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 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

James Raven, ed.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 150 pp. Cloth $67.50 (9781137520760)
David Lowenthal contends that the heritage conservation movement came about largely as a result of “a sense of loss,” as humans saw their built environment vanish at alarming rates during the last century (David Lowenthal, The Past Is a Foreign Country, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985). In the United Kingdom, an island nation, the loss of each historic building often seems to be magnified by longstanding introspection, as the British worry over every facet of their... Full Review
November 30, 2016
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Eva Respini, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2015. 192 pp.; 200 color ills. Cloth $55.00 (9780870709739)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, October 12, 2015–January 21, 2016; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, February 24–May 30, 2016; Museo Jumex, Mexico City, October 13, 2016–January 14, 2017
The catalogue accompanying Walid Raad’s eponymous survey at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a beautiful volume with extensive documentation of the artist’s oeuvre from the 1990s to today; it will undoubtedly serve as the go-to resource on the artist for years to come. Ironically, it is also colored by a set of historiographic problems that Raad himself vigorously works over in his artistic production. What does it mean that alongside a contribution by the exhibition’s curator, Eva Respini,... Full Review
November 30, 2016
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Ali Subotnick and Frances Stark, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and New York: Hammer Museum and Prestel, 2015. 248 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9783791354712)
Exhibition schedule: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, October 11, 2015–January 24, 2016
In the earliest works featured in her mid-career survey at the Hammer Museum, Frances Stark traces excerpts from classic works of literature on carbon paper, investigating the intimate relationship forged between writer and reader, artist and viewer. Painstakingly, she has copied the serif font of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915) by hand, as well as the scrawled, and at times inscrutable, marginalia found in a secondhand copy of the poem. These annotations do not... Full Review
November 25, 2016
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Kaja Silverman
Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. 240 pp.; 30 color ills.; 96 b/w ills. Paperback $21.95 (9780804793995)
How do we know the world exists? This question, which precedes Martin Heidegger’s examination of the meaning of Being itself in Being and Time (trans. Joan Stambaugh, Albany: SUNY Press, 1996), brings Heidegger quickly to the terms by which we can “know” the material world. His argument singles out “useless things” as key to the process by which the world discloses itself to us, for these disturb the instrumental order of everyday existence, opening an awareness of the “totality.”... Full Review
November 25, 2016
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Ann Temkin and Anne Umland, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2015. 320 pp.; 300 color ills.; 200 b/w ills. Cloth $85.00 (9780870709746)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, September 14, 2015–February 7, 2016
Picasso Sculpture, curated by Ann Temkin and Anne Umland at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, is the first in-depth survey of Pablo Picasso’s sculptural production since the exhibitions held in London and New York City in 1967. In the preceding years, Picasso’s sculptures were barely seen, even in reproduction, as the artist—with what I take to be his animist inclinations—held onto many of the works for dear life. The three-dimensional bodies kept Picasso company in ways... Full Review
November 23, 2016
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Cornelia Butler and Luis Pérez-Oramas
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014. 336 pp.; 400 color ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780870708909)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 10–August 24, 2014
In 1977, when she was 57 years old, artist Lygia Clark decided to abandon art. For thirty-odd years she had been working through a series of questions concerning space, time, ontological perception, and experience, slowly refining each in a quest to “unite art and life” (Lygia Clark, “Lecture at the Escola Nacional de Arquitetura, Belo Horizonte, Fall 1956,” quoted in the exhibition catalogue, 54). Although not the first, or the last, avant-garde artist to arrive at this conclusion, Clark... Full Review
November 23, 2016
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Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray
Exh. cat. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2015. 256 pp.; 200+ color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780847845279)
Exhibition schedule: National Portrait Gallery, London, February 12–May 25, 2015; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 29–October 4, 2015
Curated by the prominent John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) scholar Richard Ormond, the exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends at the Metropolitan Museum of Art presents ninety-two works that depict members of the artist’s vast social circle. Spread across five rooms and organized chronologically by Sargent’s location, these images chart the ways in which the artist’s personal relationships and growing prestige afforded him substantial access to creative personalities who... Full Review
November 17, 2016
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College Art Association
Introduction Design is a rich word. Its core meaning is a plan, so it refers by extension to evidence of the activity of planning, such as blueprints, technical drawings, and sketches on the backs of envelopes. However, it is also used to refer to the products of the activity of designing, such as designed objects, systems, and behaviors. Design history encompasses the study of design in order to find out about the past, and the study of the past in order to better understand... Full Review
November 16, 2016
A. A. Rub, ed.
Exh. cat. Moscow: Galart, 2015. 246 pp.; 136 color ills. Paper rubles 940.00
Exhibition schedule: State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, March 13–July 26, 2015
In the early 1970s, a new trend emerged among the members of the Union of Artists of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Diverse groups of painters from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and the Russian urban centers of Moscow and Leningrad began to demonstrate a keen interest in photo-realism, producing large-scale canvases that mimicked the formal properties of photography, film, television, and other forms of mass visual media. Despite their prevalence,... Full Review
November 16, 2016
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Andrew Blauvelt, ed.
Exh. cat. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2015. 448 pp.; 200 color ills.; 80 b/w ills. Paper $55.00 (9781935963097)
Exhibition schedule: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, October 24, 2015–February 28, 2016; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI, June 19–October 9, 2016; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, February 8–May 21, 2017
Much contemporary political art, however strong in conviction, feels resigned to an inability to affect the conditions it addresses: Ai Weiwei on the migrant crisis, Laura Poitras on surveillance, and Olafur Eliasson on global warming are proximate in 2016. Conversely, Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia at the Walker Art Center remembers a moment when people believed that art could radically alter society. Hippie Modernism is filled with over two hundred and fifty... Full Review
November 11, 2016
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