The CAA Conference offers many reasons to get excited. The amount of information and art combined with the excellent list of people presenting it–that alone is more than enough to bring out the geek in any art historian. Add the fact that the conference is held in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world and you’ll end up with a sensory explosion.
The task I have challenged myself to during my time in New York is not only to attend most of the sessions I am interested in, but also venture out to other places. I started yesterday during a late night studio visit with Columbia University MFA candidate, Chicago native and friend Caitlin Cherry. Sometimes it is nice to see the things on the opposite end of art history—the history in the making. For me, being at the Columbia University studios and then coming to the conference provides a balance between past, present and future.
What I love most about Cherry is that throughout her undergrad at the School of the Art Institute and now at Columbia University, she has stood firm for her love of painting. In an age of new media it takes a certain amount of courage to do that, in my opinion.
At Cherry’s studio I got to see works in progress, including a very timely portrait of Mayor Richard M. Daley that she has been working on. In case you have not had a chance to catch up on your Chicago politics, the Windy City art community has been preparing for a big switch of administration from Chicago’s decades as a Daley-run city. The art community, which Daley’s reign has proved beneficial for in many ways, is doing what it can to let the incoming administration know that the arts are important in Chicago, and we will be heard. (See Mayoral Meet & Greet by Chicago Urban Arts Society or Arts Power Chicago).
The other places outside of the conference I plan on stopping at include the David Hammons show at L&M Arts, Dawoud Bey’s Harlem U.S.A. show at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Ellen Gallagher show at Gagosian Gallery. See you there?