time for caa’s annual conference

The annual College Art Association‘s conference is coming to New York City this week. It’s time to expect more ill-fitting khaki pants in the MoMA than usually seen in the galleries on any given weekday.  For this year’s conference, I wrote a proposal that was accepted for one of the contemporary art panels.  However, I had to decline the speaking engagement because I did not end up having the funding to attend the exhibition for which I was to write an essay and then discuss at the conference.  The lack of financial resources available to independent curators and writers is a problem that I deal with on a regular basis.  If I were affiliated with an instiution – a museum or university – then I would have been able to find some sort of funding for my project. This “What if?” scenario leads to questions of whether writers and curators will eventually need to obtain PhDs or seek employment at a museum, even if these insitutions are located on the peripherary, in order to complete research and create projects on a large-scale.  For now, I’m just going to hustle in NYC.

2 Responses to “time for caa’s annual conference”
  1. Biobebop says:

    That really blows you had to decline participating in the panel. But you hit the nail on the head when you say, “I’m just going to hustle in NYC.” I don’t think you’re going to find funding outside of a museum anyways, but New York is full of parvenu rich people from around the world, so you could always befriend/ego-hump them and “suggest” artsy fartsy long weekend jaunts that jibe with your practice while you manage their collection or something.
    Regarding your question about needing a PhD, a retired director of a major East Coast museum told me and about twenty other grad students that to work at any “respectable” level in a musuem, you need a PhD and fluency in at the very least one foreign language. On the other hand, this same man sidled up to me while I was admiring a large Whistler in a private collection, and asked me if I knew the artist. In shock (I feel Whistlers are recognizable at 100 paces even with only a basic familiarity), I was about to answer when he said the name of some totally obscure artist. So I take whatever he said with a grain of salt to say the least.

    • I love your description of the “parvenu rich people” who I should “ego-hump.” I want to make “ego-hump” a popular term in the current lexicon.

      Please suggest any names to me and I will hunt down those collectors (in a polite hunting manner) and befriend them. Over the years, working in the arts has taught me the delicate skill of having patience with eccentric types, making me perfectly suited for cozying up to collectors with a more than healthy dose of character.

      I want to follow up this post with a “CAA Interview Horror Stories” post. You should send me an email with yours.

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