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

Helen Langa
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. 350 pp.; 104 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0520231554)
In recent decades the field of American art has seen a renewed interest in the art of the 1930s and, in particular, the work of artists who expressed a leftist political perspective. Fueled initially by the political turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s, this scholarship examines a decade when activist or political art achieved legitimacy in the eyes not only of certain segments of the art world, but also of significant individuals in the federal government and, to a certain extent, the general... Full Review
November 19, 2004
Margaret A. Gallucci
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 256 pp.; 16 b/w ills. Cloth $100.00 (1403961077)
This fascinating new look at Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571) offers a thoroughly innovative approach to, and understanding of, the man Jacob Burckhardt called “a wholly recognizable prototype of modern man” (Civilization of the Renaissance, trans. S. G. C. Middlemore [New York: The Modern Library, 1935], 330). In Margaret Gallucci’s recent book, Cellini is no longer seen as the forerunner of European Romanticism and of the modern virtue of heroic individualism (as Goethe and Francesco De... Full Review
November 19, 2004
Lynn Zelevansky, ed.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles County Museum of Art in association with MIT Press, 2004. 240 pp.; 232 b/w ills. Cloth $49.95 (0262240475)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Calif., June 13–October 3, 2004; Miami Art Museum, Miami, Fla., November 18, 2004–May 1, 2005
Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form, 1940s–1970s makes modern art’s recent past reflect meaningfully on the present. The word “beyond” in the exhibition’s title promises a look at evidence not covered or hidden by the noun to which it is attached. Although the years from 1940 to 1970 press for breadth, they also situate the exhibition in a specific era with no claims for timeless transcendence. In modern art, form—as separate from content—has a suspenseful, contentious history. During... Full Review
November 15, 2004
Anabel Thomas
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 430 pp.; 12 color ills.; 93 b/w ills. Cloth $132.00 (0521811880)
With Art and Piety in the Female Religious Communities of Renaissance Italy: Iconography, Space, and the Religious Woman’s Perspective, Anabel Thomas sets out to correct what she considers to be general misconceptions about art in female religious communities in Renaissance Tuscany and Umbria. Among the most significant of these suppositions is the view that female religious communities not only housed few works of art, but that those works were limited to the public areas of... Full Review
November 8, 2004
Asia Society Museum, New York, February 4–May 11, 2003; Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, February 25–May 23, 2004; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, July 23–October 10, 2004
Montien Boonma: Temple of the Mind, a traveling exhibition of Buddhist-inspired art by the internationally acclaimed Thai artist, Montien Boonma (1953–2000), leaves the viewer with vivid memories of transforming experiences. Boonma’s art is not marked by iconic images and didactic narratives, but rather expresses more conceptually the tenets and healing aspects of Buddhism. Most of the art in this exhibition dates from the early 1990s to 2000, a period during which Boonma’s wife became... Full Review
November 4, 2004
Elizabeth Lillehoj, ed.
Honolulu: University Of Hawai'i Press, 2004. 288 pp.; 16 color ills.; 51 b/w ills. Cloth $37.00 (082482699X)
Critical Perspectives on Classicism in Japanese Painting, 1600–1700 is a compilation of papers presented at a symposium, entitled “Classicism in Japanese Art of the Early Edo Period,” held at the Clark Center in Hanford, California, in June of 1999. The book comprises a number of essays addressing “classicism”: its definition, appropriation, and application in shaping later scholarship concerning the art of the early Edo period (1615–1868). Elizabeth Lillehoj, the editor of the... Full Review
November 2, 2004
Philippe-Alain Michaud
Trans. Sophie Hawkes. New York: Zone Books, 2004. 404 pp.; 100 ills. Cloth $37.95 (9781890951399)
While a veritable Aby Warburg industry has developed in Germany, interest has been slow to grow in Anglophone countries. It is ironic that one of our first Warburg monographs is an English translation of the first book on him to be written in French, Aby Warburg et l’image en movement (Paris: Macula, 1998), written by Philippe-Alain Michaud, film curator at the Musée national d’art moderne at the Centre Georges-Pompidou and with an introductory preface by Georges... Full Review
October 21, 2004
Mark P. McDonald
London: British Museum Press, 2004. 902 pp.; 30 color ills.; 450 b/w ills. Cloth £95.00 (0714126381)
For students of the early history of prints, these are exciting times. Recent examinations feature print publishers, particularly in the Netherlands, and catalogues of additional individual printmakers. Jan van der Stock’s remarkable Printing Images in Antwerp: The Introduction of Printmaking in a City, Fifteenth Century to 1585 (Rotterdam: Sound and Vision Interactive, 1998) engages issues of both production and consumption and expands our concept of prints far beyond fine... Full Review
October 20, 2004
Catherine Scallen
Amsterdam University Press, 2004. 416 pp.; 61 b/w ills. Cloth €53.40 (9053566252)
Catherine Scallen’s lively and informative book focuses primarily upon a curious episode in the history of art history: the sizeable and, in hindsight, largely unjustified expansion of the body of paintings ascribed to Rembrandt in the decades preceding World War I. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship details the origins and evolution of that campaign, during which the number of pictures assigned to the master roughly doubled, while also investigating the... Full Review
October 14, 2004
Sarah Burns
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. 326 pp.; 15 color ills.; 104 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0520238214)
Sarah Burns opens her beguiling book by briefly reflecting on the story of American art that was in vogue when she was a student. This story, which celebrated the “landscape as type and emblem” of republican America, was bright; the glow that flooded these “sunny-side up” landscapes (think Luminism) emanated from the positivist Enlightenment (xv). In Painting the Dark Side: Art and the Gothic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America, Burns subverts this tidy narrative by... Full Review
October 13, 2004