Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

College Art Association: Some Highlights

2013 Annual Convention at the New York Hilton Hotel

Gelah Penn, The Big Heat, 2011-12.  Installation, dimensions variable, installed her at Lori Bookstein Fine Art.  Courtesy of the Artist
Gelah Penn, The Big Heat, 2011-12. Installation, dimensions variable, installed her at Lori Bookstein Fine Art. Courtesy of the Artist

There are two reasons you are likely to see a lot of people in black around midtown Manhattan through the weekend: Dazed and confused visitors not sure if Fashion Week is over yet, still hoping to be snapped by Bill Cunningham; and an influx of artists and art historians attending CAA.

CAA being, of course, the College Art Association.  Its 2013 convention is taking place, as the annual event does every other year, at the Hilton Hotel in New York.

The convention is many things to many people: a learned colloquium of myriad topics, esoteric or timely; business meetings for specialist professions, caucuses, interest groups; a meat market for would-be hires in art history and fine art departments, with interviews taking place in the cramped quarters of hotel rooms and corners of the lobby; showcases and debate forums for artists; a book fair; a place to browse art magazines or view electronic artwork displays.

What catches artcritical’s not-so-critical eye upon a cursory glance at the quite exhaustive program?

Wednesday Evening: Robert Storr is to present the keynote address at convocation, the academic side of the art world’s closest thing to the Oscars at which prizes are handed out for lifetime achievement awards.  The Frank Jewett Mather Award, for instance, that has in past years gone to the likes of Clement Greenberg, Barbara Rose, Rosalind E. Krauss, Linda Nochlin, Dave Hickey, Roberta Smith and Jerry Saltz, this year is divided between two scholar-critics on the more trendy end of the profession, Hal Foster and Claire Bishop.

Thursday Lunchtime: An open session, meaning the public is welcome and it is free, addresses the future of art magazines.  The moderator is Editor-in-Chief of Art in America Lindsay Pollock whose guests include  Ben Davis of and Anton Vikokle, the founder of e-flux.  Trianon Ballroom, Third Floor, Hilton Hotel, 1335 Sixth Avenue at 12:30 PM

Thursday Afternoon: Distinguished Scholar Session, another of the set-piece events at CAA, this year honors the great Princeton Sinologist and scholar of calligraphy Wen C. Fong, with papers that include Amy McNair of the University of Kansas on “Brushwork and Beyond: The Study of Chinese Calligraphy in America and Europe” and Columbia’s David Rosand on “Brushes East and West”. The honoree offers concluding remarks. Also at the Trianon Ballroom, but this is not an open session – a day pass or convention ticket will be required.

Hal Foster
Hal Foster

As it will, it appears, and despite its remit, for Thursday Evening: The National Coalition Against Censorship’s panel, Art Institutions Facing Controversy: Fear, Self-Censorship, and the Commitment to Curatorial and Artistic Freedom, moderated by Carol Becker, Dean of the Columbia University School of the Arts. Murray Hill Suite, 2nd Floor.

Friday Morning: The CAA Services to Artists Committee offers an intriguingly-titled panel, Meta-Mentors: Double Duty, whose participants include Brooklyn Rail publisher Phong Bui, regular contributor David Brody,  and Christopher Joy of the documentary art project, Gorky’s Granddaughter.

Saturday Afternoon: Studio Art Open Session, titled Painting:The Elastic Frontier at 2:30 PM at the Trianon Ballroom.  Moderated by Anna Kunz of Columbia College, Chicago, the panel includes Nicole Awai, Dan Levenson, artcritical contributing editor Stephen Maine, Gelah Penn (see picture, above) and Dannielle Tegeder.

But this is the tip of the iceberg.  As the iceberg itself, see here.