Concise, critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in all areas and periods of art history and visual studies

Reviews in caa.reviews are published continuously by CAA and Taylor & Francis, with the most recently published reviews listed below. Browse reviews based on geographic region, period or cultural sphere, or specialty (from 1998 to the present) using Review Categories in the sidebar, or by entering terms in the search bar above.

Recently Published Reviews

Angela Rosenthal, David Bindman, and Adrian W. B. Randolph, eds.
Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture. Lebanon, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2015. 328 pp.; 12 color ills.; 112 b/w ills. Paperback $45.00 (9781611688214)
The essays in No Laughing Matter: Visual Humor in Ideas of Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity interrogate humor as a transcultural device used to address the thorny issue of racial, social, and political difference. Each of the book’s contributors carefully considers human representation and classification and how stereotypes are constructed through visual culture. One of the book’s coeditors, the late Angela Rosenthal, argues that visual humor must be rigorously examined because... Full Review
April 11, 2018
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Sharon Louden, ed.
Bristol, UK: Intellect Ltd, 2017. 404 pp.; 40 color ills. Paperback $42.00 (9781783207268)
Both frank and richly detailed, Sharon Louden’s broad collection contains forty concrete accounts, fascinating autobiographies in miniature, from artists describing the various ingenious means by which they strive to sustain “a creative life.” There are vital insights here, but often they beg further elaboration.Admittedly, Louden concedes a “hands-off” editorial approach, allowing contributors to speak with their own voices. Nevertheless, attempts are made to bind these accounts... Full Review
April 10, 2018
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Katja Müller-Helle
Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2017. 295 pp.; 58 b/w ills. Hardcover €39.90 (9783770560332)
The history of photography, film, and technology often builds its narratives around significant dates that seem to map precisely the beginning or end of certain developments in these media. The invention of photography in 1839 and the birth date of film in 1895 are such events, and historiography has repeatedly treated them with reference to one another. This dominant schema presents the development of instantaneous photography teleologically as a precursor to the projected... Full Review
April 10, 2018
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Louis P. Nelson
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. 324 pp.; 52 color ills.; 198 b/w ills. Hardcover $75.00 (9780300211009)
In this ambitious, generously illustrated, and beautifully produced book, Louis P. Nelson convincingly shows us that Jamaica and its architecture is not peripheral, but central to our understanding of the British Empire in the long eighteenth century (from 1692, the year of the Port Royal earthquake, to 1838, marking emancipation). Departing from the emphasis of many architectural histories of early modern Americas, Nelson focuses on the movement of people (whites and blacks), goods,... Full Review
April 10, 2018
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Teresa Posada Kubissa
Madrid: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2010. 524 pp.; 42 color ills.; 128 b/w ills. Paper €38.46 (9788493606046)
The German-Jewish art historian August Liebmann Mayer (1885–1944?) was one of the most distinguished specialists of Spanish art active in the first half of the twentieth century. He was also one of the most prolific. His publications on this subject number in the hundreds, ranging from comprehensive monographs on the leading figures of Spain’s Golden Age to groundbreaking articles that feature important documentary discoveries and new attributions. Mayer was instrumental in expanding... Full Review
April 9, 2018
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John Giblin and Chris Spring
New York: Thames & Hudson, 2016. 256 pp.; 100 color ills. Hardcover $55.00 (9780500292839)
British Museum, London, October 27, 2016–February 26, 2017
South Africa: The Art of a Nation threads together a narrative of breathtaking chronological scope, beginning with the Makapangsgat Pebble, the earliest evidence—three million years old—of a hominid choosing to keep an object for aesthetic reasons, and ending with contemporary art that uses both local and global artistic idioms to grapple with the aftermath of apartheid. The catalogue of the British Museum’s 2016–17 exhibition of the same name, South Africa represents a... Full Review
April 9, 2018
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Neil Harris
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 616 pp.; 43 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (9780226067704)
Near the end of Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience, Neil Harris concedes that “[i]nstitutions are much more than the sums of their staff and supporters. They change over time, effacing the impact and even the memory of their earlier leadership” (508). Nevertheless, he argues that the impact of an exceptional director can be profound. Such was the case with J. Carter Brown and the National Gallery of Art in... Full Review
April 9, 2018
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Ali Behdad
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. 224 pp.; 4 color ills.; 80 b/w ills. Paperback $30.00 (9780226356402)
In his new book, Camera Orientalis: Reflections on Photography of the Middle East, Ali Behdad connects Orientalist theory, photographic history, and the politics of the Middle East. This disciplinary confluence positions photographs in a cross-cultural dynamic where they “play a performative function in producing certain cultural and political meanings” (13). Camera Orientalis arrives on the heels of critical contributions from the fields of history, the history of art and... Full Review
April 6, 2018
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Andrea Andersson, Lucy Lippard, Macarena Gómez-Barris, and Julia Bryan-Wilson
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Siglio, 2017. 160 pp. Paperback $32.95 (9781938221156)
Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, March 16–June 18, 2017
Through gestures of collecting and connecting, touch has defined the lifelong project of Chilean-born artist, poet, filmmaker, and activist Cecilia Vicuña. With the exhibition Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, her deeply compassionate work gains an urgently needed visibility. Vicuña insists on the existence of a world that is interconnected and in which we, humans, are inherently embedded. Experiences of touch evoked by and constitutive of her work rupture the subject’s perceived... Full Review
April 6, 2018
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Edward J. Sullivan
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. 208 pp.; 81 color ills.; 18 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780300203202)
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, June 14‒September 6, 2015. Brooklyn Museum, New York, October 2, 2015‒January 3, 2016. Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, January 29‒April 24, 2016
Edward Sullivan’s book-length disquisition on Francisco Oller is an engaging narrative that traverses a wide historical range, from the personal to the national to the transnational and to artworks and their histories. Oller, whom Sullivan describes as the most prominent Caribbean artist of the nineteenth century, lived and painted during a period of intense social and political transformation. Born in 1833 in Puerto Rico to a father who had migrated there from Spain, Oller... Full Review
April 6, 2018
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