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The College Art Association -- the national organization of U.S. art historians, artists and other art professionals -- gets together for its 92nd annual conference in Seattle, Wa., Feb. 18-21, 2004. The meeting is celebrated for its intensive three days of panels, lectures and slide presentations by top art scholars on all areas of art history and art issues.

The topics at the panel discussions range from "Thomas Kinkade, the Artist in the Mall," chaired by Alexis L. Boylan of Lawrence University, to "Identity Roller Coaster: Between 'Magiciens de la terre' and Documenta 11," chaired by Jewish Museum curator Norman Kleeblatt and including presentations on the 1993 Whitney Museum Biennial by McGill art historian Colleen Ovenden and on Documenta 11 by "Diane Arbus: Revelations" curator Elisabeth Sussman.

The conference includes panels on Michelangelo, graffiti, relationships between art history and archeology, "Working on Living Artists," art on paper, art activism, "Photography and the Abject," the CAA's role in the international community, Victorian art, contemporary feminism and ""Fashioning the Public Self: Modernity, Transformative Fictions, and the Social Construction of Artistic Identity, Part 1" -- and these are just on Friday at 4:45 pm.

Also on tap is a "career fair" for members looking for employment, a book fair featuring the major art publishers, and "mentoring workshops" and artist portfolio reviews. The CAA's annual awards -- notably, the Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism, won last year by the New York Times' Roberta Smith.

Registration for the conference -- which includes the coveted publication Abstracts 2004, a compilation of summaries of the papers presented -- is $190 for members and $265 for nonmembers; for more info, see

Those stuck in New York City or other major art centers just as they settle into a serious winter chill can still visit the sunny Florida art-world via the online website of Art Miami, Jan. 7-11, 2004. Though Art Miami's thunder was stolen by the competing Art Basel Miami Beach when it stormed into town in 2002, Art Miami still offers a dynamic gathering of 120 galleries from 22 countries, including special "project spaces" and a "currents" section of younger artists overseen by Art Miami director Ilana Vardy, all in the modern Miami Beach Convention Center.

The fair remains the best U.S. venue for Latin American art outside of Latin America. Among the galleries from Spain and Latin America are Galeria Altair (Palma de Mallorca), Alternativa Elvira Neri (Caracas), Galeria Isabel Anchorena (Buenos Aires), Aqua Gallery (Guadalajara), Artempresa (Cordoba), Galería Cànem (Castello de la Plana), Galeria Isabel Ignacio (Sevilla), Kreisler Galeria de Arte (Madrid), George Nader Latin American Art (Santo Domingo/Miami), Luis Perez Galleria (Bogota), SPATIVM, Latin American Art (Caracas) and Galeria Maria Villalba (Barcelona). Among the new exhibitors this year are Kashya Hildebrand (New York/Geneva), Latincollector (New York), Halsted Gallery (Birmingham, Mich.), Myto (Mexico City), Walter Wickiser Gallery (New York) and Caterina Tognon Arte Contemporanea (Venice/Bergamo).

At the same time, the five-year-old Palm Beach Contemporary fair kicks off at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, Jan. 9-13, 2004. The lineup includes some of the top dealers in fine art and design, including Barry Friedman (New York), Galerie Cazeau-Béraudierè (Paris), El Museo-Fernando Pradilla (Madrid/Colombia), Flowers Gallery (London/New York), Fay Gold Gallery (Atlanta), James Goodman Gallery (New York), Nancy Hoffman Gallery (New York), Karpio-Facchini (Miami/San Jose), Locks Gallery (Philadelphia), Diana Lowenstein Fine Art (Miami), Marco Noire Contemporary Art (Turin), Oriol Galeria d'Art (Barcelona), Franklin Parrasch Gallery (New York) and Van de Weghe Fine Art (New York).

Funding for state arts agencies decreased overall for the third year in a row, according to the most recent survey of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Total state arts appropriations dropped from $354.5 million in 2003 to $272.4 million in 2004, a plunge of 23 percent. Per capita funding fell from $1.21 to 93 cents for 2004.

The cuts in three states -- California, Florida and Michigan -- totaled more than $50 million and accounted for nearly two-thirds of the decline. (California was cut from $20.3 million to $1.89 million; Florida fell from $30 million to $6.68 million; and Michigan was down from $22.4 million to $11.7 million). The vast majority of the aggregate decrease came from severe cuts of 30 percent or more in nine states. State arts funding decreased for 34 state arts agencies in 2004.

New York is still the most generous of the states in funding the arts, appropriating $44.7 million for 2004, down more than 13 percent from $51.5 million in 2003. State arts appropriations had gradually increased through the 1990s, reaching a high of $446.8 million in 2001. According to the report, the cuts reflect an uncertain economy and record-setting budget shortfalls totaling $78 billion at the state level.

The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London is presenting the first major exhibition devoted to Vorticism in 30 years. "Blasting the Future! Vorticism in Britain 1910-1920," Feb. 4-Apr. 18, 2004, features some 50 works by the artists most closely associated with the native British avant-garde movement, whose name was coined by the American poet Ezra Pound. Among the artists in the show are David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Wyndham Lewis, William Roberts, Edward Wadsworth and England's only Futurist, D.R.W. Nevinson. The exhibition is the first extensive look at the movement since "Vorticism and its Allies" (1974) at the Hayward Gallery and Richard Cork's two-volume study of the movement, Vorticism and Abstract Art in the First Machine Age (1976), which is now out of print. The show is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, and travels to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, May 7-May 18, 2004.