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 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

Andrew Bolton
Exh. cat. Two volumes. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018. 335 pp.; 330 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781588396457)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 10–October 7, 2018
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, the latest exhibition from the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, explored the influence of Catholicism on fashion. As curator Andrew Bolton writes in the exhibition catalogue, it examined “how the Catholic imagination has shaped the creativity of designers and how it is conveyed through their fashions” (96). The exhibition design, by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, capitalized on light and height... Full Review
January 2, 2019
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Peggy McCracken
University of Chicago Press, 2017. 240 pp.; 16 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780226458922)
Peggy McCracken’s new book is about power. Although the burgeoning field of human-animal studies has been dominated by literary historians like herself, McCracken’s approach is refreshingly interdisciplinary and opens the door to new ways in which scholars in other disciplines might enter this increasingly important discourse.In her introduction, McCracken’s thesis is crystal clear: “literary texts use human-animal encounters to explore the legitimacy of authority and dominion over... Full Review
December 21, 2018
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Shari Tishman
London: Routledge, 2017. 156 pp.; 22 color ills.; 23 b/w ills. Paper $39.95 (9781138240414)
Shari Tishman’s Slow Looking: The Art and Practice of Learning Through Observation is a book that covers the whole field of education, beginning with children in primary school to adults visiting museums. Though I intend to discuss the entire scope of the book here, my primary concern is how its thesis applies to people, of any age, when they look at art in museums. My first thought when asked to review the book was that the concept of “slow looking” is appealing, but is it... Full Review
December 19, 2018
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Jane Munro, ed.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. 269 pp.; 250 color ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780300228236)
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, October 3, 2017–January 14, 2018; Denver Art Museum, February 18–May 20, 2018
Leïla Jarbouai and Marine Kisiel, eds.
Exh. cat. Paris, France: Gallimard, 2017. 255 pp. Cloth (9782072751974)
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, November 28, 2017–February 25, 2018
In 2017, the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge, United Kingdom) and the Musée d’Orsay (Paris) marked the centenary of Edgar Degas’s death with exhibitions that explored different aspects of the painter’s legacy. Each exhibition drew attention to myths that developed about Degas and his art in the years after his death, highlighting approaches that dealers and collectors took to the marketing and acquisition of his works. The subtitle of the Fitzwilliam exhibition—“a passion for... Full Review
December 14, 2018
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Caroline A. Jones
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. 400 pp.; 37 color ills.; 128 b/w ills. Hardcover $65.00 (9780226291741)
What does it mean to say that an artwork is “global” or “contemporary”? Such claims, which are often both implicit and based on unreflective judgments, are nothing less than a condition of possibility for virtually any kind of discourse or practice related to contemporary art. Yet despite the ubiquity or even the necessity of “the global” and “the contemporary,” it is by no means clear how these terms function rhetorically; it isn’t even clear that they refer to determinate concepts or... Full Review
December 11, 2018
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Andrea E. Frohne
New York State Series. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2015. 435 pp.; 12 color ills.; 55 b/w ills. Paperback $49.95 (9780815634300)
The mutual imbrications of race, space, and visuality that are a shared preoccupation of art history, cultural studies, critical theory, media studies, and anthropology come into disturbingly vivid relief in the story of the colonial-era cemetery whose long-buried past and recent transformation into the first national monument to memorialize US slavery form the subjects of Andrea Frohne’s fascinating book, The African Burial Ground in New York City: Memory, Spirituality, and Space.... Full Review
December 10, 2018
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Marian Bleeke
Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2017. 216 pp.; 4 color ills.; 43 b/w ills. Cloth $99.00 (9781783272501)
In Motherhood and Meaning in Medieval Sculpture: Representations from France, c. 1100–1500, Marian Bleeke’s goal is to explore what medieval sculptures “have to say about medieval women’s experiences of motherhood” (1). She asserts that “these sculptures become sites where medieval women could consider their own maternal experiences and the meanings those experiences held for them” (3). In this study, the author makes a powerful case for exploring the potential experiences... Full Review
December 7, 2018
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Diana Bullen Presciutti
Visual Culture in Early Modernity. New York: Routledge, 2015. 284 pp.; 8 color ills.; 115 b/w ills. Hardcover $112.00 (9781472457653)
Diana Bullen Presciutti’s Visual Cultures of Foundling Care in Renaissance Italy is a sharply focused look at the figurative imagery deployed by hospitals caring for orphaned and abandoned children. Hospitals in Renaissance Italy have long been a subject of research: John Henderson’s The Renaissance Hospital: Healing the Body and Healing the Soul (2006) is a recent example of broad treatment, and Il mercante, l’ospedale, i fanciulli: La donazione di Francesco Datini, Santa... Full Review
December 6, 2018
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Naoko Takahatake
Exh. cat. Los Angeles, New York, and Munich: Los Angeles County Museum of Art in association with DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2018. 288 pp.; 295 color ills. Hardcover $60.00 (9783791357393)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 3–September 16, 2018; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 14, 2018–January 20, 2019
The chiaroscuro woodcut has always occupied an awkward and somewhat uncertain place in the history of prints. The technique employs multiple superimposed woodblock impressions in different colors to create printed images with tonal variation. Although the technique was developed by Lucas Cranach, Hans Burgkmair, and Hans Baldung Grien in Germany in the early years of the sixteenth century, most chiaroscuro woodcuts were produced in Italy. Between ca. 1516 and 1610, it is estimated that... Full Review
December 5, 2018
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Sonal Khullar
Oakland: University of California Press, 2015. 368 pp.; 84 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780520283671)
In her innovative and elegant book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, Sonal Khullar reconstitutes the history of modernism in India as nimble artistic negotiations between present and past, East and West, crafts and fine arts, and individual and nation. Through Edward Said’s notion of “affiliation,” she pushes the history of art worlds beyond the bounds of the nation-state, education, or media to revive “the worldly... Full Review
December 4, 2018
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