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Leo G. Mazow
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012. 216 pp.; 44 color ills.; 33 b/w ills. Cloth $84.95 (9780271050836)
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May 21, 2015

Is there a post-postmodern approach to the art of Thomas Hart Benton, the opinionated, controversial polymath? One that expands an understanding of this larger-than-life artist in humanistic terms while laying bare his manifold contradictions: the short man who drew elongated bodies; the Parisian-trained painter who disavowed the avant-garde and its “cubes”; the man of ideas who read John Dewey while lambasting urban intelligentsia; and, last but not least, the scion of politicians who eschewed public...

Carol Magee
Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012. 256 pp.; 6 color ills.; 16 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9781617031526)
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May 21, 2015

Although popular culture and its incidental pleasures are constantly consumed, such things are not usually assessed with the same meticulous and critical lenses trained upon other forms of culture. Indeed, despite the victories of cultural studies, there is still less ink spilt (or keys tapped) on close academic analyses of pop culture than objects classed as “art.” Carol Magee’s Africa in the American Imagination is a welcome—and exemplary—exception to the rule (though certainly scholars such...

Andrew V. Uroskie
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 288 pp.; 100 b/w ills. Paper $30.00 (9780226842998)
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May 7, 2015

In the closing pages of his fine book Between the Black Box and the White Cube: Expanded Cinema and Postwar Art, Andrew V. Uroskie delivers a vivid explication of Ken Dewey’s multimedia project Selma Last Year (1966). With this work, Dewey proposes to redefine the social character of media through sophisticated interrelations of technology and live performance contingent to a viewer’s presence: “the act of spectatorship itself [was] staged” (226). The stakes of this staging...

Carole Paul, ed.
Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. 368 pp.; 65 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (9781606061206)
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May 7, 2015

This anthology stems from the Getty’s three-pronged publications program which, in addition to the museum, includes the Conservation and the Research Institutes. Going far beyond the catalogues of permanent collections or special exhibitions that are the more customary publishing outlets for museums, an extensive and variegated scholarly literature has been the result. The current volume focuses on the origins and early development of the major Continental and English art museums during the late eighteenth and...

Catherine Coleman Brawer and Kathleen Murphy Skolnik
New York: Andrea Monfried Editions, 2014. 240 pp.; 230 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780991026302)
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April 30, 2015

While reading Catherine Coleman Brawer and Kathleen Murphy Skolnik’s splendid new book, The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière, I thought—it’s time to go to Nebraska. For it is in its state capital, Lincoln, where one can see Meière’s extraordinary suite of mosaic murals done for the interior domes and floor of the state capitol. Completed between 1924 and 1932, the project catapulted Meière (1892–1961) to the status of one of the nation’s foremost mosaicists...

Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 336 pp.; 23 color ills.; 56 b/w ills. Cloth $99.00 (9780199678136)
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April 30, 2015

In late Renaissance Italy, prosperous individuals had the luxury of options when it came to such essential concerns as diet, dwelling, grooming, and sleep. Sandra Cavallo and Tessa Storey, the authors of Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy, look carefully at what Renaissance Italians did to preserve their well-being and at the medical arguments behind these determinations; in doing so, they furnish a key for understanding the behaviors, attitudes, and material culture of the period....

Donal Cooper and Janet Robson
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. 296 pp.; 60 color ills.; 134 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300195712)
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April 30, 2015

Donal Cooper and Janet Robson have given scholars, students, and general enthusiasts a long-needed tool for understanding and appreciating the decorative program in the Upper Church of the Basilica at Assisi. For decades, art-historical literature on the famous fresco cycle depicting the life of St. Francis focused almost exclusively on the Giotto/non-Giotto attribution question. What little had been published concerning the basilica’s patronage and iconography was either written in German or Italian and thus inaccessible...

Elizabeth T. Goizueta, ed.
Exh. cat. Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 2014. 150 pp.; 50 color ills.; 100 b/w ills. Paper $40.00 (9781892850232)

Exhibition schedule: McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, August 30–December 14, 2014; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, February 14–May 24, 2015

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April 23, 2015

The Jungle (1943) no longer hangs by the coatroom of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, as John Yau once decried (“Please Wait by the Coatroom,” Art Magazine 63, no. 4 [December 1988]: 56–59), and no doubt the critical fortunes of Wifredo Lam have risen auspiciously over the past quarter-century. Lam scholarship surged in the 1990s and early 2000s amid a disciplinary climate in full flush of postcolonial revision and a continuing anthropological turn. From...

Chi-ming Yang
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. 288 pp.; 16 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (978-1421402161)
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April 23, 2015

In Performing China: Virtue, Commerce, and Orientalism in Eighteenth-Century China, 1660–1760, Chi-ming Yang contributes to the growing body of scholarship that reinvestigates and reconceptualizes the complex effects of Chinese taste on Western Europe (on England, see David Porter, Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins, Elizabeth Hope Chang, and Peter J. Kitson; on France, Christine A. Jones; on Italy, Adrienne Ward [to name only a few]; most recently in art history, see Stacey Sloboda, Chinoiserie: Commerce and Critical Ornament...

Alejandro de la Fuente, ed.
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013. 348 pp.; 450 color ills.; 210 b/w ills. Paper $49.95 (9780822962557)
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April 16, 2015

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Drapetomanía: Grupo Antillano and the Art of Afro-Cuba, this volume is on a mission. Grupo Antillano, a diverse group of artists and intellectuals, was active in Cuba between 1978–83—spanning the moment (1981) when the so-called “New Cuban Art” first rose to prominence. But while the latter movement has become the global face of contemporary Cuban art, the work of Antillano is all but unknown, whether on the island...