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

Arthur K. Wheelock
Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art in association with American Federation of Arts, 2003. 172 pp.; 60 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0300106394)
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., November 7, 2004–January 30, 2005; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Mich., February 27–May 22, 2005
Gerard ter Borch is the first exhibition dedicated to this important seventeenth-century Dutch genre painter and portraitist in thirty years, and its accompanying catalogue simultaneously serves as the only comprehensive study on the artist to appear in English to date. The catalogue is smaller than that of the exhibition that took place in The Hague and Münster in 1974, and smaller still than Sturla J. Gudlaugsson’s truly monumental study of Terborch that appeared in 1959–60.... Full Review
March 18, 2005
Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. 504 pp.; 91 b/w ills. Paper $25.00 (0226133125)
What do we mean when we attribute a painting to an artist in the Netherlands or consider it belonging to the “school of Florence”? These regional designations, the coupling of artworks with place, are central to Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann’s new book, which examines notions of cultural geography as they apply to art. Toward a Geography of Art offers the first concentrated consideration of the value of location in the definition of works of art and, as such, is a thoroughly useful endeavor.... Full Review
March 16, 2005
Frances Morris
Exh. cat. August Projects, Cornerhouse Publishing in association with Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2002. 120 pp.; 30 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. $22.00 (1902854241)
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, November 26, 2003–February 22, 2004; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, March 5–May 9, 2004; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo deMalaga, Malaga, Spain, August 8–November 7, 2004; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Fla., February 12–March 27, 2005
Despite the fact that Louise Bourgeois has been making art for more than seven decades, her drawings, sculptures, and installations are completely contemporary. At the age of ninety-four, she is, according to the exhibition curator Frances Morris, “the oldest of young artists” (10). Organized by Morris, senior curator at the Tate Modern in London, with Brenda McParland, head of exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Louise Bourgeois: Stitches in Time is an intimate and engaging... Full Review
March 14, 2005
Tapati Guha-Thakurta
New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. 432 pp.; 132 b/w ills. Cloth $80.50 (023112998X)
To understand museums and art history, Foucauldians say, we need to understand the changing political roles of these institutions. Knowledge of the past is never neutral, for it always serves present goals. Tapati Guha-Thakurta’s very ambitious, splendidly achieved book, Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Postcolonial India, tells the story of the development of art history in India. Her study explains how English figures such as Alexander Cunningham... Full Review
March 14, 2005
David Davies and John H. Elliott
Exh. cat. London: National Gallery, 2005. 320 pp.; 170 color ills. Paper $40.00 (1857099389)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 7, 2003–January 11, 2004; National Gallery, London, February 11–May 23, 2004
El Greco (henceforth cited as Greco) constituted the first comprehensive North American exhibition of the work of Domenikos Theotokopolous (1541–1614) since El Greco of Toledo (henceforth cited as Toledo) of 1982–83, organized by the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio and traveling to Madrid, Washington, D.C., and Dallas, Texas. A groundbreaking exhibition, Toledo brought together a substantial proportion of the artist’s most important paintings for the first... Full Review
March 2, 2005
Billboards and advertisements all over New York declare that “Manhattan is Modern Again,” often showing an image of angled sunlight raking an elegant building interior. The subscript directs you to the locus of this statement: “The new Museum of Modern Art reopens in Midtown on November 20.” These messages formed a long and careful campaign that generated breathless prepublicity in all media, secured a largely reverential art-world response, brought in twenty thousand visitors on opening day,... Full Review
February 14, 2005
Dorothy Verkerk
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 272 pp.; 38 b/w ills. Cloth $94.00 (0521829178)
Of the dozen decorated biblical manuscripts that survive from late antiquity, the so-called Ashburnham Pentateuch in Paris (Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. nouv. acq. 2334) is the most elaborate. Its eighteen (more or less) full-page illustrations contain some one hundred scenes set in detailed landscapes and rich architectural settings; and its ten chapter lists are adorned with decorated arches and ornamental fauna. Compared to the other surviving manuscripts, the Ashburnham... Full Review
February 14, 2005
Robert L. Herbert
Exh. cat. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. 288 pp.; 307 color ills.; 64 b/w ills. Paper $34.95 (0520242114)
Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago, June 19–September 19, 2004
Art Institute of Chicago, June 19–September 19, 2004
Seurat and the Making of La Grande Jatte, a book that accompanied an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, combines extensive art-historical analysis of the painting with detailed study by conservators. The most dramatic contribution is the “rejuvenated” image of La Grande Jatte, a full-scale reproduction created by Roy S. Berns using digital technology to replace Georges Seurat’s now-darkened zinc yellow with something close to the original color. An essay by Frank... Full Review
February 9, 2005
Rosemarie Mulcahy
Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004. 400 pp.; 16 color ills.; 145 b/w ills. Cloth £65.00 (1851827730)
According to Rosemarie Mulcahy, the reputation of Philip II has suffered from bad press throughout the years. She writes, “The image [of Philip] that prevails is that of the severe assiduous defender of the Catholic Faith, a dry and mean-spirited personality” (xv). Indeed, the specter of the Inquisition, the harsh Spanish rule of the Netherlands, and the aloof late portraiture of the man in black have done little to counter negative impressions. In this book, composed of both previously... Full Review
February 4, 2005
Michelle Piranio, ed.
San Diego, Calif.: San Diego Museum of Art, 2004. 184 pp.; 102 color ills.; 28 b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (0937108332)
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, Calif., November 6, 2004–March 6, 2005; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Mo., June 3–September 4, 2005; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., January 15–March 12, 2006
Recent, new, and commissioned works by artists from mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are showcased in the exhibition Past in Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia, organized by the San Diego Museum of Art. The exhibition’s curator, Betti-Sue Hertz, aims to explore how such art references the past. As the idea of the “past” can mean many things, her thematic focus poses an unusual challenge for the viewer who may lack the requisite knowledge of the region known... Full Review
January 26, 2005