Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do we agree that this will be an asset in our teaching, especially at the community college level? 

Why the Google Art Project is Important

Posted on by Steven Zucker
by Beth Harris, Ph.D. and Steven Zucker, Ph.D., Deans, Art and History, Khan Academy
Our schools and libraries are being radically re-imagined for the digital age, but what about our museums? The New York Public Library, for example, is bravely (and controversially) rethinking its Fifth Avenue flagship building. Last month, MIT and Harvard announced edX, a partnership to offer free online courses, and last fall, Stanford offered three massive open online courses (MOOC) to hundreds of thousands of students for free, and Khan Academy provided 6.1 million unique users with free instruction in March 2012 alone. Museums, on the other hand, have remained largely insular and focused on their institutional identity. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the most recent digital innovation comes not from the museums themselves but from Google, which launched the second iteration of the Google Art Project last month.
Google faces numerous challenges among academics; nevertheless, we should recognize that Google’s Art Project has done something extraordinary for both museums and for education. A small team based in London persuaded more than 150 museums from around the world to share more than 32,400 high-resolution images beyond their own institutional boundaries.
This is a really big deal.
For the first time in history it is easy for non-specialists to explore and closely examine art from museums across the globe on a single website. There have been other initiatives that have moved in this direction, but never with the scope or functionality of the Google Art Project. The Art Project isn’t finished. It needs more museums and more art. It needs improved search and filtering tools. And the public needs better ways to discover and contribute new narratives about art’s history. Despite these weaknesses, the educational potential is tremendous.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lack of Positions in the Humanities?

This may not be news to many of us, yet I am curious how the lack of positions in art history might be effecting our departments or programs?

From: Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education
William Deresiewicz, originally posted in The Nation.
"A few years ago, when I was still teaching at Yale, I was approached by a student who was interested in going to graduate school. She had her eye on Columbia; did I know someone there she could talk with? I did, an old professor of mine. But when I wrote to arrange the introduction, he refused to even meet with her. “I won’t talk to students about graduate school anymore,” he explained. “Going to grad school’s a suicide mission.”
The policy may be extreme, but the feeling is universal. Most professors I know are willing to talk with students about pursuing a PhD, but their advice comes down to three words: don’t do it. (William Pannapacker, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education as Thomas Benton, has been making this argument for years. See “The Big Lie About the ‘Life of the Mind,’” among other essays.) My own advice was never that categorical. Go if you feel that your happiness depends on it—it can be a great experience in many ways—but be aware of what you’re in for. You’re going to be in school for at least seven years, probably more like nine, and there’s a very good chance that you won’t get a job at the end of it."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Barnes returns

A Museum, Reborn, Remains True to Its Old Self, Only Better
The new Barnes Foundation, in a new shell in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA — The Barnes Foundation’s move from suburban Philadelphia to the center of the city caused art lovers lots of worry.
Devotees of this great polyglot collection, heavy with Renoir, C├ęzanne and Matisse, which the omnivore art shopper Albert C. Barnes amassed between 1912 and his death in 1951, were appalled by the idea. Barnes spent years obsessively arranging his installation cheek-by-jowl in the mansion in Lower Merion, Pa., that he built for the purpose and opened in 1925, and he stipulated that, after he died, it should remain exactly as it was.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to fund the arts in America?

How to fund the arts in America?

Even though it won the Tony Award for Regional Theater this week, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, like many other regional theaters, has seen donors decrease because of the economy, but continues to operate because of generous board members and creative partnerships.
What can we do to stabilize funding for the arts? Can we learn from other countries’ examples? While arts funding is drying up in parts of Europe because of austerity measures, it’s flourishing in Brazil because of a tax on Brazilian companies.
In an era when the National Endowment for the Arts is stretching its budget to fund digital artprojects, what can be improved upon? How can public and private sectors work together?

Read the discussion...