Concise, critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in all areas and periods of art history and visual studies

Reviews in caa.reviews are published continuously by the College Art Association (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

Peter Lunenfeld
MIT Press, 2000. 240 pp.; 41 b/w ills. $32.95 (026212226X)
Peter Lunenfeld, ed.
MIT Press, 1999. 298 pp.; 0 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Paper $17.95 (0262122138)
It is no coincidence that many of the new theorists of technology and telesis are based in California--ever on the edge of tomorrow, but also host to the primary commercial market for digital imagery: the movie industry. The hybrid members of the digerati can present different faces to the world depending on the venue: artist, theorist, computer scientist, professor, robotics engineer, program designer, or supplier. A hefty cadre of these transprofessionals work and think from the San... Full Review
July 19, 2000
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Wanda Corn
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. 470 pp.; 140 color ills.; 181 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (0520210492)
In a 1905 history, Samuel Isham argued that American art was "in no way native to America but is European painting imported, or rather transplanted, to America . . . . There is no local tradition or influence." (Corn, 318) Countering this Eurocentric view (one still occasionally heard among those who dismiss American art before Abstract Expressionism), is an equally persistent belief in cultural exceptionalism. From the beginnings of cultural nationalism in the early nineteenth century, many... Full Review
July 14, 2000
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Xiaoneng Yang
Yale University Press, 1999. 584 pp.; 372 color ills.; 48 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0300081324)
National Gallery of Art, September 19, 1999-January 2, 2000; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 13-May 7, 2000; Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, June 17-September 11, 2000.
This book is the catalogue accompanying an exhibition that opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and then traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. It documents 175 objects drawn from a variety of media. The catalogue is meant to be of interest to the general public who viewed the exhibition, as well as a useful reference for students of Chinese art history, complete with Chinese character lists and an extensive bibliography.... Full Review
July 13, 2000
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James Cooper
Hudson Hills Press, 2000. 109 pp.; 56 color ills.; 2 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (1555951805)
James Cooper believes in art. In his book, which amounts to a manifesto long on assertion and short on argument (as befits manifestoes), Cooper holds up the canvases of the Hudson River School as a standard for cultural renewal. His arch-principle is that the arts carry a culture's moral, spiritual, and aesthetic values such that as the arts go, so goes the culture. This idea operates in the book as a traditional American jeremiad that both critiques modern history and heralds the opportunity... Full Review
July 11, 2000
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George Michell and Mark Zebrowski
Cambridge University Press, 1999. 298 pp.; 16 color ills.; 200 b/w ills. Cloth $90.00 (0521563216)
This book forms part of the New Cambridge History of India's commendable effort to integrate art history into its historical concerns. It was preceded by three earlier volumes, Architecture of Mughal India (Catherine B. Asher), Mughal and Rajput Painting (Milo C. Beach), and Architecture and Art of Southern India by one of the authors of the present volume (George Michell). The volume amply fulfills the agenda of the Cambridge Histories laid down in the general... Full Review
July 11, 2000
Karen Gerhart
University Of Hawai'i Press, 1999. 208 pp. $32.95 (0824821785)
Power is a front-burner issue in the postmodernist age, and scholarship from the last two decades mirrors this preoccupation. From that standpoint this is a timely book. Karen Gerhart explains (144-145) that the first half of her title, The Eyes of Power, refers simultaneously to the act of looking at the trappings of power, the process of giving visual form to power, and the gaze of power that observes the observer--a melange of ideas perhaps inspired by Foucault's notion of... Full Review
July 7, 2000
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Maureen Hennessey
New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999. Cloth (0810963922)
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, November 6, 1999–January 30, 2000; Chicago Historical Society, February 26–May 21, 2000; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., June 17–September 24, 2000; San Diego Museum of Art, October 28–December 31, 2000; Phoenix Art Museum, February 24-May 6, 2001; The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, June 9–October 8, 2001; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, November 7, 2001–February 11, 2002
Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director of the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, forthrightly states her agenda in her essay "The People's Painter": "Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People invites reflection on Rockwell as a force in twentieth-century American art and culture" (24). Moffatt reorients the critical debate by emphasizing Rockwell's cultural influence, rather than dithering about his status as either an artist or an illustrator. The admixture of popular culture... Full Review
June 26, 2000
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Mary Ellen Miller
Thames and Hudson, 1999. 240 pp.; 57 color ills.; 150 b/w ills. Paper $14.95 (050020327X)
Mary Ellen Miller's Maya Art and Architecture is the first textbook in English on Maya art written by a major scholar of the Maya. It is, therefore, a milestone in the dissemination of knowledge about Maya art, particularly in a classroom setting, where this book will be most useful. That a book published in 1999 deserves this honor may come as a surprise since the study of Maya art is one of the more established in ancient New World art history. As Miller points out in her... Full Review
June 23, 2000
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Francesco Colonna
Trans. Joscelyn Godwin. Thames and Hudson, 1999. 476 pp.; 174 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (0500019428)
"Reader, if you wish to hear briefly what is contained in this work, know that Poliphilo tells that he saw remarkable things in a dream, hence he calls the work in Greek words 'the strife of love in a dream'. He represents himself as having seen many ancient things worthy of memory, and everything that he says he has seen, he describes point by point in the appropriate terms and in an elegant style: pyramids, obelisks, huge ruins of buildings." With these words, Francesco Colonna introduces... Full Review
June 16, 2000
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Patricia Lee Rubin and Alison Wright
Yale University Press, 2000. 352 pp.; 230 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (0300081715)
When Giovanni Rucellai wrote that spending surpassed earning as one of the great pleasures in life, he surely expressed the sentiments of many wealthy Florentines in the second half of the 1400s. Certain forms of conspicuous consumption had become acceptable now that the successful merchants, and the humanists they supported had adapted the Aristotelian notion of magnificenza to their own circumstances. The display of wealth became praiseworthy when it embellished the city and... Full Review
June 6, 2000
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