If you access or use the journal, you accept these conditions.

Browse Recent Book Reviews

Pamela A. Patton
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012. 220 pp.; 23 color ills.; 59 b/w ills. Cloth $79.95 (9780271053837)
Thumbnail
December 3, 2014

Pamela A. Patton’s Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain makes an important contribution to the already rich field of medieval art and Jewish-Christian relations. Scholars such as Bernhard Blumenkranz, Michael Camille, Ruth Mellinkoff, Heinz Schreckenberg, Sara Lipton, Debra Higgs Strickland, Mitchell Merback, Vivian Mann, Nina Rowe, Herbert Kessler, and David Nirenberg, among others, have examined the ways in which Christian art expresses perceptions of Jews and Judaism.[1] As Patton points out, these studies...

Stephanie Smith, ed.
Exh. cat. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 2013. 380 pp.; 320 color ills. Paper $45.00 (9780935573527)

Exhibition schedule: Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, February 16–June 10, 2012; Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Houston, August 31, 2013–January 5, 2014; SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, February 1–May 17, 2014; Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH, July 25–November 30, 2014; Weisman Art Museum, University at Minnesota, Minneapolis, January 31–May 10, 2015

Thumbnail
December 3, 2014

Over the last twenty-five years, meals constructed by artists as art have flourished through a range of itinerant arts initiatives in public and private spaces and become recent programmatic mainstays in galleries and museums around the world, giving the impression that these works are a contemporary trend. Yet, in the 1930s the Italian Futurists generated a body of work about food that predated these artist projects—opening a restaurant, La Taverna del Santopalato (Tavern of the...

Glenn Willumson
Berkeley: Ahmanson-Murphy Fine Arts, 2013. 254 pp.; few b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780520270947)
Thumbnail
November 26, 2014

Glenn Willumson’s Iron Muse: Photographing the Transcontinental Railroad begins with a discussion of a photograph by Andrew Joseph Russell titled East and West Shaking Hands at Laying Last Rail (no. 227) (1869), also known as Meeting of the Rails, Promontory, Utah, 1869. The photograph features workers and executives from the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad celebrating the completion of the transcontinental line. Willumson starts by analyzing how Russell’s photograph is often reproduced...

Eduardo Cadava and Gabriela Nouzeilles, eds.
Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum, 2013. 240 pp.; 135 color ills.; 71 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300174366)

Exhibition schedule: Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, September 7, 2013–January 19, 2014

Thumbnail
November 26, 2014

There is a kind of fatigue in recent literature on photography. The ritual of declaring a ubiquitous abundance of photographic images, both historical and contemporary, is usually accompanied by a compulsion to address this situation and a requirement to analyze them. But how, in what framework, and to what ends? Understanding photography as a journey, as a set of “itinerant languages,” is one way to respond to this challenge. The Itinerant Languages of Photography, edited...

Catherine Zuromskis
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013. 264 pp.; 77 b/w ills. Cloth $34.95 (9780262019293)
Thumbnail
November 26, 2014

Selfies, Instagram feeds, photo tagging: whatever value we may have once placed on the privacy of our photographs seems gone forever. The incorporation of digital cameras into cell phones has created this condition, launching us into a post-camera, post-print era where we press the button and a messaging service does the rest. The “rest” is to render instantly our private moments into public documents that can be neither reversed nor regulated. As many critics of...

Stephen Bann
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. 276 pp.; 10 color ills.; 95 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300177275)
Thumbnail
November 26, 2014

Evolutionary approaches positing seamless and irreversible transitions from one medium to another continue to exert a significant hold over the history of art. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the study of nineteenth-century printed images, a field still under the powerful sway of Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Photography and film are held to triumph not only over painting, with its aura of uniqueness, but even over...

Katherine A. Bussard
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. 232 pp.; 104 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300192261)
Thumbnail
November 14, 2014

It is strangely difficult to consider what is meant by street photography, both for those who write about it and for the photographers for whom the street is their location and, to varying degrees, their subject. This is due in large part to the remarkable success of a genre that is most often championed through reference to its so-called “greats”—photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Harry Callahan, and Garry Winogrand—and, more tellingly still, through a familiarity...

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
London: MACK and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2013. 768 pp.; 614 color ills. Cloth $80.00 (9781907946417)
Thumbnail
November 14, 2014

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s Holy Bible takes the form of a King James facsimile, complete with tissuey paper and gilt edges. Opening the book reveals photographs printed as if pasted over the text, with evocative scriptural phrases underlined in red. A crimson pamphlet in the back bears the essay “Divine Violence” by philosopher Adi Ophir, which argues that the biblical God regulated humanity through catastrophic violence, and that with the rise of law and...

Sarah Pearce, ed.
Supplement Series, Volume II. Oxford: Journal of Jewish Studies, 2013. 288 pp.; 50 color ills. Paper £ 55.00 (978-0957522800)
Thumbnail
November 7, 2014

Although entitled The Image and Its Prohibition in Jewish Antiquity, the ten essays in this collection edited by Sarah Pearce center as much on the power of the image as on its prohibition. From the remarkable wall paintings of the Dura Europos synagogue to the surprising floor mosaics featuring Helios and the zodiac, the richness of ancient Jewish art, particularly the art of Late Antiquity, is on display. Nearly half of the essays focus on...

Dominic Johnson, ed.
Intellect Live. Bristol, UK: Intellect Ltd., 2013. 248 pp.; 132 color ills.; 67 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (9781783200351)
Thumbnail
November 7, 2014

Ron Athey’s performances present bloody religious tableaux, explicit sex, and self-harming actions. Deeply disturbing and profoundly moving, these performances have garnered critical attention and generated controversy since the 1990s, when Athey’s Torture Trilogy (1992–95) became the focal point of Congressional culture war debates. The ideas and aesthetics embedded in Athey’s artworks reflect his complex, overlapping identities, both past and present: Pentecostal child prodigy, punk adolescent, heroin addict, S&M club performer, HIV-positive patient, tattooed man, avant-garde...