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

Tracy Ehrlich
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 442 pp.; 12 color ills.; 155 b/w ills. Cloth $132.00 (0521592577)
By acquiring nearly twenty thousand acres of countryside near the town of Frascati (twelve miles southeast of Rome) and refurbishing three residences on this land, the nephew of Pope Paul V, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, both created a papal retreat for his uncle and established a vast agricultural enterprise that was administered from the principal residence on this land, the Villa Mondragone. In Landscape and Identity in Early Modern Rome: Villa Culture at Frascati in the Borghese Era,... Full Review
March 30, 2005
Burglind Jungmann
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. 272 pp.; 112 b/w ills. Cloth $77.00 (0691114633)
Painters as Envoys: Korean Inspiration in Eighteenth-Century Japanese Nanga discusses how diplomatic contact between Korea and Japan during the eighteenth century helped to shape a new Japanese landscape painting style. By examining possible Korean influences on the development of Nanga, or Japanese literati painting, the author sheds new light on China’s Southern school of painting with respect to its cross-cultural transmission in East Asia. Students of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese... Full Review
March 30, 2005
David K. Wyatt
Chiang Mai, Thailand: Silkworm Books, 2004. 92 pp.; many color ills. Paper $24.95 (9749575474)
To the untrained eye, Thai paintings can be hard to decipher. They look confusing, crowded with colorful figures that appear similar in detail and character, leaving no place to focus one’s attention. For those who wish to study Thai painting in its various forms—murals, banners, and manuscript painting—guidance from a visually rich, scholarly book would be invaluable. Reading Thai Murals by David Wyatt, the distinguished American historian of Thailand, should be such a book but falls... Full Review
March 22, 2005
Richard F. Townsend, ed.
Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago in association with Yale University Press, 2004. 288 pp.; 320 color ills.; 120 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0300104677)
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Ill., November 20, 2004–January 30, 2005; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Mo., March 4–May 30, 2005
Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South explores a period and a region of indigenous art little known even within the field of Native American art studies. Long studied by archaeologists, this vast area, roughly bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico, has been largely neglected by art historians and art museums. The only previous large-scale exhibition of material from this region occurred... Full Review
March 18, 2005
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