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

Robert Hillenbrand
Thames and Hudson, 1999. 288 pp.; 80 color ills.; 190 b/w ills. Paper $16.95 (0500203059)
The old Praeger World of Art series attempted to cover the history of world art with a large number of affordable paperbacks with color illustrations. David Talbot Rice's Islamic Art was a pioneering book in the series; published in 1965, it was revised in 1975. Never a particularly noteworthy introduction to the field, it did at least possess the virtues of being in print, affordable, and the only book of its kind. With the appearance of the two Pelican History of Art... Full Review
March 1, 2000
Thumbnail
Yve-Alain Bois
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. 263 pp.; 185 color ills.; 12 b/w ills. Paper $45.00 (1891771078)
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA, Mar. 6-May 16, 1999; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Jun. 8-Aug. 15, 1999; Art Institute of Chicago, Sept. 11-Dec. 5, 1999
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA, Mar. 6-May 16, 1999; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Jun. 8-Aug. 15, 1999; Art Institute of Chicago, Sept. 11-Dec. 5, 1999
Isn't it puzzling that while people who study and write about, say, Shakespeare or Kafka call themselves literary critics, people whose work concerns Michelangelo or Matisse call themselves art historians? As someone who does call himself an art critic, and whose writing is primarily concerned with the work of artists who are or might be alive today, I find most writing--even some of the best of it--by those who call themselves art historians uncritical, precisely because it lacks the... Full Review
February 29, 2000
Thumbnail
Ken Breisch
MIT Press, 1997. 354 pp. Cloth (0262523469)
Architectural history as often serves to mythologize celebrated architects as to examine their careers critically. The nineteenth-century Boston architect H. H. Richardson is a case in point. It was less Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer's pioneer biography, Henry Hobson Richardson and His Works, published two years after Richardson's death in 1886, than Henry-Russell Hitchcock's The Architecture of H. H. Richardson and His Times of 1936, that is the key mythologizing text.... Full Review
February 17, 2000
Thumbnail
Elizabeth Hutton Turner
New Haven and Washington, D.C.: Yale University Press in association with The Phillips Collection, 1999. 160 pp.; 80 color ills.; 69 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00
Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., April 17–July 18, 1999; Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 7–October 17, 1999; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, November 7, 1999–January 30, 2000; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, February 19–May 14, 2000.
This catalogue accompanies the exhibition of the same title, organized as "the first to focus in-depth on O'Keeffe's aesthetics through an examination of her paintings of objects" (vii). This formalist approach might seem a curiously retardataire method to employ nowadays, but those familiar with O'Keeffe scholarship will relish the focus on the artist's work rather than her self. The first museum to purchase work from Georgia O'Keeffe was the Phillips Collection, in 1926. At the... Full Review
February 11, 2000
Thumbnail
Ruth Philips and Christopher Steiner, eds.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. 424 pp. Paper (0520207971)
Jonathan Batkin's article on the early dealers in pueblo pottery, one of the most eye-opening in this valuable volume, also has one of the best stories: in a curio store in Santa Fe in the late nineteenth century, among the pottery rain gods (shipped in barrels of 100 at $6.50 the barrel), the beadwork and tambourines, the Jicarilla Apache baskets and Navajo silver, the owner claimed to be able to show you Ben Hur's trunk and the skull of Henry Ward Beecher "as a boy." It made me laugh, and... Full Review
February 11, 2000
Thumbnail
Mark Johnstone
Newark, N.J.: G + B Arts International, 1999. 208 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. (9057033216)
Mark Johnstone's book follows in the tradition of earlier California surveys such as Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Art, 1977) and 50 West Coast Artists: A Critical Selection of Painters and Sculptors Working in California (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1981) by Henry Hopkins. Focusing on Los Angeles, Contemporary Art in Southern California includes an introduction and individual entries on forty-three... Full Review
February 9, 2000
Thumbnail
Colum Hourihane, ed.
Princeton University Press, 1999. 342 pp.; 4 color ills.; 175 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0691010021)
Most of the papers in Image and Belief were presented in 1997 at a conference entitled "Iconography at the Index," which celebrated the eightieth anniversary of the Index of Christian Art. It should be said from the outset that the theme of "image and belief" is sometimes tangential to the collected papers. This book is really about iconography, as the conference title makes plain. Part one constitutes a diverse and somewhat disparate range of case studies, while Part two attempts to... Full Review
February 8, 2000
Thumbnail
The study of ukiyo-e, pictures of Edo Japan's "floating world" of pleasure and popular entertainment, has a long and very robust history in Europe and the United States owing to the enthusiastic formation of great print collections that began in the late nineteenth century. The continued passionate involvement of collectors has made ukiyo-e studies a stronghold of print connoisseurship and narrow factual research. Within the academic community, developing a tradition of broader contextual... Full Review
February 4, 2000
Thumbnail
Melissa Dabakis
Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 312 pp.; 312 b/w ills. Cloth $80.00 (0521461472)
This solidly researched book examines a diverse array of outdoor monuments, small sculptures, and other images that represent themes of U.S. labor between the 1880s and the mid-1930s. Author Melissa Dabakis concludes that the objects in this broadly defined group, ranging from Albert Weinert's sixteen-foot Haymarket Monument near Chicago to Saul Baizerman's five-inch Cement Man, constitute a significant U.S. visual art tradition on the subject of work that predates New Deal-era... Full Review
February 2, 2000
Thumbnail
Richard E. Spear
Yale University Press, 1998. $60.00 (0300070357)
Richard Spear's much-anticipated book on Guido Reni promises a new approach that would seriously treat this important artist's achievement conceptually and historically--in contrast to previous studies, which Spear contends are too narrowly focused on chronology and style. In this effort, Spear calls on insights from post-Foucauldian social history, feminism, and psychology in order to explain the artist's personality and its relation to societal norms. While Spear bravely admits that his own... Full Review
February 1, 2000
Thumbnail