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

Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art in association with Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002. 297 pp.; many color ills.; some b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (0271022353)
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, October 6, 2002–January 5, 2003; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, February 14–May 18, 2003
Who knew? Certainly there were documents from the sixteenth century around the publishing house of Christopher Plantin in Antwerp that mentioned payments to artists who added color to intaglio prints. At the same time in Germany, a quite respectable living was made in the print trade by individuals known as Briefmaler, or print colorists, who were included among the depicted professions in Jost Amman’s Book of Trades (Frankfurt, 1568). Not to mention all those surviving woodcuts... Full Review
December 31, 2002
Antonio Natali, ed.
Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 2000. 127 pp.; 115 color ills.; 46 b/w ills. Cloth $110.00 (8882152766)
Several publications released in the past decade have reinvigorated studies of Leonardo da Vinci and, more specifically, have spurred an ongoing critical reappraisal of his early work. Thorny matters, including the nature of his apprenticeship to Andrea del Verrocchio, the range of his experience before entering into that master’s workshop, his delayed matriculation in the Florentine painters’ guild, and--perhaps the slipperiest question of all--how the young artist struggled to find his own... Full Review
December 18, 2002
Ingrid Ehrhardt and Simon Reynolds, eds.
Munich: Prestel, 2000. 334 pp.; 130 color ills.; 154 b/w ills. Cloth (3791323385)
Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, February 26-April 30, 2000; Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England, May 26-June 30, 2000; and Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Stockholm, Sweden, August 25-November 5, 2000
While a number of recent exhibitions have examined Symbolist art in a European context, Kingdom of the Soul: Symbolist Art in Germany 1870–1920 was the first international show to focus exclusively on German art from the turn-of-the-century period.[1] Despite the inclusive parameters in its title, most of works included date from the Wilhelmine period (1890–1914). Coorganized by the English art historian, Simon Reynolds, and Ingrid Ehrhardt, curator at Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle,... Full Review
December 13, 2002
The “Pagan Fables” in Dutch Painting of the Golden Age: Narrative Subject Matter from Classical Mythology in the Northern Netherlands, ca. 1590–1670 is not the first publication of Eric Jan Sluijter’s groundbreaking dissertation on the representation of Ovid’s fables in Dutch painting. Many cherish their copy of the privately produced 1986 edition, with its stamp-size images and unglued pages. Even then Ivan Gaskell expressed the wish that this low-cost issue would soon be followed by... Full Review
December 11, 2002
Francesco Caglioti
Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 2000. 530 pp.; 357 b/w ills. Cloth (8822249410)
Francesco Caglioti has written a masterful pair of volumes that transform our knowledge about Donatello’s bronze sculptures, the David and the Judith and Holofernes, and consequently our understanding of quattrocento (and cinquecento) Florentine sculpture. The author supports his arguments with an impressive array of documentary discoveries, evidence culled from unpublished contemporary sources, and careful rereading of well-known writers like Giorgio Vasari. Caglioti is equally... Full Review
December 11, 2002
Andrew Morrall
Burlington: Ashgate, 2002. 308 pp.; 10 color ills.; 147 b/w ills. Cloth $89.95 (1840146087)
Jörg Breu the Elder (ca. late 1470s–1537) was a leading artist working in Augsburg, Germany, which along with Albrecht Dürer’s Nuremberg became one of the primary commercial centers in the Holy Roman Empire. Breu’s career (and with it Augsburg) certainly has received new life in the past several years, with Andrew Morrall’s recent book complementing Pia Cuneo’s monograph, Art and Politics in Early Modern Germany: Jörg Breu the Elder and the Fashioning of Political Identity, ca.... Full Review
December 9, 2002
David Clarke
Duke University Press, 2002. 224 pp.; 35 color ills.; 100 b/w ills. Paper $27.95 (0822329204)
Despite the proliferation of critical discussion accompanying the body of work known as contemporary Chinese art, there has been little, if any, attention accorded to art produced in Hong Kong. In David Clarke’s new survey, however, he attempts to remedy this situation by introducing a wide array of artists in Hong Kong who operate under what he asserts as “hybridity.” A professor of art history at Hong Kong University and an active scholar on Hong Kong art, Clarke has followed up on his... Full Review
December 6, 2002
Thomas Y. Levin, Ursula Frohne, and Peter Weibel, eds.
MIT Press, 2002. 655 pp.; 350 color ills.; 600 b/w ills. Cloth $39.95
ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany, October 12, 2001–February 24, 2002.
Ever since Michel Foucault reintroduced Jeremy Bentham's eighteenth-century panopticon into contemporary philosophical discussion in 1975, the project has served as the prototypical example of surveillance and social control in the modern world. The panopticon is both an architectural model--a circular prison engineered to create the semblance of constant prisoner surveillance--and an example of rationalist philosophy--Bentham rejoiced in the belief that prisoners under the potentially... Full Review
November 22, 2002
David Lomas
Yale University Press, 2000. 280 pp.; 40 color ills.; 85 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0300088000)
David Lomas's meditative study is a résumé of the role of psychoanalytic theory in Surrealism in several ways: as the writing of Sigmund Freud and others was consciously adapted by the Surrealists for their various intellectual ends; as psychoanalytic theory was used to produce the iconographic art history of Surrealism; and as contemporary psychoanalytically-inflected theory (that of Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, and... Full Review
November 20, 2002
Gennifer Weisenfeld
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. 368 pp.; 16 color ills.; 131 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0520223381)
In Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), T. J. Clark imagines the bewilderment of a future archaeologist trying to reconstruct the history of modern art from four fragments: Adolph Menzel’s Moltke’s Binoculars (1871); John Heartfield’s A New Man, Master of a New World (1934); Pablo Picasso’s Italian Woman (1919); and Kasimir Malevich’s Complex Presentiment (Half-Figure in Yellow Shirt) (1928–32).... Full Review
November 19, 2002