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

Chiyo Ishikawa, ed.
Exh. cat. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum in association with University of Nebraska Press, 2004. 300 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (0803225059)
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Wash., October 16, 2004–January 2, 2005; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Fla., February 2, 2005–May 1, 2005
It has been a long time since a major American museum has undertaken an exhibition of Spanish art, and none has tackled as ambitious a subject as Spain in the Age of Exploration, 1492–1819. Organized by the Seattle Art Museum and Spain’s Patrimonio Nacional, the exhibition has a strong thematic content that is presented thoughtfully in a handsome catalogue and in the display of some one hundred rare objects. Most of the works are drawn from the Spanish royal collection, and many have... Full Review
April 25, 2005
Michael Leja
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. 333 pp.; 24 color ills.; 84 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0520238079)
“Adjusting to modern life in New York circa 1900 meant learning to see skeptically. To function successfully, even to survive, every inhabitant of the modern city, every target of competitive marketing, every participant in the new mass culture, every beneficiary of modern science and technology, every believer in spiritual realms had to process visual experiences with some measure of suspicion, caution, and guile” (1). These bold and intriguing lines open Michael Leja’s recently published... Full Review
April 21, 2005
William H. Van Every, Jr., Gallery, Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., January 20–February 27, 2005
Quietly stirring within the walls of Davidson College’s Van Every Gallery is war, violence, and sadness. It is a welcome surprise for the Charlotte region, whose most controversial dialogue on art tends to concern which Impressionist exhibition to visit. Although Davidson College consistently presents reputable but safe artists, the gallery’s director, Brad Thomas, has here curated a show that provides the public with artwork taking on substantive subject matter. The exhibition... Full Review
April 21, 2005
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Calif., November 16, 2004–February 27, 2005
Time/Space, Gravity, and Light, which complements Einstein, the major science-history exhibition on view at the Skirball Cultural Center through May 29, 2005, showcases recent digital art and multimedia installations that explore the same physical phenomena that captivated Albert Einstein throughout his life. The projects in Time/Space also embrace the world made possible by quantum mechanical devices, such as computers and electronics, which Einstein never knew. Glenn... Full Review
April 19, 2005
Aloïs Riegl
New York: Zone Books, 2004. 474 pp.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $36.95 (1890951455)
For the best part of the twentieth century, the work of Aloïs Riegl (1858–1905) was not accessible to the Anglophone reader. We have particular reason to welcome this highly readable translation of his Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts because this particular book was recommended by its original editors, Otto Pächt and Karl Maria Swoboda, as the best introduction to Riegl’s thought. They would have had good cause to know, as they were intimately involved in his first renaissance in... Full Review
April 19, 2005
John Shearman, ed.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. 1706 pp.; 37 b/w ills. Cloth £80.00 (0300099185)
If there can be any consolation for the sad passing of John Shearman in August of 2003, it is the legacy of this magisterial book, which the author was able to see through to press before his death and which will continue to impact future scholarship for generations to come. Raphael in Early Modern Sources (1483–1602) succeeds Vincenzo Golzio’s venerable but outdated Raffaello nei documenti (Vatican City: Pontifica Accademia dei Virtuosi al Pantheon, 1936), a book Shearman... Full Review
April 19, 2005
Karl Bassil, Zeina Maasri, and Akram Zaatari
Exh. cat. Beirut: The Arab Image Foundation, 2001. 250 pp.; 840 ills. $35.00 (9953000581)
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium, May 2002; Die Photographische Sammlung, Cologne, Germany, September 2002; Kunsternes Hus, Oslo, Norway, February, 2003; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, March 2003; World Wide Video Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 2003; VideoBrasil Festival, São Paulo, Brazil, October 2003; Centro de Mariana, Toledo, Spain, November 2003; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece, January 2004; Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon, France, March 2004; Centre pour l’Image Contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland, April 2004; Beiteddine Festival, Lebanon, July 2004; Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, January 11–April 2, 2005; Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Ill., April 15–June 5, 2005; Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, Ore., August 23–September 25, 2005
Visually compelling and intellectually sophisticated, Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography, A Project by Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari presented a wealth of photographic materials from the collection of the Beirut-based Arab Image Foundation (AIF). Embracing current theoretical approaches to the display of visual culture, the exhibition, curated by two artists, offered a richly textured and highly nuanced picture of Arab photography and its relationship to questions of... Full Review
April 8, 2005
Marcia Kupfer
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. 304 pp.; 117 b/w ills. Cloth $55.95 (0271023031)
In her first book, published in 1993, Marcia Kupfer drew attention to the underdiscussed frescoes of Romanesque central France, reading the images as a field within which political tensions were played out and through which social divisions were reinforced. In her second book, The Art of Healing: Painting for the Sick and the Sinner in a Medieval Town, Kupfer returns to the same fertile ground but focuses still more acutely, concentrating on the wall paintings in the crypt of the... Full Review
April 7, 2005
Frederick N. Bohrer
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 398 pp.; 79 b/w ills. Cloth $95.00 (0521806577)
Mesopotamia, in particular Assyria and Babylon, occupies a foundational place in Western cultural identity derived from classical and biblical texts. Material traces, however, were scarce until large-scale excavations in what is now northern Iraq began in the mid-nineteenth century. In Orientalism and Visual Culture: Imagining Mesopotamia in Nineteenth-Century Europe, Frederick Bohrer examines the complex reception of ancient Mesopotamia through the lens of reception theory and... Full Review
April 7, 2005
Ravi Vasudevan, Ravi Sundaram, and Jeebesh Bagchi, eds.
New Delhi: Sarai: the new media initiative, 2002. 376 pp. Paper $15.00 (8190142909)
As the name implies, Sarai Reader 02: The Cities of Everyday Life is the second in a series of readers edited by the Sarai Group, a collaborative formed by fellows at Delhi’s well-known institute for social and political research, the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, and the media artists and critics at the Society for Old and New Media in the Netherlands and the Raqs Media Collective in Delhi. Sarai Reader 01 explored the contemporary contours of the idea of public... Full Review
April 6, 2005