in Parmentier’s 1919 catalogue had disappeared, been damaged, or moved to other institutions. At the same time, many recently discovered artifacts have been added to the museum inventory.  

Knowledge of Champa’s history, culture, and art, and an appreciation of its richness and uniqueness, has gradually progressed with the accumulation of new data and the engagement of various scholarly disciplines by both national and international scholars. Champa studies no longer appear in only French-language journals, as in the early twentieth century, but now attract a growing number of scholars from Europe, Asia, and North America, who work alongside Vietnamese experts 

Vibrancy in Stone is organized into two parts. Part I includes fourteen essays about the history and culture of Champa by Vietnamese and international scholars. Part II presents a stunningly illustrated chronology of Cham sculpture accompanied by meticulous descriptions and comments by contemporary scholars.  

The introductory essay by museum director Vo Văn Thắng discusses the history of the museum, its collection, changing installations over the years, and the current renovation and expansion of the building. Subsequent essays by Kenneth Hall, John Whitmore and Đỗ Trường Giang address the importance of several Champa ports extending along the central Vietnam coast and their active role in the maritime trade network. Champa was probably never a unified state or kingdom but rather a series of loosely linked smaller polities. Its capitals were widely separated settlements on different parts of the coast, which took turns assuming hegemony over others.  

Whitmore’s essay delineates fully for the first time the rise of Vijaya (in today’s Bình Đinh province) as the culture’s capital in the ninth century to its sudden demise in the fifteenth century.  

Several essays address the Hindu-Buddhist religion, its rituals, archeology, and inscribed objects (by Shivani Kapoor, Ann-Valérie Schweyer, John GuyArlo Griffiths, Lâm Thị Mỹ Dung, and—full  disclosure—myselfwhile others (by Trần Kỳ Phương and Parul Pandya Dhar) focus on the architecture, taking the reader through the history of Cham temples and highlighting the evolution of key construction techniques and design features that produced a series of tall, distinctive and elegant brick towers along the coastline (Fig. 3) 

Figure 3. Mỹ Sơn valley temple displaying long, elegant brick sanctuaries Photo: Trần Kỳ Phương

The iconography of the beautiful and vibrant Cham sculptures erected in these towers—referenced in the catalogue title—is the subject of chapters by Thierry Zéphir, Grace Chiao-Hui Tu, and Peter D. Sharrock. Cham art has hitherto been almost exclusively studied through an Indic lens but Hui-Tu’s work brings out many new and unseen Sinitic aspects in Cham sacred art. For example, ninth century monumental sandstone Buddha from Đồng Dương monastery is seated in the European” position with pendant feet and palms resting on the knees (Fig. 4). While Buddhas seated with pendant legs can be found in Indian, Southeast Asian, and Chinese Buddhist art traditions, this particular hand posture is seen only in China and Đồng Dương. 

Figure 4. Đồng Dương pedestal from Đồng Dương, Quảng Nam. 9th century, sandstone, 30 x 177 x 70 in. (76 x 449 x 389 cm); sandstone dais supporting the Buddha, 28 x 87 x 49 in. (70 x 222 x 124 cm). BTC 177-178 Photo: Paisarn Piemmettawat

The question of the relationship between Cham and neighboring Khmers forms the core of the paper by Peter D. Sharrock. Addressing the beautiful Khmer bronze of a naga-enthroned Buddha discovered by the French in the main Cham temple outside Vijaya, he points out that this icon was never part of Cham iconography. Hthen uses art historical and epigraphic evidence to untie a series of long-distorting knots in the history of the Khmer-Cham relationship. 

Part II of Vibrancy in Stone focuses on masterpieces of the museum, one of which is the beautiful bronze illustrated in Figure 5, found in the Đồng Dương monastery in 1978. Earlier labelled as Tārā or Prajñāparāmita, here it has been correctly identified as the female aspect of Avalokitesvara and the main cult image of the monastery. 

Figure 5. Lakṣmīndra-Avalokiteśvara, 9th century bronze found in the monastery of Đồng Dương. height 6 in. (115 cm). Attributes: lotus (right hand) and conch broken at the time of discovery. BTC 1651-BTĐN 535 Photo: Paisarn Piemmettawat

Other masterpieces include the most famous Mỹ Sơn Śivalinga pedestal (Fig. 6a-b), the only Cham sculpture that records the daily spiritual activities of ascetics performing rituals, practicing meditation, conversing, playing musical instruments, treating diseases, etc., and a widely acknowledge high relief of Trà Kiệu dancer draped in beads (Fig. 7). 

Figure 6a. Mỹ Sơn, 8th century temple pedestal displaying several daily ascetic activities, sandstone, 25 ½ x 107 x 131 in. (65 x 271 x 333 cm). BTC 6-22.4 Photo: Trần Kỳ Phương

Figure 6b. Details of the ascetic activities depicted on the Mỹ Sơn pedestal. Photo: Paisarn Piemmettawat

Figure 7. Trà Kiệu dancer/apsaras, Trà Kiệu, Quàng Nam, 11th century, sandstone, 43 x 106 in. (110 x 270 cm). BTC 118/1-22.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vibrancy in Stone brings together some of the most priceless and rare works of Cham art. As such, it proclaims the value and artistry of works by the Cham people whose heirs today are an ethnic minority in Vietnam. Equally important, it gathers together these beautiful and rare works of art as a resource for scholars, students, and connoisseurs alike.  

Filed under: International — Tags:

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by CAA — Aug 28, 2019

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A New Definition of “Museum” Sparks International Debate

The International Council of Museums’s proposed definition—which incorporates mention of “human dignity and social justice”—has stirred debate among the consortium’s 40,000 professionals. (Hyperallergic)

Don’t Stress the New Semester

If you’re scrambling to create a syllabus, find useful readings, and develop effective assignments, remember you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Here’s a great round up of resources from AHTR. (Art History Teaching Resources)

The Met Is Investigating Objects in Its Collection With Ties to Disgraced Dealer Subhash Kapoor. Will Other Museums Follow Suit?

Kapoor was arrested in 2011 for allegedly operating one of the largest antiquities smuggling operations in the world. (artnet News)

Sexism in the Academy

While there were significant gains during much of the 20th century, feminist progress in the academy has slowed—and may have already come to a halt. (n+1)

Filed under: CAA News

News from the Art and Academic Worlds

posted by CAA — Aug 21, 2019

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Statues from the Kingdom of Dahomey, in present-day Benin, are pictured in 2018 at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Across Europe, Museums Rethink What To Do With Their African Art Collections

According to commonly cited figures from a 2007 UNESCO forum, 90% to 95% of sub-Saharan cultural artifacts are housed outside Africa. (NPR)

San Francisco School Board Reverses Course, Decides to Save Controversial Mural

Facing international outcry, the San Francisco school board reversed course last week, voting to obscure murals by Victor Arnautoff rather than paint over them. (San Francisco Chronicle)

National Endowment for the Humanities Announces New Grants

The NEH announced $29 million in awards for 215 humanities projects across the country.(New York Times)

Princeton Art Museum Partners with Historically Black Colleges in Art Leadership Program

A new partnership aims to open up career paths for students underrepresented in the field of cultural heritage. (Princeton News)

Decolonizing Your Syllabus? You Might Have Missed Some Steps

“Inviting voices into spaces not built for them or that undermine their messages, lived experiences, and expertise can often work against the well-intentioned goals of inclusion.”(Twitter thread)

Filed under: CAA News