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

Per Rumberg and Holm Bevers
Exh. cat. New York: Morgan Library and Museum, 2016. 78 pp.; 55 color ills. Paper $24.95 (9780875981765)
Exhibition schedule: Morgan Library and Museum, June 3–September 18, 2016
Rembrandt’s First Masterpiece offered visitors a rare opportunity to engage with Rembrandt’s painted Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver (1629) and the three surviving sheets of preparatory drawings associated with it. The exhibition marked the first time that the painting, long held in an English private collection and, as the exhibition’s title suggested, regarded as a decisive work for the artist’s subsequent development, was shown in the United States. For context,... Full Review
May 11, 2017
Exhibition schedule: Guayanilla-Peñuelas region, Puerto Rico, September 23, 2015–September 23, 2017
Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), a site-specific installation created by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, is a post-colonial inversion and commentary on the complicated state of U.S.-Puerto Rican relations. This iteration of what appears to be an ongoing project also develops one of their consistent themes: light as illumination, energy, and power. Dan Flavin’s iconic Minimalist, fluorescent-light sculpture Puerto Rican Light (to Jeanie Blake) made in 1965 was... Full Review
May 11, 2017
Zeynep Yürekli
Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies. Burlington: Ashgate, 2012. 222 pp.; 57 b/w ills. Paper $54.95 (9781138270756)
The architecture of shrines has been neglected in Islamic architecture scholarship until recently. Among others, Kishwar Rizvi and John Curry have demonstrated how architectural patronage and the writing of hagiographies are intricate political acts and deserve a common analysis (Kishwar Rizvi, The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: Architecture, Religion and Power in Early Modern Iran, London: I.B. Tauris, 2011; and John J. Curry, The Transformation of Muslim Mystical Thought in the Ottoman... Full Review
May 10, 2017
Robert DeCaroli
Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015. 280 pp.; 44 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780295994567)
Robert DeCaroli’s book bears the title Image Problems. But I read the text as Image Answers, for DeCaroli provides some remarkable insights into the conception and production of images by mining textual sources, both Buddhist and Brahmanical, in enormously impressive ways. For almost as long as the history of South Asian art has been studied, the question of when and where the Buddha image was first created—invented, some even might say—has been central. Given the long history of image... Full Review
May 3, 2017
David Cole
Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia: Images Publishing, 2015. 256 pp.; 195 color ills. Cloth $66.24 (9781864706048)
Karen Livingstone, Max Donnelly, and Linda Parry
Exh. cat. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2016. 320 pp. Cloth $65.00 (9781851778546)
The titles of these two books aptly indicate the ambiguity that has always plagued any attempt to classify the work of Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857–1941). Is he the modernist architect who advocated concrete construction, the machine, and eschewed ornamented surfaces, or is he the artisan architect who upheld the teachings of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and John Ruskin, followed Gothic principles, and produced scores of ornamental designs for furniture, wallpaper, and textiles?... Full Review
May 3, 2017
Patricia Blessing
Burlington: Ashgate, 2014. 240 pp.; 10 color ills.; 73 b/w ills. Cloth $109.95 ( 9781472424068)
Patricia Blessing’s Rebuilding Anatolia after the Mongol Conquest: Islamic Architecture in the Lands of Rūm, 1240–1330 seeks to place the monuments within their immediate social and political landscape. Departing from previous approaches to the subject that have stressed continuities with architectural traditions of the prior Seljuk and later Ottoman period, Blessing instead emphasizes the local circumstances in which the monuments were produced. She considers how building forms and... Full Review
April 28, 2017
Massimiliano Gioni and Margot Norton, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: New Museum in association with Phaidon, 2016. 192 pp.; 114 color ills. Cloth $59.95 (9780714871783)
Exhibition schedule: New Museum, New York, February 3–April 10, 2016
Anri Sala: Answer Me, organized by the New Museum’s artistic director Massimiliano Gioni and associate curators Margot Norton and Natalie Bell, is the artist’s first comprehensive survey exhibition in the United States. Sala (b. 1974) is an Albanian artist who lives and works in Berlin and uses primarily video to investigate the underlying structure of music and sound. Many of his works deal with emotional histories of architectural spaces as told by live and recorded musical... Full Review
April 27, 2017
Thordis Arrhenius, Mari Lending, Wallis Miller, and Jérémie Michael McGowan, eds.
Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2014. 248 pp.; 82 ills. Paper $50.00 (9783037784167)
Exhibitions of architecture have recently moved from the margins to the center of architectural history and theory. This shift reflects a greater tendency in scholarship to focus less on individual buildings and more on issues such as the institutional structures that underpin architectural practice, theoretical discourse and its dissemination, as well as architecture’s relationship to its publics and to mass media. These three themes provide the structure for the edited volume Place and... Full Review
April 27, 2017
Hélène Valance
Paris: Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2015. 356 pp.; 149 color ills. Cloth € 39.00 (9782840509950)
Anyone who cares about the representation of night in the modern era will want to have this beautiful book for the images alone, and anyone who can read French will profit from the strong analysis of nocturnal art and politics. Hélène Valance has written a much-needed history of how image makers reacted to the ways in which the American night was lit, exploited, and commercialized from the turn of the twentieth century until the U.S. entry into World War I—between the “closing” of the... Full Review
April 26, 2017
Susan E. Cahan
Durham: Duke University Press, 2016. 360 pp.; 20 color ills.; 113 ills. Cloth $34.95 (9780822358978)
Author’s note: When writing this review last summer, I could not foresee that it would be published just as depictions of anti-black violence in the Whitney Biennial were provoking international debate. These urgent conversations evoke the politics of race, representation, and privilege that animate Susan E. Cahan’s Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power and underscore the value of recovering this underexamined history. This month, July 2016, police... Full Review
April 20, 2017