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

Pamela J. Belanger
University Press of New England in association with Farnsworth Art Museum, 1999. 174 pp.; some color ills.; some b/w ills. Cloth $39.95 (0918749093)
For tourists driving to Acadia National Park on Maine's coastal Route 1, the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland has become an increasingly popular and rewarding stop. Having long enjoyed a regional reputation for its noteworthy collection of American art, the institution (which includes the adjacent Farnsworth Homestead and the Olson House in nearby Cushing) recently attracted national attention with the opening of the Wyeth Center in 1998. Maine artists and subjects figure prominently at the... Full Review
January 1, 2000
Mimi Yiengpruksawan
Harvard University Press, 1998. 263 pp. Cloth $60.00 (0674392051)
In 1126, Fujiwara no Kiyohira dedicated a Buddhist Canon in more than 5,000 fascicles copied in alternating columns of gold and silver ink on indigo paper. This Canon is unique in Japan because of the gold and silver script and also because Kiyohira was the only commoner of his day to sponsor an entire Buddhist Canon. Kiyohira, the descendant of Emishi ("toad barbarians"), ruled from Hiraizumi, capital of a stronghold in northern Honshu that has been variously identified as a kingdom, a... Full Review
January 1, 2000
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Thomas E. Crow
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. 148 pp.; 12 color ills.; 34 b/w ills. Paper $34.95 (0807849006)
Thomas Crow is one of the most exacting and vigilant of art historians, never prone to following received opinions, methods, or practices. His way of thinking has sometimes produced works that are exemplary in their circumspection and nuance; the theory of society and art embedded in the opening chapter of Modern Art in the Common Culture has yet to be adequately answered. The Intelligence of Art is an attempt to say more generally, but with the precision afforded by... Full Review
January 1, 2000
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Joanna Woods-Marsden
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. 285 pp.; 57 color ills.; 109 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0300075960)
This book takes on the challenging topic of Italian (despite its title) Renaissance portraiture and self-fashioning, but with a particular focus, that of artists' self-portraits. The author's premise is that the increasing number of such self-portraits over the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries marks the changing status of the artist within the culture from craftsman to intellect. Such an evolutionary claim is certainly supported by historical evidence familiar to students of the period, most... Full Review
January 1, 2000
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Lisa N. Peters
Hudson Hills Press, 1999. 192 pp.; 0 color ills.; 61 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (1555951783)
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, October 16, 1999-January 2, 2000; Cincinnati Art Museum, June 6-September 5, 1999.
Lisa Peters begins her beautifully illustrated book John Henry Twachtman: An American Impressionist with strong language: "A painter of intimate landscapes rendered in an original and expressive style, John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902) was the epitome of the modern American artist in the late nineteenth century" (13). This position is antithetical to the usual understanding of Twachtman within the canon of American art. In Wayne Craven's textbook American Art: History and Culture... Full Review
December 30, 1999
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Catherine Gordon
Witt Library, Cortauld Institute of Art, 1998. 570 ills. CD-ROM $68.00
This CD-ROM opens with a visual witticism too canny not to have been intentional. When the disk is installed (easily done), the first screen reproduces part of Pieter Bruegel's Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, one of the real treasures of the Courtauld's collection. In the detail, taken from the painting's right-hand side, the user encounters a micro-crowd of onlookers, who bend forward, all eyes, all focus, all attention. These figures gaze toward a point at the screen's lower... Full Review
December 29, 1999
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Alexandra R. Murphy
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. 192 pp.; 65 color ills.; 65 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0300079257)
Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh, Amsterdam, June 20-September 6, 1999; Frick Art Museum, Pittsburgh, February 10-mid-April, 2000.
The American public has not given works by Barbizon artists star billing in a little over a century. Where once Americans were proud of themselves for having recognized Millet's talents early, they are now harder to please. Since Impressionist art has risen to blockbuster fame, it takes a monumental effort to call attention to the considerable but subtle charm of what Millet referred to as "rustic art." The subtitle of this exhibition, "Drawn into the Light," implies that Millet could... Full Review
December 29, 1999
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Julien Chapuis
Yale University Press, 1999. 352 pp.; 150 color ills.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300081626)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 3, 1999-January 9, 2000; Metropolitan Museum of Art, February 10-May 14, 2000.
Most Americans will know about Tilman Riemenschneider from the wonderful 1980 publication, Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany, by Michael Baxandall, one of the rare discussions of German wood sculpture in English, or perhaps from the scattered fragments of the artist's works in American museums, such as Cleveland or Raleigh (an essay by William Wixom in the present catalogue chronicles "Riemenschneider in America" and offers a useful checklist). Now viewers have the opportunity... Full Review
December 28, 1999
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Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Jürg Zutter, Patricia Mainardi, and Michael Clarke
Exh. cat. Paris: Editions Flammarion, 1998. 167 pp.; many color ills.; few b/w ills. (2080107879)
Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, France, November 21, 1998–March 7, 1999; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden, March 25–May 30 1999
The most substantial exhibition devoted to Gustave Courbet's paintings since the Brooklyn Museum of Art's Courbet Reconsidered a decade ago was presented at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne last winter from November through March. It then traveled to the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, where it closed on May 30. Titled Courbet: Artiste et Promoteur de Son Oeuvre, it was organized by Lausanne's director, Jürg Zutter, in collaboration with the noted Courbet scholar Petra... Full Review
December 27, 1999
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Mary Newcome
Turin: Artema, 1998. 257 pp.; 34 color ills.; 320 b/w ills. Cloth (8880520083)
Most art historians seem to consider Genoa a quiet, provincial backwater that has little to offer to an inquisitive mind. One reason for this misconception may be that the Genoese purportedly guard their privacy and are said to keep their artistic treasures to themselves rather than sharing them with a wider public. However, as any visitor to this city can attest, there is more than just a glimpse to catch of the rich trove of artworks, many of which are readily accessible in churches,... Full Review
December 21, 1999