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

Rebecca Pinner
Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2015. 292 pp.; 4 color ills.; 9 b/w ills. Hardcover $95.00 (9781783270354)
Rebecca Pinner examines the cult of the Anglo-Saxon king Edmund (d. 869) in the High and late Middle Ages. Exploring both textual proliferation—as she points out, more than thirty versions of his legend were created (2)—and visual representation, Pinner attempts to uncover how a king for whom only the sketchiest biographical details are recoverable became the subject of a “vast, elaborate cult” (5) by the end of the Middle Ages. She argues that the haziness of Edmund’s biography was the... Full Review
February 13, 2018
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Bernhard Schnackenburg
Petersberg, Germany: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2016. 488 pp.; 529 ills. Hardcover € 148.00 (9783731903338)
Jan Lievens: Friend and Rival of the Young Rembrandt considers the early career of one of the Dutch Republic’s most beguiling artists, a painter-printmaker who worked for courts in The Hague, London, and Berlin but also practiced his craft for eight years in Antwerp and participated in Amsterdam’s grandest decorative program in the seventeenth century, the new Town Hall. Part gentleman painter à la Peter Paul Rubens, part hustler on a competitive market for art, Jan Lievens... Full Review
February 13, 2018
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Sarah Van Beurden
Athens, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2015. 392 pp.; 12 color ills.; 64 b/w ills. Paperback $34.95 (9780821421918)
We art historians have gained some familiarity with the independence-era history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from Raoul Peck’s acclaimed film Lumumba (2000) and from several published studies on the life and death of Patrice Lumumba, its first prime minister. A key publication is A Congo Chronicle: Patrice Lumumba in Urban Art, a catalogue for the exhibition of the same title presented at the... Full Review
February 13, 2018
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Perrin Stein
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. 329 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781588396013)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, October 6, 2016–January 8, 2017
The French eighteenth century, an era often derided and dismissed as frivolous and libertine, has been experiencing a revival by scholars in the last three decades, with the prolific artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) occupying a singular position in the period’s rehabilitation. Fragonard has been the subject of at least four major monographic shows in the last three years—including the recent Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures (2017) at the National Gallery of Art and... Full Review
February 12, 2018
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Mary Jacobus
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016. 320 pp.; 96 color ills.; 37 b/w ills. Hardcover $45.00 (9780691170725)
“Where’s the poet?” Cy Twombly posed this question in a drawing he made in August 1960 while on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. Yet, as Mary Jacobus tells us in her new book, Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint, this is not merely the painter’s question but a quotation from an unfinished poem John Keats wrote in 1818. Furthermore, the borrowed Keats line is not alone in Twombly’s drawing. These words are accompanied by more text (the heading “Sonnet” and the phrase... Full Review
February 12, 2018
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Abigail McEwen
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. 272 pp.; 68 color ills.; 61 b/w ills. Hardcover $75.00 (9780300216813)
In Revolutionary Horizons: Art and Polemics in 1950s Cuba, Abigail McEwen, associate professor of Latin American Art at the University of Maryland, offers an original and meticulously researched account of an understudied episode in the history of Latin American modernism: the rise of abstract art in Cuba during the 1950s. The book’s main protagonists are not so much artists or works of art as the complex field of discursive and ideological formations that structured Cuban cultural... Full Review
February 12, 2018
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Marsha Meskimmon and Phil Sawdon
London: I.B. Tauris, 2016. 224 pp.; 17 b/w ills. Paperback $28.00 (9781784530273)
Drawing Difference: Connections between Gender and Drawing is the work of the author duo Marsha Meskimmon and Phil Sawdon, whose multiple areas of expertise cross theory and practices of scholarly writing, contemporary drawing, and curatorship. Through this manifold competence, Drawing Difference attends to and appreciates drawing as a material, embodied process and therefore engages, in detail, with how the works discussed were executed and installed. The lens of gender,... Full Review
February 12, 2018
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Carolyn E. Boyd and Kim Cox
Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016. 219 pp.; 195 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Paperback $43.55 (9781477310304)
Ancient American rock art studies and mainstream art history have long maintained an awkward, often uneasy scholarly relationship. Ancient American rock art typically receives only occasional passing mention in mainstream art-historical publications. In The White Shaman Mural, Carolyn E. Boyd, associate professor of anthropology at Texas State University and founder of the Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center in Comstock, Texas, endeavors to narrow this scholarly gap... Full Review
February 9, 2018
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Alison Smith, David Blayney Brown, and Carol Jacobi, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Abrams, 2016. 256 pp.; 170 color ills. Hardcover $65.00 (9781849763431)
Tate Britain, London, November 25, 2015–April 10, 2016
Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past is both a fascinating and frustrating compendium of art made since the sixteenth century that either depicts, reflects, or comments upon British colonialism. Written by a team of Tate curators, with contributions by Gus Casely-Hayford, Annie E. Coombes, Paul Gilroy, Nicholas Thomas, and Sean Willcock, this exhibition catalogue seeks to address the legacies of the British Empire: to reconsider how empire was recorded and perceived by... Full Review
February 9, 2018
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Sarah Gordon
New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2015. 184 pp.; 80 color ills.; 17 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300209488)
Eadweard Muybridge (born Edward Muggeridge) is either a Victorian eccentric remote from our understanding or a man for our time. Or both. Dedicated to the intersection of imaging, technology, and the cutting-edge science of his day, Muybridge was a flamboyant self-promoter, ambitious immigrant, and reinventor of self. He was also the larger-than-life assassin of his young wife’s lover and the sometime friend of plutocrat and former California governor Leland Stanford, as well as a... Full Review
February 9, 2018
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