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

Deborah Willis and Natasha L. Logan, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Aperture, 2015. 268 pp.; 280 color ills. Paperback $29.95 (9781597113359)
Brooklyn Museum, New York, January 13–July 15, 2012
The questions that black males are asked each day by white America (or world consumers of blackness) are often debilitating in their reduction of our complex capacities and our ideologically inspired identities: questions that only scratch at the surface of a humanity forged by the depth of our roots, struggle, and emergent culture. These questions do not sincerely ask but seek to define the very nature of who we are. But, the questions that black males ask other black males are questions... Full Review
November 28, 2018
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Elizabeth Morán
Latin American Studies: Art and Visual Studies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016. 156 pp.; 27 b/w ills. Paperback $24.95 (9781477310694)
Elizabeth Morán’s Sacred Consumption is a study of the place of food in Aztec ritual. The foods examined by Morán were ephemeral, and the performances that characterized ceremonial life in Tenochtitlan and its provinces are similarly elusive in the archaeological record. Fortunately for scholars, indigenous artists, often directed by European friar missionaries, created manuscript paintings that represent elements of Aztec ritual. These illuminated books constitute the primary... Full Review
November 27, 2018
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Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, September 8–October 29, 2017
Divine Violence, the fall 2017 exhibition at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, centered on disruption—political and otherwise. The show was defined by a percussive assault of moving images, sounds, and associated ideas. Curated by Yesomi Umolu, it featured four works coproduced by the artist Cinthia Marcelle and the filmmaker Tiago Mata Machado: the single-channel videos Buraco Negro (Black Hole) (2008), O Século (The Century)... Full Review
November 26, 2018
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Jane Chin Davidson and Sandra Esslinger, eds.
London: Routledge, 2017. 196 pp.; 20 color ills. Cloth $149.95 (9781138656826)
In the edited volume Global and World Art in the Practice of the University Museum, scholars Jane Chin Davidson and Sandra Esslinger share several essays that trace the role of university museums in developing new ways of thinking about art within a larger, global context. This framework acknowledges the complexity of contemporary geopolitical and social interfaces and how these affect the production and reception of works of art. Occasioned by the fiftieth anniversary of the Fowler... Full Review
November 21, 2018
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Thomas Golsenne
Collection Art & Société. Rennes, France: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2017. 275 pp. Cloth € 35.00 (9782753552531)
Giorgio Vasari’s 1550 magnum opus, the Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, created a very specific and biased account of the development of art in the early modern period. Artists such as Carlo Crivelli were decidedly absent. It has been the work of twentieth- and twenty-first-century historians to recuperate and reframe artists like Crivelli.Developed over the course of fifteen years, Thomas Golsenne’s erudite treatment of Crivelli’s oeuvre makes... Full Review
November 21, 2018
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Rabun Taylor, Katherine Wentworth Rinne, and Spiro Kostof
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 432 pp.; 220 b/w ills. Hardcover $120.00 (9781107013995)
A long tradition of scholarship extending back to antiquity praises the surviving monuments in Rome despite their evident alterations. Even the city’s basic infrastructure has received careful attention, since such features as the urban walls originally made for Emperor Aurelian continue to fascinate. In the sixth century CE, Cassiodorus celebrated the still functioning sewers built centuries earlier, remarking: “Rome, what cities would dare contend with you in their heights when they... Full Review
November 20, 2018
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Suzanne Singletary
London and New York: Routledge, 2016. 236 pp.; 39 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Hardcover $150.00 (9781472442000)
James McNeill Whistler’s first artistic affiliations were French: the “Société des Trois” he formed with Henri Jean Fantin-Latour and Alphonse Legros in 1858; Edgar Degas’s invitation to participate in the Impressionists’ first exhibition; and his close friendship with French poet, Stéphane Mallarmé, whom Whistler called “my second self” (140). Perhaps most tellingly of all, Whistler was furious when the French government displayed his Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s... Full Review
November 19, 2018
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Gitti Salami and Monica Blackmun Visoná, eds.
West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. 648 pp.; 69 b/w ills. Cloth $195.00 (9781444338379)
A collection of essays by African, American, and European scholars, A Companion to Modern African Art is a welcome addition to the subject. The volume consists of twenty-nine chapters, arranged in a “roughly chronological order” and subdivided into nine parts. The introduction by the editors (part I, chapter 1) provides the reader a road map for navigating the contents of the book. Part II consists of one essay (chapter 2) by Henry John Drewal on local transformations and... Full Review
November 16, 2018
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Mitchell B. Merback
Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books, 2018. 360 pp.; 90 b/w ills. Cloth $32.95 (9781942130000)
Mitchell Merback’s latest book, Perfection’s Therapy: An Essay on Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I, precisely does not reveal what the enigma of the master engraving is “about.” Rather, it reveals mystery itself as a sixteenth-century therapeutic practice. In so doing, the book provides insight into the endurance and pervasiveness of a lingering stereotype: that transformative wisdom lies concealed in old books, old paintings, and old diagrams from old Europe. This stereotype brings... Full Review
November 15, 2018
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Ana Palacios
Trans. Graham Thomson. Barcelona: Tenov Books, 2017. 108 pp.; 82 color ills. Hardcover € 25.00 (9788494423413)
The cover of the coffee table book Albino shows a Tanzanian girl with albinism photographed mid-twirl, the blue, white, and yellow stripes of her skirt spun out into a full bell around her. The picture, by Spanish photojournalist Ana Palacios, is called Kelen’s Dance, and Kelen spins in the center of a grayish-brown interior, a phalanx of concrete walls receding behind her, green sandals a blur of movement on a lumpy dirt floor, the ceiling a sturdy brown grid. Her face is... Full Review
November 14, 2018
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