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 Grubbs
Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. 248 pp.; 19 ills. Paper $23.95 (9780822355908)
In 1982, after eating a macrobiotic lunch with John Cage in his West 18th Street loft, I brandished my Sony TC-D5M cassette recorder. “I have one just like it,” he said, “David [Tudor] told me to get it—I’ve never turned it on.” Everyone who knew Cage heard him proclaim at least once, “I don’t use records . . . unless I do something else with them” (as in Credo in US; 1942). I was unaware of any composer who accepted these as words to live by, let alone anyone who resisted the... Full Review
January 4, 2017
Christine Guth
Honolulu: University Of Hawai'i Press, 2015. 272 pp.; 70 color ills.; 5 b/w ills. Paper $20.00 (9780824839604)
Christine Guth’s Hokusai’s Great Wave: Biography of a Global Icon is a landmark in multidisciplinary scholarly sophistication. It examines the long and storied history of one Japanese artwork as it has circulated around the world being imagined, reimagined, and reimaged, thereby fusing the local and global across time. Methodologically, the book offers the field of art history dynamic intersecting modes of critical inquiry for revisiting questions of global flow and cultural... Full Review
January 3, 2017
Miriam M. Basilio
New York: Routledge, 2013. 340 pp.; 20 color ills.; 51 b/w ills. Cloth $130.05 (9781409464815)
Miriam M. Basilio’s excellent monograph, Visual Propaganda, Exhibitions, and the Spanish Civil War, provides an in-depth study of images that were in visual circulation both during and immediately after the conflict that tore Spain apart. That Basilio concludes her work with a broad look at how different artists have engaged with historical memory through the interrogation of museums, archives, and testimony shows how the Spanish Civil War continues to influence the collective... Full Review
December 29, 2016
Christina M. Anderson
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 256 pp.; 40 color ills.; 15 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300209686)
Art historians have long known Daniel Nijs (or Nys) as the merchant who arranged the sale of a large part of the collection of the dukes of Mantua to Charles I of England in the single “greatest art deal of the seventeenth century” (1). Although documents relating to the transaction were published long ago by Noel Sainsbury and Alessandro Luzio, Nijs himself has remained a fairly obscure figure. Based on a fresh examination of manuscript sources, Christina M. Anderson’s The Flemish... Full Review
December 28, 2016
Alexa Sand
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 423 pp.; 7 color ills.; 95 b/w ills. Cloth $125.00 (9781107032224)
Alexa Sand’s study of owner portraits in Francophone women’s devotional manuscripts, primarily from 1200 to 1350, presents a theoretically aware discussion of essential themes associated with illuminated Books of Hours: individual and family, public and private, space and time. Visual cues for devotion, defined as “striving for transformation through vision” (81), inspire Sand’s analysis of the spaces activated while performing prayer with self-reflexive images and texts. These devotional... Full Review
December 28, 2016
Ian Berry and Michael Duncan, eds.
Exh. cat. Saratoga Springs, NY: The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in association with DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2014. 254 pp. Cloth $49.95 (9783791352336)
Exhibition schedule: Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, January 19–July 29, 2014; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, June 6–September 14, 2014; Baker Museum, Naples, FL, September 27, 2014–January 4, 2015; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, January 31–April 18, 2015; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, June 14–November 11, 2015
Corita Kent is having a moment. Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, the 2013 exhibition organized by Skidmore College’s Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, was followed in 2015 by Corita Kent and the Language of Pop at Harvard Art Museums; Sister Corita’s Summer of Love at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand; and love is here to stay (and that’s enough): Prints by Sister Corita Kent at the University of San Diego’s... Full Review
December 22, 2016
Elina Gertsman
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2015. 288 pp.; 48 color ills.; 106 b/w ills. Cloth $79.95 (9780271064017)
In Worlds Within: Opening the Medieval Shrine Madonna, a group of about forty sculptures known as Shrine Madonnas are the device for Elina Gertsman’s ambitious exploration of late medieval devotion. Also known as Vierges ouvrantes, most Shrine Madonnas are carved from wood and dated to between 1270 and 1500. Some are small enough to fit in a person’s hands, while others are almost life size. All depict the Virgin Mary seated on a throne and holding the Christ child. The exterior... Full Review
December 21, 2016
Juliet B. Wiersema
Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015. 224 pp.; 185 color ills.; 17 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780292761254)
Juliet B. Wiersema’s Architectural Vessels of the Moche: Ceramic Diagrams of Sacred Space in Ancient Peru is a significant contribution to the field of art history for two reasons. The first is the subject matter: she addresses the relationship between architecture and its representation through an examination and comparison of ceramic vessels that represent architectural spaces and archaeologically recovered architectural remains from the Moche culture of the Peruvian north coast (ca.... Full Review
December 21, 2016
Paul Schimmel and Jenni Sorkin, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Hauser Wirth and Schimmel in association with Skira Rizzoli, 2016. 256 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $55.00 (9788857231303)
Exhibition schedule: Hauser Wirth and Schimmel, Los Angeles, March 13–September 4, 2016
Co-curated by Paul Schimmel, former chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and partner and vice president at Hauser and Wirth; and Jenni Sorkin, art historian, critic, and assistant professor of contemporary art history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947–2016 felt like an ambitious museum exhibition, especially with its impressive roster of thirty-four artists working across so much of the... Full Review
December 20, 2016
Brooklyn Museum, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Brooklyn Museum, New York, May 1–November 8, 2015
A powerful signifier of knowledge and collective memory in Western modernity, the archive has been a topic of much interest in art history and cultural studies. The scholarship of the last few decades—from Michel Foucault’s to Hal Foster’s—has exposed its artifice, indeterminacy, and historical role in the formation and operation of power structures. What is more, despite the fact that the photograph’s claim of veracity has been seriously challenged by the visual culture of the late twentieth... Full Review
December 15, 2016