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

Christopher S. Wood, ed.
Brooklyn, N.Y.: Zone Books, 2000. 472 pp.; 39 b/w ills. Cloth $32.00 (1890951145)
Christopher S. Wood has done a great service in editing an anthology of previously untranslated works from the second "Viennese School." In theoretical essays and case studies published in the nineteen twenties and thirties, these art historians tried to breathe new life into formal analysis, self-consciously combining analyses of spatial coherence with interpretations drawn from contemporary psychology and artistic practice. Wood has revisited, reconsidered, and made available to the... Full Review
September 8, 2000
Kurt Weitzmann and Massimo Bernabo
Princeton University Press, 1999. 880 pp.; 23 color ills.; 1,552 b/w ills. Cloth $295.00 (0691007225)
Not too many books being published these days were begun in 1932 or are dedicated to someone who died in 1955 (Charles Rufus Morey). But this is hardly an average book by any standard: size and number of pages, quantity of illustrations, or length of preparation. Its subject is the six illustrated manuscripts of the Octateuchs, the first eight books of the Septuagint, the Hebrew Bible in Greek. As Kurt Weitzmann, long the eminent Byzantinist at Princeton, writes in the first of the book's two... Full Review
September 6, 2000
Mario Bevilacqua
Naples: Mondadori Electa, 1998. 224 pp.; some color ills.; many b/w ills. Paper $50.00 (8843587544)
Baroque Rome was in large part built by talented Lombards, among whom were Domenico Fontana, Carlo Maderno, Francesco Borromini, and Carlo Fontana. A native of the diocese of Como, Giovanni Battista Nolli (1701-56) was a surveyor (geometra) who, between the years 1722 and 1734, prepared cadastral maps, first in Lombardy and then in Savoy, utilizing the plane table (tavoletta pretoriana), a device then only recently introduced into Italy. In Rome, no longer a functionary within a... Full Review
September 1, 2000
Mitchell Merback
University of Chicago Press, 1999. 280 pp.; 30 color ills.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth $42.00 (0226520153)
Recent decades have seen a number of inventive studies that have added significantly to our understanding of medieval and early modern images of the Crucifixion, from James Marrow's analysis of Passion iconography in Northern art to Anne Derbes's examination of the impact of Franciscan devotional piety on medieval Italian art. No less inventive is Mitchell Merback's book, which plunges us into the world of judicial spectacle, for it is this author's central claim that "late medieval realist... Full Review
August 31, 2000
Megan Holmes
Yale University Press, 1999. 160 color ills.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth (0300081049)
Megan Holmes's beautifully-illustrated book on Fra Filippo Lippi sets a standard for the study of Florentine Renaissance art by demonstrating how much more remains to be done, even for an artist who has been the object of study for centuries. Florentine Renaissance art is, after all, one of the oldest fields of art history, and the bibliography is extensive. Writers since the late quattrocento have reveled in the beauty of the works, and already in the sixteenth century Vasari had established... Full Review
August 28, 2000
Jody Blake
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. 207 pp. Cloth $65.00 (0271017538)
As a reflex of the growing resistance among European intellectuals in industrialized societies to glaring colonialist appropriations, an avant-garde emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which adopted an open-minded anthropological perspective. Rejecting racially tainted claims of the superiority of Western cultural traditions, it proposed a series of expressive theories that valued the authenticity and originality of the "primitive." After World War I, however, and notably since... Full Review
August 24, 2000
Gordon Baldwin and Judith Keller
Getty Trust Publications, 1999. (089236565X)
Candace Breitz
Thalwil and Pittsburgh: Edition Stemmle in association with Andy Warhol Museum, 1999. 400 pp.; 12 color ills.; 300 b/w ills. (3908163102)
It is not hard to see the significance of photography—as idea, as technology, as way of seeing—to Andy Warhol's art. His most famous paintings are appropriated photographs (think of the Marilyns, Jackies, race riots, electric chairs, or the commissioned portraits) and they visually signify as such. Moreover, Warhol's method for making use of photography—silkscreen—mimics the process of technological reproduction that characterizes photography. (Warhol: "With silkscreening, you pick a... Full Review
August 23, 2000
Norman L. Kleeblatt and Kenneth E. Silver, eds.
Exh. cat. Prestel in association with The Jewish Museum, 1998. 207 pp.; 32 color ills.; many b/w ills. $65.00 (3791319329)
The Jewish Museum, New York, NY; Apr. 26-Aug. 16, 1998.
It is rare that an exhibition pushes curatorial conventions, particularly in a monographic show which is so dependent on the stylistic development of an artist. The exhibition An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine held at the Jewish Museum (1998), however, bypassed standard organizational principles of chronology or thematic genres and concentrated, instead, on the history of Soutine's critical reception. The unorthodox groupings allowed us to look at... Full Review
August 23, 2000
Pierre Rosenberg
Exh. cat. Yale University Press, 1999. 360 pp.; 99 color ills.; 35 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300083483)
Royal Academy of the Arts, London, March 11–May 29, 2000; in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 27–September 3, 2000.
Emblazoned on the cover of the Louvre's new Chardin exhibition catalogue is the image of a girl child holding a racquet and shuttlecock but curiously made-up and dressed like an adult woman. Her cheeks are rouged, her hair is powdered and she wears a circlet of ribbon tied enticingly around a slim white neck. In contrast to the solemn abstract beauty of Basket of Wild Strawberries splashed on the Louvre's 1979 Chardin exhibition catalogue, this detail, taken from Girl with... Full Review
August 23, 2000
Cary Y. Liu and Dora C.Y. Ching, eds.
Princeton University Art Museum, 1999. many b/w ills. Paper (0943012309)
Chinese art scholarship is undergoing invigorating change, in tandem with the larger field of art history but with special characteristics of its own. The book under review illuminates the political and cultural significance of painting during the first two dynasties of China's early modern period: the Sung (960-1279) and the Yuan (1279-1368). The original occasion for this volume's seven papers was a symposium held in conjunction with the 1996 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art... Full Review
August 23, 2000