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

Jane Hawkes
Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002. 200 pp.; 1 color ills.; 119 b/w ills. Cloth €55.00 (1851826599)
Jane Hawkes has become one of the leading iconographers of Insular, more particularly Anglo-Saxon sculpture, and the volume under review does nothing to disappoint. The Sandbach Crosses: Sign and Significance in Anglo-Saxon Sculpture clearly demonstrates the depth of Insular scholarship from the last twenty-five years, something of which the art-historical establishment remains willfully oblivious. Introductory textbooks present Insular art as though nothing had been written... Full Review
March 24, 2004
A growing literature has emerged describing and analyzing the production and reception of art objects as well as the institutions supporting artists during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This recent book, the published version of Thomas Schmitz’s 1997 doctoral dissertation (University of Düsseldorf), is a thoroughly researched and cogently analyzed account of one of Germany’s unique institutions, the Kunstvereine (art unions). Additionally, he discusses the relationship of... Full Review
March 19, 2004
Cristina Acidini
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with Detroit Institute of Arts, 2002. 392 pp.; 250 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (0300094957)
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, June 6–September 29, 2002; Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago, November 9, 2002–February 2, 2003; Detroit Institute of Arts, March 16–June 8, 2003
This informative and elegantly illustrated catalogue appeared in association with the exhibition Magnificenza! The Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence (in Italy, L’ombra del genio: Michelangelo e l’arte a Firenze, 1537–1631). The impressive scope of the catalogue covers works of art produced during the reigns of four Medici Grand Dukes: Cosimo I (r. 1537–74), Francesco I (r. 1574–87), Ferdinando I (r. 1587–1609), and Cosimo II (r. 1609–31). The... Full Review
March 18, 2004
Dora Apel
Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002. 256 pp.; 6 color ills.; 63 b/w ills. Paper $28.95 (0813530490)
The last ten years have seen a marked increase in the frequency and kind of debates about the memory of the Holocaust. The planning of Holocaust monuments, the filing of class-action lawsuits by survivors, the flood of written and videotaped oral testimonies, and the establishment of Holocaust studies chairs and institutes have kept the Holocaust in the public eye and have all occasioned intense discussions about how it should be remembered and represented. Dora Apel’s intelligent and... Full Review
March 11, 2004
Alan Tapié
Paris: Somogy Éditions d’Art, 2003. 414 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. Paper $58.00 (2850566470)
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Caen, France, July 11–October 13, 2003
Any outsider to the field surveying the recent spate of big thesis exhibitions could not fail to notice the discrepant narratives of the Baroque currently in circulation. The Genius of the Rome, 1592–1623 (held at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2001) supported a story of individual styles and individual patrons’ taste, sometimes a chaotic situation, but one governed by individual choices that were only secondarily infringed upon by institutional needs or demands. By contrast,... Full Review
March 11, 2004
Maria Antonella Pelizzari, ed.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. 344 pp.; 110 color ills.; 73 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (0300098960)
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Quebec, May 15–September 14, 2003; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., October 16, 2003–January 11, 2004; UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, March 7–July 4, 2004
Although this book accompanied an exhibition, its ambitions and contributions far exceed those of a standard exhibition catalogue. In Traces of India: Photography, Architecture, and the Politics of Representation 1850–1900, we are given a very substantive analysis of photographic history in India, using the representation of architecture as its focal point. The inspired conceptualization that combined photography and architecture extends to the presentation of this scholarship... Full Review
March 5, 2004
Lynn Gamwell
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002. 344 pp.; 156 color ills.; 208 b/w ills. Cloth $49.95 (0691089728)
Lynn Gamwell’s expensively produced, beautifully illustrated, and deeply flawed book traces the influence of science on art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. It begins with a question—Where did abstract art come from?—and by way of an answer provides a statement that lays out the thesis of the book: “I propose that two catalysts contributed to the precipitation of abstract art: the scientific worldview that developed after the publication in 1859 of Charles Darwin’s... Full Review
March 3, 2004
Joseph M. Siry
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. 580 pp.; 16 color ills.; 200 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (0226761339)
Chicago was a beehive of construction activity in the 1870s as the city rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1871 with structures that were more permanent in both fabrication and appearance. Technical advances such as steel-frame construction with terra-cotta fireproofing and the passenger elevator dovetailed nicely with the hardheaded pragmatism of real-estate investors who demanded the maximization of rentable square feet. On hand to guide the design and construction of the new city was a group... Full Review
March 1, 2004
Michael Rush
London: Thames and Hudson, 2003. 208 pp.; 383 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (0500237980)
Defined straightforwardly, video art is that visual art created using video cameras. As Michael Rush points out in his superbly well-illustrated survey history, the medium’s creation can be dated very precisely: the video era was inaugurated when in 1965 Sony Corporation marketed a financially available hand-held camera and portable tape recorder. As he then goes on to note, this novel technology was soon put to use by a great number of artists. Video Art is organized around... Full Review
February 27, 2004
Anne Wilkes Tucker, Dana Friis-Hansen, Kaneko Ryuichi, and Takeba Joe
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2003. 432 pp.; 356 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0300099258)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, Tex., March 2–April 27, 2003; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, May 25–July 27, 2003
See Joel Smith’s review of this book A photograph … is never simultaneous with the present. [It] is something which is absolutely gone and which we can do nothing about; it has the same meaning as death. It is the past holding onto the present. A photograph is a wordless memory, an abandoned structure built on layer upon layer of time stretching from the past to the present. (268) —Miyamoto Ryūji, 1992 The History... Full Review
February 13, 2004