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

Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka
Trans. Krzysztof Z. Cieszkowski. Warsaw: Salix alba Press, 2015. 184 pp.; 129 b/w ills. Paper € 22.50 (9788393093779)
Landscape with Menorah: Jews in the Towns and Cities of the Former Rzeczpospolita of Poland and Lithuania is the revised and updated edition of Krajobraz z menora. Zydzi w miastach i miasteczkach dawnej Rzeszpospolitej (Wrocław: Zaklad Narodowy im Ossolinskich Wydawn, 2008), which was published during the lifetime of Kazimierz Piechotka (1919–2010). His wife and equal collaborator, Maria (1920–), supervised revisions and the fluent translation into English. The Piechotkas,... Full Review
June 2, 2016
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John J. Marciari, Carmen Albendea, Ian McClure, Anikó Bezur, Jens Stenger, and Benito Navarrete Prieto
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. 96 pp.; 46 color ills. Paper $20.00 (9780300207866)
Curator John Marciari made headlines in 2010 when he announced his discovery of what he deemed to be an early masterpiece by none other than Diego Velázquez. The painting, depicting the Education of the Virgin, was in poor condition, and it had languished for decades in the Yale University Art Gallery basement. Yet Marciari perceived in it the hand of a master. Writing in Ars Magazine, he hailed the Yale Education as “the most significant addition to [Velázquez’s] work in a... Full Review
June 2, 2016
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Palm Springs: Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, March 14–July 26, 2015
The experience of seeing Andrea Zittel’s recent exhibition at the newly opened Architecture and Design Center at the Palm Springs Art Museum is probably somewhat unusual given what many of us have come to expect of contemporary art shows in prominent art-world epicenters. The space, for one thing, is a repurposed bank originally designed in 1961 by the beloved local architect E. Stewart Williams, and its recent renovation by the Los Angeles-based firm Marmol Radziner leaves intact such... Full Review
May 26, 2016
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Wendy Kozol
Minnapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 280 pp.; 39 b/w ills. Paper $22.50 (9780816681303)
The involvement of photography in helping to contest as well as legitimize war as a means to resolve conflict has been studied by a large number of scholars in recent years. Often motivated by their belief in humanitarianism, scholars commonly aim to salvage photography from its absorption into overt belligerent politics, highlighting instead the role it plays in communicating war atrocities. While as a consequence photography has been seen and defended in academia mainly as a medium that... Full Review
May 26, 2016
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Carmenita Higginbotham
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015. 224 pp.; 36 color ills.; 44 b/w ills. Cloth $79.95 (9780271063935)
The Urban Scene: Race, Reginald Marsh, and American Art is a visually astute, well-researched account of this important American artist as a discerning observer of the changing nature of urban life in the first decades of the twentieth century. Carmenita Higginbotham seamlessly merges theoretical insight, social history, formal analysis, and primary sources in service of an argument that delivers a welcome challenge to settled wisdom on the cultural production of this period. The book... Full Review
May 26, 2016
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Michael A. Brown and Niria E. Leyva-Guttíerrez
Exh. cat. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Art, 2015. 45 pp.; 32 color ills. Paper $19.95 (9780937108520)
Exhibition schedule: San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, March 28–June 30, 2015
Divine Desire: Printmaking, Mythology, and the Birth of the Baroque at the San Diego Museum of Art was an exhibition of over seventy late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Netherlandish engraved prints, mostly by Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617), his pupil and stepson Jacob Matham (1571–1631), and student Jan Pietersz Saenredam (1565–1607). The subject matter of the prints is predominantly mythological and secular, apart from a series on the virtues and vices. In selecting this... Full Review
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Okwui Enwezor, ed.
Exh. cat. 2 volumes. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2015. 1054 pp. Paper $130.00 (978883172128)
Exhibition schedule: Venice, May 9—November 22, 2015
Picturing the World: Painting at the 56th Venice Biennale Plenty has already been written about the daily recitations of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital at the 56th Venice Biennale, a gesture that served to recapitulate our nervous twitching about art and money. Across the grand swath of global art on display, there were indeed many compelling moments pointing to capitalism as the hoary culprit in our world of excess and inequity. Typically, at the heart of such claims in relation to... Full Review
May 18, 2016
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Okwui Enwezor, ed.
Exh. cat. 2 volumes. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2015. 1054 pp. Paper $130.00 (978883172128)
Exhibition schedule: Venice, May 9—November 22, 2015
Environmental Art at the 56th Venice Biennale The 2015 Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor, focuses on the unpredictability and volatility of our historical moment, or what in another context Ulrich Beck calls the “risk society” (Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London: Sage, 1992). As Michelle Kuo explains in an interview with Enwezor: “That is when the unintended side effects of modernization—technological, ecological—seem to be overwhelming the... Full Review
May 18, 2016
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Okwui Enwezor, ed.
Exh. cat. 2 volumes. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2015. 1054 pp. Paper $130.00 (978883172128)
Exhibition schedule: Venice, May 9—November 22, 2015
Okwui Enwezor’s 2015 edition of la Biennale di Venezia, All the World’s Futures, opened with a somber installation on the facade of the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. At its summit, the striking words of Glenn Ligon’s neon marquee—“blues blood bruise”—announced themes of violence, suffering, death, and sorrow, as well as the role of music as a medium of collective resistance and power. Just below this sign, viewers confronted the Colombian artist Oscar Murillo’s series of black,... Full Review
May 18, 2016
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Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 20–June 28, 2015
William Pope.L: Trinket at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), opened shortly after thousands took to the streets in protest of the Staten Island grand jury’s failure to convict the New York Police Department officer charged with Eric Garner’s death. While heightened media coverage of this and other social injustices resulting from racially motivated aggressions may have weighed heavily on those visiting the exhibition, it is unlikely that viewers would find aesthetic... Full Review
May 12, 2016
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