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

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
Eugenie Tsai, ed.
Exh. cat. Berkeley: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in association with University of California Press, 2004. 280 pp.; 240 color ills.; 76 b/w ills. Paper $34.95 (0520244095)
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Calif., September 12–December 13, 2004; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Tex., Jan
Provocatively described by the artist Joan Jonas as a Mannerist, Robert Smithson is certainly best, and sometimes only, remembered for his iconic earthwork pieces, in particular his Spiral Jetty of 1970 (Brian Conley and Joe Amrhein, eds., Collection of Writings on Robert Smithson [New York: Pierogi, 2000], 37). So does this epithet have any merit? The recent retrospective of Smithson’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the first such comprehensive exhibition... Full Review
January 25, 2005
Wayne Franits
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. 320 pp.; 100 color ills.; 230 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (0300102372)
In the past several decades, major art exhibitions and significant scholarly publications on seventeenth-century Dutch paintings and prints of daily life have manifested the enthusiastic scrutiny of such imagery by scholars and the public alike. The thousands of seventeenth-century Dutch genre paintings offer seemingly accurate views of daily life; however, as numerous scholars have addressed, the subject matter of such scenes has been selectively determined, resulting in the omission of many... Full Review
January 21, 2005
Lisa Pon
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. 224 pp.; 37 color ills.; 58 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300096804)
Building on recent scholarship that has revealed the degree to which the printmaker Marcantonio Raimondi was not a simple copyist but an independently minded artist, Lisa Pon’s book, Raphael, Dürer, and Marcantonio Raimondi: Copying and the Italian Renaissance Print, argues that his works are products of collaboration: among the engraver, the inventor, and the publisher on the one hand, and between the viewer and the image on the other. Pon situates Marcantonio’s engravings against the... Full Review
January 12, 2005
Monona Rossol
New York: Allworth Press, 2001. 408 pp.; many b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (1581152043)
By now it should be evident to artists that making art is not without some risk of exposure to harmful substances. But it is also evident that many artists do not pay much attention to the risk. Art students—even senior undergraduate and graduate students—are often wholly unprepared and uninformed about how to reduce their exposure to toxic materials, or even about what the risks are. This must mean that their teachers, who are also artists, do not discuss these issues with them and, perhaps,... Full Review
January 10, 2005
Michael McCann
Darby, PA: Diane Publishing, 1992. 564 pp.; many b/w ills. Cloth $30.00 (1558211756)
As a first exposure to the subject of health hazards in the studio, Michael McCann’s book provides an excellent overview of the subject. His catchy chapter titles, such as “Is Your Art Killing You?” and “How Art Materials Can Hurt You,” are exactly the type of attention grabbers needed to encourage the artist or student to read more. As McCann notes in the introductory section, part 1, entitled “Chemical and Physical Hazards,” is meant as a general introduction, to be read first; part 2, “Art... Full Review
January 10, 2005
Joeaneath Spicer
Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2003. 187 pp.; 80 color ills.; 96 b/w ills. Cloth $39.95 (088884784X)
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, May 23–September 1, 2003; Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass., July 24 –October 17, 2004; Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, New Brunswick, November 21, 2004–February 20, 2005
Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada was produced to celebrate the recent promised gift to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa of a group of Dutch and Flemish drawings assembled by collectors residing in Toronto.[1] In the exhibition, works from this generous gift have been supplemented with sheets from the National Gallery’s own collection. Ottawa already owns several outstanding drawings from this region, including Gerard David’s small metalpoint copies... Full Review
December 20, 2004