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

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
Thumbnail
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
Thumbnail
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
Thumbnail
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
Thumbnail
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
Thumbnail
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
Thumbnail
Lothar Ledderose
Princeton University Press, 2001. 304 pp.; 16 color ills.; 275 b/w ills.; 50 ills. Paper $24.95 (0691009570)
This is a book about how works of art are made, how images and design motifs originate, and how artists think. By grappling with these issues, Lothar Ledderose performs a great service to the field of Chinese art, which has come to focus most of its energies on problems of reception, socio-economic factors, and historiography. Although Ledderose makes no such claim, his book can be read as a radical reorientation, a shifting of the focus of study away from the audience/receiver to the... Full Review
June 6, 2000
Thumbnail
Alexander Vergara
Cambridge University Press (0521632455)
It is curious that Peter Paul Rubens's relationship with Spain has never received monographic treatment. Certainly the Flemish artist's most notable commissions for the Spanish Hapsburgs have been analyzed in the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard series: relevant volumes include those on the portraits of the Spanish monarchs, their families, and members of their court (Frances Huemer, 1977; Hans Vlieghe, 1987); the Triumph of the Eucharist tapestry series (1627-28), commissioned by the... Full Review
June 2, 2000
Thumbnail
Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group, 1999. CD-ROM
The Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) Library, a collection of more than 50,000 catalogued images of art works held in 26 North American museums, is a wonderful thing--but perhaps not the thing everyone might want it to be. A teacher might want such a collection to supply the images needed for standard art history courses. A researcher might want it to provide a catalogue to the vast holdings of these museums. When something is new and different, we often attempt to understand it using... Full Review
May 25, 2000