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

Reviews in are published continuously by the College Art Association (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

David Cole
Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia: Images Publishing, 2015. 256 pp.; 195 color ills. Cloth $66.24 (9781864706048)
Karen Livingstone, Max Donnelly, and Linda Parry
Exh. cat. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2016. 320 pp. Cloth $65.00 (9781851778546)
The titles of these two books aptly indicate the ambiguity that has always plagued any attempt to classify the work of Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857–1941). Is he the modernist architect who advocated concrete construction, the machine, and eschewed ornamented surfaces, or is he the artisan architect who upheld the teachings of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and John Ruskin, followed Gothic principles, and produced scores of ornamental designs for furniture, wallpaper, and textiles?... Full Review
May 3, 2017
Patricia Blessing
Burlington: Ashgate, 2014. 240 pp.; 10 color ills.; 73 b/w ills. Cloth $109.95 ( 9781472424068)
Patricia Blessing’s Rebuilding Anatolia after the Mongol Conquest: Islamic Architecture in the Lands of Rūm, 1240–1330 seeks to place the monuments within their immediate social and political landscape. Departing from previous approaches to the subject that have stressed continuities with architectural traditions of the prior Seljuk and later Ottoman period, Blessing instead emphasizes the local circumstances in which the monuments were produced. She considers how building forms and... Full Review
April 28, 2017
Massimiliano Gioni and Margot Norton, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: New Museum in association with Phaidon, 2016. 192 pp.; 114 color ills. Cloth $59.95 (9780714871783)
Exhibition schedule: New Museum, New York, February 3–April 10, 2016
Anri Sala: Answer Me, organized by the New Museum’s artistic director Massimiliano Gioni and associate curators Margot Norton and Natalie Bell, is the artist’s first comprehensive survey exhibition in the United States. Sala (b. 1974) is an Albanian artist who lives and works in Berlin and uses primarily video to investigate the underlying structure of music and sound. Many of his works deal with emotional histories of architectural spaces as told by live and recorded musical... Full Review
April 27, 2017
Thordis Arrhenius, Mari Lending, Wallis Miller, and Jérémie Michael McGowan, eds.
Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2014. 248 pp.; 82 ills. Paper $50.00 (9783037784167)
Exhibitions of architecture have recently moved from the margins to the center of architectural history and theory. This shift reflects a greater tendency in scholarship to focus less on individual buildings and more on issues such as the institutional structures that underpin architectural practice, theoretical discourse and its dissemination, as well as architecture’s relationship to its publics and to mass media. These three themes provide the structure for the edited volume Place and... Full Review
April 27, 2017
Hélène Valance
Paris: Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2015. 356 pp.; 149 color ills. Cloth € 39.00 (9782840509950)
Anyone who cares about the representation of night in the modern era will want to have this beautiful book for the images alone, and anyone who can read French will profit from the strong analysis of nocturnal art and politics. Hélène Valance has written a much-needed history of how image makers reacted to the ways in which the American night was lit, exploited, and commercialized from the turn of the twentieth century until the U.S. entry into World War I—between the “closing” of the... Full Review
April 26, 2017
Susan E. Cahan
Durham: Duke University Press, 2016. 360 pp.; 20 color ills.; 113 ills. Cloth $34.95 (9780822358978)
Author’s note: When writing this review last summer, I could not foresee that it would be published just as depictions of anti-black violence in the Whitney Biennial were provoking international debate. These urgent conversations evoke the politics of race, representation, and privilege that animate Susan E. Cahan’s Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power and underscore the value of recovering this underexamined history. This month, July 2016, police... Full Review
April 20, 2017
Kathleen Nolan and Dany Sandron, eds.
AVISTA Studies in the History of Medieval Technology, Science and Art, 9. Burlington: Ashgate, 2015. 314 pp.; 31 color ills.; 126 b/w ills. Cloth $122.00 (9781472440556)
Although the aim of this volume is to show “the influence and guidance” (xxi) of the late French scholar Anne Prache, its thirteen studies do more. They honor the Sorbonne professor’s rich contributions to medieval art and architecture by embodying medieval memoria, or the art of memory as defined by Mary Carruthers’s magisterial works on the subject—“a memory architecture and a library built up during one’s lifetime with the express intention that it be used inventively” (Mary... Full Review
April 19, 2017
Martin Bressani
Burlington: Ashgate, 2014. 623 pp.; 86 color ills.; 64 b/w ills. Cloth $114.95 (9780754633402)
Martin Bressani’s Architecture and the Historical Imagination brings psychological unity to the life and work of Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, the nineteenth-century French architect, restorer, and theorist whose numerous and diverse activities continue to enthrall and perplex historians. In the groundbreaking 1980 catalogue of an exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris commemorating the centenary of Viollet-le-Duc’s death, Bruno Foucart (who supervised Bressani’s 1997 dissertation)... Full Review
April 19, 2017
Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio, ed.
Burlington: Ashgate, 2015. 254 pp.; 4 color ills.; 76 b/w ills. Cloth $120.00 (9781472460905)
Making and Moving Sculpture in Early Modern Italy addresses important issues concerning the material and economic history of sculpture, and explores the ways in which mobility, physicality, materiality, collaborations, costs of materials, and technologies had an impact on how the works were conceived and made by their authors and perceived by the public. As editor Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio articulates in the introduction, “practical issues as durability and modes of transport were of... Full Review
April 14, 2017
Neil De Marchi and Sophie Raux, eds.
Studies in European Urban History (1100–1800), Vol. 34. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. 338 pp.; 43 b/w ills. Paper $119.00 (9782503548081)
Gerrit Verhoeven
Trans. Diane Webb. Egodocuments and History, Vol. 9. Leiden: Brill, 2015. 365 pp.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $163.00 (9789004292710)
Netherlandish art was a standard feature of art collections large and small throughout early modern Europe, and many masters from the Low Countries took their techniques, styles, and themes abroad. Historians have acknowledged this international dimension, from Horst Gerson’s monumental Ausbreitung und Nachwirkung der holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts (Amsterdam: Israël, 1942) to the 2013 volume of the Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art (Leiden: Brill) devoted to... Full Review
April 13, 2017