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 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 Harvey
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 293 pp.; 27 b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (0520225783)
"Until we insurgent architects know the courage of our minds and are prepared to take an equally speculative plunge into some unknown," David Harvey writes in conclusion to his stunning new work, Spaces of Hope, "we too will continue to be the objects of historical geography (like worker bees) rather than active subjects, consciously pushing human possibilities to their limits" (255). Spaces of Hope serves as a fitting capstone to the Marxist geographer's oeuvre of the past two decades. From his The Limits to Capital (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), in which Harvey first began to explore what… Full Review
February 15, 2002
Lisa Zeitz
Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2000. 256 pp.; 131 b/w ills. Cloth (3932526372)
Diane H. Bodart
Rome: Bulzoni Editore, 1998. 400 pp.; 49 b/w ills. Paper (8883192559)
As their titles indicate, these two books--both of which originated as academic dissertations at the Universities of Munich and Rome respectively--cover much the same ground. Both provide detailed discussions of Titian's association with Federico Gonzaga, marquis (later, first duke) of Mantua, from their first meeting in 1523 until Federico's premature death in 1540. Both include appendices with transcriptions of more than 300 documents (and in the case of Lisa Zeitz, translations into German). Almost inevitably, both jackets are illustrated with Titian's celebrated portrait of Federico, now in the Prado. Diane Bodart's Tiziano e Federico II Gonzaga is the smaller in… Full Review
February 13, 2002
Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska
Basel: August Projects, Cornerhouse Publishing in association with Birkhäuser, 2000. 222 pp. Paper (3764363169)
Few books in recent memory have articulated so lucidly the nexus of deep interconnections among practices making up the core of the modern culture industry as The Value of Things by London-based artists Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska. This remarkable book project dramatically charts the powerful forces through which the values of things are negotiated and exchanged by intertwining the histories of two exemplary modern institutions--the British Museum and London's Selfridge's department store. As the authors write, "In a seemingly homogenized mass of consumables, nothing has a verifiable 'essence' or a legitimate history. Born into a promotional media, things can… Full Review
February 12, 2002
Charles Dempsey
Fiesole: Edizioni Cadmo in association with Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, 2000. 114 pp.; 12 color ills. Cloth (8879232053)
Twenty-five years ago, Charles Dempsey's Annibale Carracci and the Beginnings of Baroque Style--a small, brilliant, idiosyncratic book--was born as an attempt to review Donald Posner's large, definitive, and indispensable monograph and catalogue raisonné, Annibale Carracci: A Study in the Reform of Painting around 1590, which had been published in 1971 (London: Phaidon). The present volume is a second edition of Dempsey's book from 1977, to which the author has added a brief Introduction looking back over the developments in Carracci scholarship during the past quarter century. A select bibliography has also been appended, but the original body of the… Full Review
February 6, 2002
Gertje R. Utley
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. 288 pp.; 40 color ills.; 175 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0300082517)
Go to the "Electronic Reading Room" at to find that Picasso appears in FBI files from the 1940s onward, which are now available courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act. In 1990, Herbert Mitgang ("When Picasso Spooked the FBI," The New York Times, 11 November) revealed some of these Cold War additions to the politics of representation. With Picasso, these politics are conventionally characterized by a variety of documents, such as his contract with the dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (dated 1912), and his membership card for the French Communist Party (PCF) after 1944. Such sources evoke issues of biography… Full Review
February 4, 2002
Linda Henderson
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997. 374 pp.; few color ills. Cloth (0691055513)
The title of this book, Duchamp in Context, is an apt summation of Linda Dalrymple Henderson's project: to recover Duchamp's artistic evolution toward and the full range of scientific and technological sources for The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (1915-23), his most important work. To say she succeeds is an understatement. This study is so rich in new information it is a veritable encyclopedia. Here is the long-awaited toolbox for pruning back the interpretive excesses that have plagued much recent Duchamp scholarship. The book is divided into four sections and… Full Review
January 29, 2002
Maria Vassilaki, ed.
Exh. cat. Athens: Benaki Museum, 1999. 531 pp.; 226 color ills. (8881187388)
Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece, October 20, 2000-January 20, 2001
This exhibition and its catalogue represent a swimming against the millennial tide, as the director of the Benaki Museum in his Foreward presents the exhibition in relation to the festivities that celebrated the turning of that new year's clock. The exhibition is an unusual contribution to the new-epoch declarations of the last two years, and its unusual qualities lie not least in its aim to engage only the phenomenon of Marian devotion in Byzantine culture. Recent exhibitions on the Virgin Mary have been wide ranging, like Wellesley College's Divine Mirrors, which engaged art, music, and culture. The Athens organizers… Full Review
January 24, 2002
Jürg Meyer zur Capellen
Landshut: Arcos Verlag, 2000. 328 pp.; 32 color ills.; 193 b/w ills. Cloth (3935339003)
Jürg Meyer zur Capellen's Raphael is the first of three volumes slated for publication by the Raphael Project in Münster and Würzburg. The purpose of this volume, as well as the other projected ones, is to provide an up-to-date catalogue raisonné of Raphael's paintings that incorporates the publications and the technical information learned about the painter's oeuvre since the appearance of Luitpold Dussler's critical catalogue raisonné of 1966 (revised 1971). According to the author, the book "is designed for readers with some general background knowledge, particularly for students of art history and others with an interest, professional or private, in… Full Review
January 23, 2002
Tony Green
Amobrilos: Paravail, 2000. 432 pp. Cloth (0953791203)
Tony Green's book is the first publication in two decades to focus on Poussin's two important series of paintings depicting the Seven Sacraments, and it is the only scholarly work to concentrate on them exclusively. Green examines each of the fourteen paintings, considering questions of style and iconography, as well as the theological and physical contexts in which they were made and viewed. The Sacraments, firmly associated in art-historical scholarship with Poussin's classical style and his studies of Roman and Early Christian culture, were also products of post-Tridentine Catholic environments. To address these factors, Green relies on an impressive… Full Review
January 18, 2002
Daniel M. Abramson
Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000. 207 pp.; 76 color ills.; 100 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (1568992445)
The skyscraper has generated a seemingly endless flow of scholarly work, a flow that shows no indication of ebbing. Monographs have detailed single buildings or the oeuvre of prominent skyscraper architects; other texts have brought focus to the technologies, the finances, or the artistic depictions of these tall structures. A museum in New York devoted to the skyscraper has even been created, offering actual and virtual exhibitions and material about the tall building, from its origins to its most contemporary examples ( A building type that is essentially of our time, a monument to modernity… Full Review
January 16, 2002
Marcus Wood
London: Routledge, 1999. 341 pp.; 7 color ills.; 168 b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (041592698x)
On the deceptively simple premise that "the imagery of slavery has not been taken as seriously as it should have been" (6), Marcus Wood has built a work of awesome breadth and depth. He rightly points out that most of the visual material relating to slavery has fallen below the horizon of high art and thus the purview of art historians. The exceptions, like Hugh Honour and Albert Boime, have been more likely to subsume high art images related to slavery into the stylistic movements of neoclassicism, romanticism, or realism, than to engage with them in theoretical ways. At the… Full Review
January 11, 2002
Paul Edwards
New Haven: Yale University Press in association with Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 1999. 583 pp.; 179 color ills.; 162 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0300082096)
There is really no middle ground in discussions of Wyndham Lewis's significance and qualities as an artist. Some studies view him as a neglected but pivotal figure in the development of European modernism, while other, more hostile critiques focus on his self-imposed isolation, extremism, and elliptical relationship to the program of the modern movement. Paul Edwards's book belongs in the former camp. Lewis, undoubtedly, was a unique and exceptional cultural figure in the first half of the twentieth century. As the progenitor of the Vorticist movement, he introduced a Cubist- and Futurist-inspired aesthetic to the torpid English… Full Review
January 9, 2002
Henry Maguire
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. 222 pp.; 167 b/w ills. Paper $27.95 (0691050074)
In this useful study, first published in 1996, Henry Maguire examines those seemingly endless rows of standing saints who feature so often in Byzantine churches, but so rarely in books on Byzantine art. The book is primarily a stylistic one, using formal analysis of the images to help understand the perception of saints in Byzantium. Maguire argues that the ways in which saints were depicted were determined by the need to "define" them. An analysis of Byzantine modes of depiction thus can aid us in interpreting how viewers within that culture saw and understood their saints. The… Full Review
January 8, 2002
Hubert Locher
Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2000. 524 pp.; 89 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (3770535219)
According to the well-known argument of Hayden White, each historiographical account--no matter how devoted to empirical detail in the tradition of Ranke or to grand systematic schemes in the manner of Hegel--is based on a theory or philosophy regarding its own aims and premises. This argument comes to mind after reading Hubert Locher's erudite book Kunstgeschichte als historische Theorie der Kunst 1750-1950 (Art History as a Historical Theory of Art 1750-1950). A historiographical achievement in many respects, the book guides us through a host of important contributions to the discourse of art history in the West over a… Full Review
January 7, 2002
Michael J. Lewis
New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000. 256 pp.; 200 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0393730638)
Frank Furness was one of America's premier architects. It will come as something of a shock, then, to learn that with the publication of Michael Lewis's Frank Furness, we have just three books devoted to the work of this nineteenth-century Philadelphia-based designer: an exhibition catalogue, The Architecture of Frank Furness by James F. O'Gorman in 1973; a catalogue raisonné, Frank Furness: The Complete Works by George E. Thomas, Jeffrey A. Cohen, and Michael J. Lewis in 1991; and a slim 1996 monograph, University of Pennsylvania Library (Architecture in Detail) by Edward Bosley on Furness's library at the school. In contrast… Full Review
January 5, 2002