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Obama and Art History

posted by January 30, 2014

The College Art Association has great respect for President Obama’s initiative to provide all qualified students with an education that can lead to gainful employment. We support all measures that he, Congress, State Legislatures and colleges and universities can do to increase the opportunities for higher education. However, when these measures are made by cutting back on, denigrating or eliminating humanities disciplines such as art history, then America’s future generations will be discouraged from taking advantage of the values, critical and decisive thinking and creative problem solving offered by the humanities. It is worth remembering that many of the nation’s most important innovators, in fields including high technology, business, and even military service, have degrees in the humanities. Humanities graduates play leading roles in corporations, engineering, international relations, government, and many other fields where their skills and creating thinking play a critical role. Let’s not forget that education across a broad spectrum is essential to develop the skills and imagination that will enable future generations to create and take advantage of new jobs and employment opportunities of all sorts.

Read more coverage on this topic:

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags:

NHA Memo to Members

posted by January 16, 2014

Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), sent the following email on January 15, 2014.

NHA Memo to Members

Dear NHA Member Representatives,

Please click here for a new Memo to Members. This edition features:

  • Capitol Hill news, including an overview of humanities funding in the proposed omnibus spending bill
  • National Endowment for the Humanities news
  • Studies, reports, and initiatives
  • A compendium of humanities news articles and essays
  • Federal grant opportunities

We encourage you to share this memo with your colleagues. If you have information to suggest for a future edition, please contact Erin Mosley at

The U.S. Copyright Office today publicly released a report on the issue of resale royalties for visual artists, or the “droit de suite.” The report was requested by Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Senator Herb Kohl in 2012, and is an adjunct to the Office’s 1992 report on the same topic. Some seventy countries have enacted resale royalty provisions in their laws, over thirty of them since 1992, including the United Kingdom, which is home to one of the world’s most significant art markets.

The Copyright Office has concluded that certain visual artists may operate at a disadvantage under the copyright law relative to authors of other types of creative works. Contrary to its 1992 report, the Office is supportive of further congressional exploration of a resale royalty at this time. It also supports exploration of alternative or complementary options that may take into account the broader context of art industry norms and art market practices, for example, voluntary initiatives or best practices for transactions and financial provisions involving artworks. The report reflects the diversity of public comments received by the Office over the past year, and makes a number of observations and recommendations that Congress may wish to consider in its deliberations.

The full report is available at

Anne Collins Goodyear, president of CAA’s Board of Directors, and Linda Downs, the organization’s executive director, signed the following letter. You may wish to view a list of programs that have been eliminated by the government that have been supported by Title VIII:

Letter Urging Secretary John Kerry to Restore Funding for Title VIII

December 11, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The undersigned individuals and organizations share with the Department of State the fundamental goal of creating a peaceful, secure, and prosperous global future. To achieve such an end in an increasingly complex world, the U.S. needs accurate analyses by well-trained specialists both in and outside the government.

For the region of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, the Department of State has for thirty years trained future leaders and scholars through the Research and Training for Eastern Europe and the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Act (PL 90-164, Title VIII). Title VIII has played a significant part in the education of many prominent American policymakers and specialists in the region, including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, and US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. We are writing to you today to urge you to restore funding for the Title VIII program and to include funding for the Title VIII program as part of your fiscal year 2015 budget request.

Title VIII programs in fiscal year 2012 were administered by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and supported by the Department of State at a level of $3.5 million. Despite its low cost, Title VIII is a program that continues to have a significant impact on the analytic and diplomatic capacities of the Department of State and on the research base in the academic sector.

At stake are programs that support policy-relevant research, advanced language training, and a specialized information clearing house and reference service related to countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Russia and Eastern Europe. A remarkably high percentage of US university faculty who teach about Eastern Europe and Eurasia, State Department specialists on the region, and think tank analysts who advise policymakers have conducted their field work and research and obtained advanced language proficiency thanks to programs funded by Title VIII.

Although the Department of State solicited applications for a fiscal year 2013 Title VIII program, the Department in September announced the cancellation of the program for fiscal year 2013 because it did not receive appropriations. We believe the discontinuation of this program is short-sighted and not in the national and public interest. We urge you to use existing authority to continue to fund this program under the administration of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at least at the current funding level of $3.5 million for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. We also ask that you include at least that level of funding within the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the Title VIII program.

Title VIII is a small but impactful program that has directly supported several generations of policymakers, diplomats and scholars and indirectly supported their thousands of students and the people who depend on their analyses to make the right business, humanitarian, and foreign policy decisions about a crucial region of the world.

We respectfully draw your attention to this issue and strongly urge that the Department of State immediately take steps to restore funding for the Title VIII program.


Diane P. Koenker
President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Stephen E. Hanson
Vice President, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Vice Provost for International Affairs, College of William and Mary

Lynda Park
Executive Director, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Ambassador John Beyrle (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and Bulgaria

Ambassador James F. Collins (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia

Ambassador Jack Matlock (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union

Ambassador Richard Miles (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, and Georgia

Ambassador Thomas W. Simons, Jr. (Ret.)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland

Mary Thompson-Jones
Senior Foreign Service Officer (Ret.)

Michael M. Crow
President, Arizona State University

Robert A. Easter
President, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Michael McCarry
Executive Director, Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange

John R. Fitzmier
Executive Director, American Academy of Religion

Edward Liebow
Executive Director, American Anthropological Association

Thomas Seifrid
President, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages

Vitaly Chernetsky
President, American Association for Ukrainian Studies

Alexander J. Beecroft
Secretary-Treasurer, American Comparative Literature Association

Pauline Yu
President, American Council of Learned Societies

Dan Davidson
President, American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS

James Grossman
Executive Director, American Historical Association

Jonathan Rodgers
Secretary-Treasurer, American Oriental Society

Steven Rathgeb Smith
Executive Director, American Political Science Association

Douglas Richardson
Executive Director, Association for American Geographers

Cynthia Werner
President, Central Eurasian Studies Society

Anne Collins Goodyear
President, College Art Association

Linda Downs
Executive Director, College Art Association

David A. Berry
Executive Director, Community College Humanities Association

Melissa Feinberg
President, Czechoslovak Studies Association

Emese Ivan
President, Hungarian Studies Association

Ambassador W. Robert Pearson (Ret.)
President, IREX

William P. Rivers
Executive Director, Joint National Committee for Language-National Council on Language and International Studies; Chair, ASTM F43 Committee on Language Services and Products

Amy W. Newhall
Executive Director, Middle East Studies Association

David P. Patton
President, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research

Stephen Kidd
Executive Director, National Humanities Alliance

Ira Katznelson
President, Social Science Research Council

Pauline Saliga
Executive Director, Society of Architectural Historians

Kevork B. Bardakjian
President, Society for Armenian Studies

James Castonguay
Treasurer, Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Irina Livezeanu
President, Society for Romanian Studies

Olga M. Mladenova
President, South East European Studies Association

Laura Adams
Director of the Program on Central Asia and Caucasus, Harvard University

Stephen K. Batalden
Director, Melikian Center: Russian, Eurasian, & East European Studies, Arizona State University

David Cooper
Director of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Victor Friedman
Director, Center for East European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, University of Chicago

Robert M. Hayden
Director, Russian & East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh

Yoshiko M. Herrera
Director, Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia, and Co-Director, International Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gail Kligman
Director, Center for European and Eurasian Studies, UCLA

Terry Martin
Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

Scott Radnitz
Director, Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, University of Washington

Also Signed are ASEEES Board and Past Presidents

Mark R. Beissinger, Princeton University

Marianna Tax Choldin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Katerina Clark, Yale University

Megan Dixon, College of Idaho

Zsuzsa Gille, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Bruce Grant, New York University

Beth Holmgren, Duke University

Adeeb Khalid, Carleton College

Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, University of Wisconsin

Gail Lapidus, Stanford University

Susan Linz, Michigan State University

Harriet L. Murav, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Mieke Meurs, American University

Norman Naimark, Stanford University

Joan Neuberger, University of Texas at Austin

Janice T. Pilch, Rutgers University Libraries

David L. Ransel, Indiana University

Irina Reyfman, Columbia University

Douglas Rogers, Yale University

William Rosenberg, University of Michigan

Jane Sharp, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Olga Shevchenko, Williams College

Valeria Sobol, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Ronald Suny, University of Michigan

William Taubman, Amherst College

Katherine Verdery, CUNY Graduate Center

Mark L. von Hagen, Arizona State University

Leslie Waters, College of William and Mary

Robert Weinberg, Swarthmore College

cc: Ambassador William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Secretary Daniel Rubinstein, Acting Assistant Secretary for Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) Ambassador Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs


Representative Jerrold Nadler (D, NY) announced on Monday, November 22, 2013 his intent to introduce a revised Equity for Artists bill early in 2014. He and Senator Edward J. Markey (R-Mass) who will co-sponsor the bill finished a draft on Monday and support has already been committed by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D, Wis). The bill is similar to HR 3688 introduced last year and not acted upon by the Judiciary Committee. This bill maintains the 5% of the sales price for works auction for prices at $5,000 and above for living artists and those deceased plus 70 years, which follows the copyright law. The motivation for the bill is to ensure that artists do not lose out on any increase in value for future sales and provides reciprocity with the 70 countries that already have adopted similar legislation. The new bill eliminates the portion allocated in the first bill to art museums for new acquisitions. The AAMD requested that this clause be eliminated. Only those sales through auction houses are included in the bill. Nadler indicated that galleries were not included at this time in order to provide greater opportunity to get the bill passed.

Nadler spoke on Monday as part of a five-person panel sponsored by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) at Scandinavia House. In addition to Nadler the panel included Philippa S. Loengard, Assistant Director and Lecturer in Law, Kernochan Center, Columbia Law School; Karyn Temple Claggett, Associate Register of Copyrights; Director of Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Copyright Office; Theodore H. Feder, Ph.D., Founder and President, Artists Rights Society (ARS); and Sandra L. Cobden, General Counsel, Dispute Resolution and Legal Public Affairs, Christie’s. Loengard provided the historical context of artists’ resale royalty rights from the 1920s in France and the 2006 updated legislation of the European Union to the most recent legal action in the U.S. regarding the California resale royalty law originally instituted in 1976 and ruled unconstitutional by California Judge Nguyen. This case is currently on appeal brought by Chuck Close and other artists in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court and is expected to be decided early in 2014

At the request of Congressman Nadler the U.S. Copyright Office undertook an extensive study and analysis of the status of artists in regard to copyright and in relation to other artists such as writers, actors, screen writers and musicians who receive residuals for their work and whether artists are fully exploiting their rights within the current copyright law. The Copyright Office will issue their findings on or before December 12th. The issues they addressed were 1) financial—are visual artists benefiting within the allowance of the copyright law; 2) morality issues—are visual artists benefiting as well as other artists; 3) fairness—would this benefit a large number of professional artists, is the proposed amount reasonable and are the administrative aspects a burden; 4) limitations—what regulations or limitations should be put in place considering that the art market is generally unregulated. The Copyright Office requested formal comments in March and 59 individuals and organizations sent formal comments. On April 23, 2013 the Copyright Office held a hearing in which among other organizations, CAA made its case for the artists resale royalty represented by Anne Collins Goodyear, President. The Copyright Office also reviewed all the government studies on the effectiveness of the European Union system of resale royalties.

While many of the specifics of the Copyright Office could not be presented until it is published in December the following general observations were shared by Claggett: 1) Of all the world art markets, only China and the U.S. (the two largest art markets) do not have resale rights programs; 2) government studies indicate that these programs have no negative impact on the art market; 3) it is difficult to grasp how artists are hindered by current law and practice and the Copyright Office questions whether the resale royalty law is the best solution; 4) opposing parties are using the same statistical information to “prove” opposing perspectives on the legislation. The Copyright office staff refers to this as the “Rorschach Test.” Claggett stated that given the different perspectives on this issue that the Copyright Office report will not make any of the interested parties happy.

Ted Feder from ARS pointed out that this is only visual artists who currently do not get royalties and cited the current rates that Christie’s “taxes” buyers, from 20% to 25% and sellers from 1% to 10% depending on the price of the art work. He believes that the small percentage increase in sales required by the resale royalty legislation would be negligible to Christie’s clientele.

Sandra Cobden from Christie’s stated that while the auction house supports the rights and interests of artists it believes that the proposed resale royalty legislation is a “broken model.” She cited the study commissioned by Christie’s of the impact of the EU art market after the latest 2006 legislation where the art market in the EU grew 32% while that in the US grew 120% and China’s grew 121% in the same period. This was countered by Nadler who  indicated that the EU at that time was in a general economic slump. She also suggested that this legislation is unconstitutional since it would only require auction houses and no galleries or ecommerce sites to institute this system. Her solution is to abandon this legislation and amend the tax laws so that artists may deduct the sales price when donating works to art museums and non-profit institutions.


Art for Sale? Bankruptcy and the Detroit Institute of Arts from Sharon Flescher on Vimeo.

The panel discussion on the sale of the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presented on October 24th in New York City and organized by the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) raised many of the issues that characteristically surround a major art museum situated and owned by an economically ailing major city: economic necessity and the economic divide; the professional responsibilities of the state, the city, and the museum staff and board; the test of the concept of works of art held in the public trust; the politics of a Republican governor and a liberal African American city; moral responsibilities of museums and their communities; the nature of the intent of art donors and the future of gifts to museums; and the expectation that major donors and foundations should solve the city’s bankrupt state.  The speakers were Graham Beal, Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts; Sam Sachs, former director of the Detroit Institute of Arts and President of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Frank Robinson, retired Director, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University; and Richard Levin, Partner & Head of Restructuring Practice, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

The DIA has become the central issue in the media of the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy. The museum’s rocky economic history with the city and the state was presented by past director Sam Sachs. The museum was founded in 1885 by a group of private citizens called the Founders Society. As early as 1919 the Founders merged with the City by ceding the collections in return for city-supported maintenance. Over the years the city support decreased and the Founders sought assistance from the state. That support reached a high point of $17 million in 1985. By 1991 the state support was cut in half. In 1997 the museum was reprivatized so that the city retained the collections that were supported through city funds but most other support was provided by the Founders Society.

The irony of this present controversy is that the DIA has never been in better fiscal shape nor has its audience, thanks to new educational initiatives, been so diverse. The DIA raised $360 million in the past few years and in 2012 three suburban counties adjacent to Detroit approved a tax to support the operating costs of the museum for the next 10 years. However, the counties have already publicly stated that they would withdraw this support if the DIA’s collection is sold. According to Beal, this would essentially cause the closure of the museum.

The museum director, board members, administrative staff and lawyer have been prevented from meeting with the governor, the emergency manager or the attorney general of Michigan, who has already issued the decision that the DIA is a public trust and cannot be sold. A proposal to shift the ownership of the DIA from the city to the state has been blocked by the state legislature. Thus, the DIA leaders have been, as Beal said, “treated with disdain” by those in political power and have had to rely on the media and hearsay for information. The only contact they have had with the emergency manager’s office was his request for an inventory of the collections. When the DIA complied with a 1,640-page list of objects in the collection (using 10-point type and single-spaced formatting) the emergency manager’s office realized the complexity of the issue.

The DIA legal counsel, Richard Levin, made it clear that, according to municipal bankruptcy law, the state, not the federal government, has authority. In this case, the governor of Michigan appointed an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to oversee the city’s finances; he is the sole decision-maker on the preparation of a plan to sell assets, pay creditors and bring the city back to solvency. The current court case in the Eastern District Court of Michigan that was brought by the unions and pension fund managers questions the validity of declaring bankruptcy in the first place. The governor, attorney general and emergency manager will be called to testify. Levin emphasized that municipal bankruptcy proceedings usually go into settlements and that the settlements take so long that, “the patient usually dies on the operating table,” and as Beal stated, “a dead DIA is exactly the opposite of putting the city back on a good course.” The Oakland County manager, Brooks Patterson, told Beal that in order to attract corporations and investors to their county in competition with other major cities like Boston and Chicago, he talks about the one asset that downtown has, which is the DIA.

In the meantime, Christie’s appraisers continue to assign dollar values to works of art at the DIA. Their work will be completed soon. The accuracy of their valuation was questioned by an audience member, given the fact that many of the masterworks have not changed hands in many generations and there are no comparable figures to rely on. And the concept of a swift auction of hundreds, if not thousands, of works of art is unrealistic. Ultimately, the proceeds from such a sale would satisfy only a small percentage of the city’s debt.

Audience members asked what they could do to assist the situation. The petition that originated with Jeffrey Hamburger at Harvard University still is being circulated and IFAR asked that people sign it. CAA has circulated this electronic petition to members and it remains on the CAA website for those interested in signing it. Beal would prefer to absent the DIA from the center of this controversy since there are several other possibilities of relieving the city’s debt. The last rumor that Beal heard was that the emergency manager has taken the collections off the bankruptcy table.  Meanwhile the work of a great museum continues.


Graham W. J. Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, wrote that Gene Gargaro, the DIA’s chair of the board, has had three meetings with the emergency manager’s lawyer and the restructuring specialist. The first meeting was with Gargaro alone, the second with Beal and the museum’s top attorney, and the third with the DIA’s chief operating officer, top lawyer, and bankruptcy adviser (panelist Rich Levin). The tenor of the meetings was driven by the emergency manager’s people’s persistent demand that DIA come up with about $500 million.

New NHA Memo to Members

posted by October 28, 2013

The executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on October 25, 2013.

New NHA Memo to Members

Dear NHA Member Representatives,

I am writing with the first edition of NHA’s new Memo to Members. Please click here for:

  • a legislative update that includes a discussion of Senator Sessions’ recent letter to Acting NEH Chair Carole Watson;
  • follow-up to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Science’s The Heart of the Matter;
  • resources for advocates;
  • studies, reports, and initiatives pertaining to the humanities;
  • a compendium of humanities news articles and essays;
  • federal grant opportunities; and
  • upcoming humanities policy and advocacy events.

We hope that this monthly memo will provide you with tools to aid your advocacy efforts and help you and your organization stay abreast of policy and advocacy news. If you have information to to suggest for a future edition, please contact Erin Mosley at

Click here to download the briefing in pdf.

BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

posted by October 01, 2013

Americans for the Arts sent the following email on October 1, 2013.

BREAKING: Govt Shuts Down the Arts

October is National Arts and Humanities Month and how does the federal government celebrate? By closing the doors of federally funded museums, parks, zoos and delaying the distribution of NEA grants that enrich our communities.

Today is only a snapshot of what the 49% cut to the NEA could mean for our communities. As arts advocates, we cannot stand by and let this happen! In response, the Arts Action Fund is extending our petition to deliver even more names to Congress. This means we need YOU to take a stand and tell Congress that these drastic cuts are unacceptable.

Will you add your name to our petition?

You have until October 31st to sign this petition and tell your friends to sign as well. The Arts Action Fund has a goal of adding 10,000 new signers by the end of this month to keep the pressure mounting on Congress to not only oppose the 49% cut, but make sure it gets the funding it deserves for 2014.

Please consider adding your name now. We need you!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

The following text is from a blog post by Shira Perlmutter, director of the United States Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO).

We Want to Hear from You on Copyright Policies in the Digital Economy

The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) last week issued a green paper on copyright, and I’d like to take a moment to highlight the paper’s core content and goals. The paper, titled Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper), represents the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995. Along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the USPTO played a key role in its production, from gathering public comments starting in 2010 through the paper’s drafting and release.

The Green Paper calls for new public input on critical policy issues that are central to our nation’s economic growth, cultural development, and job creation. It is intended to serve as a reference for stakeholders, a blueprint for further action, and a contribution to global copyright debates. As promised in the paper, we will soon be reaching out to the public for views on a variety of topics. Please stay tuned for announcements about how to share your thoughts, insights, and recommendations.

John Greyson Arrest in Egypt

posted by August 27, 2013

The College Art Association joins colleagues around the world in expressing its hope for the swift release of John Greyson, Associate Professor at York University and Director of York’s graduate program in film, who was recently detained in Egypt, together with Tarek Loubani, a physician, while working on a film project. More information about John Greyson’s arrest has been provided by his home institution, York University:

Further information regarding the campaign to free John Greyson, can be found here:

Messages of support seeking his release can be directed to the following authorities:

Canadian Embassy in Egypt:
Egyptian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada

Egyptian Consulate General, Montreal, Canada

John Baird – Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada
Twitter: John Baird @honjohnbaird
Twitter: Department of Foreign Affairs Canada: @DFATDCanada

Stephen Harper – Prime Minister of Canada
Phone [Ottawa office]

For the US:

Egyptian Embassy in the US:

Filed under: Advocacy, Legal Issues — Tags: