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

Michelle Foa
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 248 pp.; 60 color ills.; 81 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300208351)
In 1922, André Lhote claimed that Georges Seurat was “one of the lighthouses” then guiding a postwar generation of artists. Such an assertion might be understood simply as an assessment of Seurat’s enduring significance; but in her important new account of the artist, Michelle Foa steers a different approach to Lhote’s metaphor. Lighthouses are, in fact, thematically persistent for Seurat, and Foa bookends her analysis with two examples: the 1886 Hospice and Lighthouse of Honfleur and... Full Review
June 23, 2016
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Alena Robin
Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2014. 309 pp.; 44 b/w ills. Paper (9786070260766)
During much of the colonial period and into the nineteenth century, a series of fourteen chapels marking the Vía Crucis, or Stations of the Cross, stretched from the Franciscan monastery in downtown Mexico City to the Calvary chapel at the western edge of the city’s Alameda park. The buildings were constructed between 1684 and 1706, with the support of members of the Third Order of Saint Francis. The chapels allowed residents of Mexico City, who were geographically removed from the... Full Review
June 23, 2016
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Mexico City: Museo Tamayo, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, March 26–August 16, 2015; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, November 6, 2015–February 15, 2016; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, April 8–May 31, 2016; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, September, 2016–January, 2017
Mexico City-based Belgian artist Francis Alÿs has long been interested in socio-political issues stemming from territory and displacement within marginalized communities, as witnessed through the vestiges of immigration, natural disasters, and warfare. Thus, it is no surprise that these themes feature prominently in three projects in his major solo exhibition, A Story of Negotiation, curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina and beautifully displayed at the Museo Tamayo. Installed in three... Full Review
June 16, 2016
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Mary Roberts
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015. 280 pp.; 50+ color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780520280533)
For years now, Mary Roberts has been generating scholarship on the complexities of nineteenth-century Orientalism. Her work emphasizes the interplay between painters, patrons, models, and viewers and, more generally, relations between Western and local actors of this complex world of art production and consumption. Her Istanbul Exchanges: Ottomans, Orientalists, and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture provides a most welcome continuity with her previous work, as it aims at bringing a... Full Review
June 16, 2016
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Douglas Biow
Haney Foundation Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. 328 pp.; 56 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9780812246711)
The Renaissance individual, by now, is deconstructed, multiplied, shattered, and divided, but again and again it stubbornly returns, resilient and enduring, reintegrated and unified. In a learned synthesis of cultural and intellectual history, Douglas Biow presents a staunch defense of the concept of the individual, boldly asserting its importance in sixteenth-century Italy. Jacob Burckhardt and Stephen Greenblatt here loom large, as does the recent, insightful work of John Martin (John... Full Review
June 16, 2016
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Penny Morrill
Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014. 384 pp.; 115 color ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780292759305)
The near total destruction of the sixteenth-century murals in the palatial home of Tomás de la Plaza—an influential cleric in New Spain, dean of the cathedral of Puebla, and patron of the arts—makes for a compelling opening story in Penny Morrill’s new monograph, The Casa del Deán: New World Imagery in a Sixteenth-Century Mexican Mural Cycle. Although much of the original structure and murals were destroyed over the centuries, Morrill re-creates and evaluates key elements of the dean’s... Full Review
June 9, 2016
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Rowland Abiodun
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 440 pp.; 69 color ills.; 77 b/w ills. Cloth $115.00 (9781107047440)
Rowland Abiodun’s Yoruba Art and Language: Seeking the African in African Art demonstrates how certain Yoruba art forms fit into a larger cultural and linguistic context. Specifically, it examines the fundamentality of oríkì—a word that encompasses a variety of Yoruba literary, verbal, and performance genres including recitations, incantations, chants, curses, laments, dramatic satire, and poetry. According to Abiodun, an examination of oríkì can provide often overlooked... Full Review
June 9, 2016
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New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY, May 1–September 27, 2015
Organized around twenty-three chapters, each of which takes its name from the title of an artwork included in that section, America Is Hard to See, the inaugural exhibition in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building, jettisoned a purely chronological or conventional art-movement “ism” organizational structure in favor of a thematic one. The result challenged traditional (one might say, outmoded) categories of art history and created unexpected juxtapositions that pushed... Full Review
June 9, 2016
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Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, March 21, 2015–October 25, 2015
Nestled in a small gallery in the Ahmanson Building of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and timed to coincide with the museum’s fiftieth anniversary, From the Archives: Art and Technology at LACMA, 1967–1971 offers viewers new insights into one of the institution’s most legendary curatorial endeavors. Organized by Associate Curator Jennifer King, From the Archives draws from various institutional holdings in order to reflect on how, by linking the visual arts to an... Full Review
June 9, 2016
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Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin
, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015. 368 pp.; 164 color ills. Paper $45.00 (9781606064405)
Exhibition schedule: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, March 14–June 21, 2015; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, July 28–November 1, 2015; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, December 13, 2015–March 24, 2016
Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, curated by Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin, opens with an empty limestone base from Corinth featuring cuttings for the feet of a bronze figure and inscribed “Lysippos made [this].” In his Natural History (34.37), Pliny credits Lysippos with creating 1,500 bronze statues, none of which have survived. The base serves as a stark reminder of how few large-scale bronze sculptures remain today while also presaging themes... Full Review
June 2, 2016
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