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

Paul Barrett Niell
Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015. 344 pp.; 12 color ills.; 76 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9780292766594)
In Urban Space as Heritage in Late Colonial Cuba: Classicism and Dissonance on the Plaza de Armas of Havana, 1754–1828, Paul Niell examines cultural production related to the commemoration of the foundational site of Havana, located on the city’s Plaza de Armas. Legend recounts that the Spanish founded the city there under a ceiba tree. Niell focuses on architecture, urban design, and painting created at three different moments: the 1754–71 construction of a baroque monumental pillar... Full Review
August 18, 2016
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Dániel Margócsy
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 336 pp.; 32 color ills.; 39 b/w ills. Cloth $40.00 (9780226117744)
The belief that scholarly consensus and the public good, rather than economic competition, should guide the pursuit of knowledge is an ideal inherited from a tradition of disinterested science that took shape in the early modern Republic of Letters and Enlightenment public sphere. Yet was early modern science as disinterested as it is often imagined to be? “No” is Dániel Margócsy’s blunt answer in Commercial Visions: Science, Trade, and Visual Culture in the Dutch Golden Age. Focusing... Full Review
August 11, 2016
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Aneta Georgievska-Shine and Larry Silver
Burlington: Ashgate, 2014. 362 pp.; 48 color ills.; 112 b/w ills. Cloth $149.95 (9781409462330)
The meeting of renowned Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens and Diego Velázquez, the talented painter to King Philip IV, during Rubens’s visit to Spain in 1628–29 has ignited the imagination of art historians. While contemporary sources are frustratingly silent on the encounter, a growing body of scholarship has appraised the impact of the Fleming’s presence on artistic production at the Spanish court, especially on pictures by Velázquez. In Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain,... Full Review
August 11, 2016
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Catherine Craft, ed.
Exh. cat. Dallas: Nasher Sculpture Center, 2015. 208 pp.; 96 color ills.; 56 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780991233830)
Exhibition schedule: Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, January 31–May 10, 2015; Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, September 1, 2015–January 10, 2016; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, February 12, 2016–May 8, 2016
Melvin Edwards’s work picks up where the traditional medium of sculpture—until the 1960s, associated with the production of anthropomorphic figures in the round—left off. The beginning of his career coincides almost exactly with Minimalism’s expansive redefinition of sculpture to include any three-dimensional object classifiable as art. While Donald Judd and Robert Morris were exhibiting their first stripped-down, spatially commanding objects in 1963–64, Edwards was learning to weld. Thirty... Full Review
August 11, 2016
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Spyros Papapetros
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. 412 pp.; 10 color ills.; 164 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780226645681)
“Too many examples, too many quotes, too many theses, and (perhaps the most criminal of all) too many ideas.” So Spyros Papapetros describes the critical responses circa 1893 to the idiosyncratic Aby Warburg’s dissertation in his recent book On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life. A certain kind of contemporary reader, especially one habituated to a hairsplitting historicism, might be tempted to raise similar objections to Papapetros’s... Full Review
August 11, 2016
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Exh. cat. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2016. 264 pp. $70.00 (9781776560547)
Exhibition schedule: City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, August 22–November 2, 2015; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand, March 5–June 19, 2016; Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch, New Zealand, July 9–November 6, 2016
A survey of thirty years’ work by one of New Zealand’s most prolific photographers required agonies of curatorial selection. Fiona Pardington and curator Aaron Lister collaborated for over two years, choosing works not only from institutional and private collections but also from boxes unearthed from under beds. Inevitably, curation becomes an exercise in synecdoche; each selection is a tip-of-the-iceberg gesture standing in for some facet of an extensive oeuvre. The combination of... Full Review
August 4, 2016
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Judy Annear
Exh. cat. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2015. 304 pp.; 400 ills. Paper $75.00 (9781741741162)
Exhibition schedule: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, March 21–June 8, 2015; Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, July 4–October 11, 2015
The Photograph and Australia brings together over five hundred photographs from major Australian collections of historical and contemporary works. These images have never been seen together before, coming as they do from libraries, museums, and art galleries, each with a different concept of the photograph and its use. This diversity is a particularly poignant aspect of an exhibition that overwhelms us with the common evidentiary power of photography. At the same time, The... Full Review
August 4, 2016
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Alejandro Anreus
A Ver: Revisioning Art History, Volume 10. Minneapolis and Los Angeles: University of Minnesota Press and UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2014. 156 pp.; 82 color ills. Paper $29.95 (9780895511522)
As the bounds of American art history edge into new territories, encroaching, for example, upon the fields of modernist and contemporary art, the discipline is also rekindling itself from within, sparked by its engagements with the once shadow presences of African, Asian, Latin, and Native visual traditions. The elasticity of “American” art today, buoyed by this transnational recognizance, appears already propitious for emergent histories of Latino art, long neglected and too often... Full Review
August 4, 2016
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Philipp Kaiser, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Prestel, 2015. 152 pp.; 116 color ills. Cloth $39.95 (9783791354866)
Exhibition schedule: Brandywine River Museum of Art, Chadds Ford, PA, August 8–November 15, 2015
Visitors to the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s Things Beyond Resemblance: James Welling Photographs who are new to Welling’s work might be surprised to discover, on the basis of the visible evidence gathered, that this artist first came to public note associated with (if not quite trading in) an appropriative photographic language at pains to estrange itself from both photography’s claims to inspired worldly reference and the fruit of art-historical influence. Here that... Full Review
July 28, 2016
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Ian McLean, ed.
Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. 380 pp.; 67 b/w ills. Cloth £ 52.99 (9781443867436)
The situations debated and analyzed in Double Desire: Transculturation and Indigenous Contemporary Art, edited by Ian McLean, were familiar to me. I was scheduled to give a paper at the 2013 International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in Sydney on a white South African artist whose work comes from a genealogy of European/American minimalism and abstraction. After some discussion it was decided that my paper should be moved from the panel on experimental art to the panel for Latin... Full Review
July 28, 2016
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