Concise, critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in all areas and periods of art history and visual studies

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On the heels of the recent publication of their books Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories and Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender, Amelia Jones and David Getsy initiated a conversation about these books and the current state of and future directions for art history’s engagements with gender and sexuality.<a... Full Review
February 16, 2018
Glenn Parsons
Malden, MA: Polity, 2015. 176 pp. Paperback $22.95 (9780745663890)
Glenn Parsons, an associate professor of philosophy at Ryerson University in Toronto, has managed a very difficult task: he has written a solid philosophy book about design that is firmly grounded in design and the problems of designers. Parsons’s introduction stakes out his goal—“showing that design is a realm worthy of philosophical exploration in its own right” (3)—but his book, in contrast to much of what is labeled “design philosophy,” is about design as analyzed by a philosopher... Full Review
February 15, 2018
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Nicole R. Myers, ed.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. 136 pp.; 115 color ills. Paper $35.00 (9780300227055)
Dallas Museum of Art, December 4, 2016–March 19, 2017
The title to the exhibition Art and Nature in the Middle Ages at the Dallas Museum of Art appeared in large gilded letters set upon a forest-green wall and framed by a lush foliate border similar to those gracing late-medieval manuscripts. The glittering composition signaled that something beautiful waited around the corner. A small creature, outlined in gold and similarly lifted from lively Gothic illuminations, playfully peeked from a lower corner of the same wall, imparting a... Full Review
February 15, 2018
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Kenneth A. Breisch
Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2016. 220 pp.; 21 color ills.; 140 b/w ills. Hardcover $45.00 (9781606064900)
The Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Library building (1924–33) in the city’s downtown has long been hemmed in by high-rise buildings. Their bland commercial anonymity makes it hard not to regard the library as the beloved elderly neighborhood dandy—one you feel sure could tell you some terrific stories about the old days. Kenneth A. Breisch’s beautiful new monograph aims to let the building do just that. It leads us first through the twists and turns that preceded the building’s... Full Review
February 15, 2018
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Kymberly N. Pinder
Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield: University of Illinois Press, 2016. 224 pp.; 60 color ills.; 8 b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (9780252081439)
In her book Painting the Gospel: Black Public Art and Religion in Chicago, Kymberly N. Pinder uses religious imagery affiliated with black churches in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side as a case study to explore the ways that African American artists and pastors have collaborated to insist upon self-representation of and for their congregations. This short book manages to be very narrow and specific in its discussion of a handful of churches in one of Chicago’s... Full Review
February 15, 2018
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Stefanie Seeberg
Berlin: Michael Imhof Verlag, 2015. 336 pp.; 123 color ills.; 141 b/w ills. Hardcover € 69.00 (9783731900382)
Recently, I chaperoned some undergraduates visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art. As I was admiring the Jonah Marbles, a student rushed up in excitement, eager to tell me about an extraordinary work of embroidery. I followed her and immediately recognized it as a piece of white work from Altenberg an der Lahn. Thanks to Stefanie Seeberg’s excellent discussion of this and similar works in her Textile Bildwerke im Kirchenraum: Leinenstickereien im Kontext mittelalterlicher... Full Review
February 14, 2018
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The Museum of the City of New York, January 14–May 21, 2017
The lights went out in New York City for two days in the summer of 1977, a summer marred also by more murders by the Son of Sam killer and a continuing fiscal crisis. In that time of crisis, privately funded arts groups stepped forward to enrich the city’s public-school programs with art classes taught by working artists. Forty years later, The City and the Young Imagination at the Museum of the City of New York looked back over the work of children in classes sponsored by one such... Full Review
February 14, 2018
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Susan Boynton and Diane J. Reilly, eds.
Turnhout: Brepols, 2015. 451 pp.; 54 color ills.; 201 b/w ills. Hardcover $130.00 (9782503554372)
The editors of Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound begin the volume with a brief review of some of the recent literature addressing medieval conjunctions of sound and image. The anthology that follows comprises sixteen case studies, each exploring specific intersections of the acoustic with the visual and the spatial.Several themes run through these essays. Many of the authors consider architecture in relation to the production and reception of... Full Review
February 14, 2018
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Amy Brandt, ed.
Exh. cat. Norfolk, VA and New York: Chrysler Museum of Art, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, and Lyon Artbooks, 2015. 176 pp.; 35 color ills.; 98 b/w ills. Hardcover $55.00 (9780692338674)
Grey Art Gallery, NYU, April 21–July 11, 2015; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, August 18–December 13, 2015; Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA, January 21–May 22, 2016; Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, September 17–December 11, 2016
Party Like It’s 1989What would the late provocateur and self-proclaimed “SlutForArt” Tseng Kwong Chi have made of the annual Met Gala paparazzi fest, particularly the opening of the blockbuster 2015 exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass? The much-blogged-about fundraiser—tickets cost $30,000 each and brought in $12.5 million that year—featured a star-studded roster of global celebrities, including Rihanna, Fan Bingbing, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian West,... Full Review
February 14, 2018
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Jonathan P. Binstock and Malick Gaines
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2014. 119 pp. Cloth $92.00 (9780991635696)
UCLA Hammer Museum, June 2–September 2, 2012; Grand Gallery at Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY, February 19–May 7, 2017; Rochester Contemporary Art Center, February 3–March 19, 2017
The exhibition Meleko Mokgosi: Pax Kaffraria consisted of a series of mural-size paintings that interwove historical narratives of postcolonial southern African countries with cinematic contemporary scenes from the daily lives of the individuals who uphold, live within, resist, define, and embody the nation-states. Mokgosi, born in Francistown, Botswana, and living in New York City, presented the project in eight nonlinear chapters, each one composed of three to eight canvases, with... Full Review
February 13, 2018
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