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

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Stanford Anderson
MIT Press, 2000. 429 pp.; 251 b/w ills. Cloth $59.95 (026201176X)
During his lifetime, Peter Behrens was able to enjoy a great deal of press--thanks to his extensive activity in typography, design, and architecture. In addition to the numerous articles that accompanied his published projects, Behrens became the subject of a monograph by Fritz Hoeber in 1913, while still in the midst of his career. Behrens died in 1940, but remained respected even after World War II, although his achievement was considered to be the work of an early proponent of modernism,... Full Review
February 1, 2001
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Alexander Alberro and Blake Stimson
MIT Press, 1999. 569 pp.; 36 b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (0262511177)
This century's second great period of artistic invention lasted from around 1944 to around 1972—from Abstract Expressionism, that is, to Conceptual art. Artists since then have basically been involved in digesting the implications of that earlier period—a serious task for work that remains unfinished. Art historians have been at it too, at least as far as revisiting the '40s and '50s. Now we're starting to see the '60s and early '70s in historical perspective as well, and part of the... Full Review
February 1, 2001
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Pierre Rosenberg
Princeton University Press in association with National Gallery of Art, 2000. 244 pp.; 265 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (069100918X)
For a series of six Andrew W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Pierre Rosenberg chose as his subject the drawings of five French artists—Nicolas Poussin, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jacques-Louis David, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres—who worked over the span of years when France was transformed politically and socially, but understood their contributions within an unbroken cultural lineage. Rosenberg, along with his collaborator,... Full Review
February 1, 2001
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Paul Hills
Yale University Press, 1998. 248 pp.; 239 color ills.; 15 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0300081359)
Paul Hills's book deals with the aesthetics of color and its social history in Venice. These two ostensibly diverse agendas are interwoven through the author's examination of the cognitive skills of the patronal classes (Hills owes a great deal to Michael Baxandall's concept of the "period eye"), and the materials and processes involved in fashioning the visual environment of the city. As the title informs us, Hills deals with color in marble, mosaic, and glass in addition to painting. He... Full Review
January 31, 2001
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Vibeke Vibolt Knudsen, ed.
Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst, 2000. 231 pp.; 90 color ills. Paper (8790096037)
February 11-May 7, 2000, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen.
Almost all post-War scholarship on Francisco Goya (1746-1828) has been concerned, in one way or another, with the artist's relation to the political, social, and cultural upheaval that wracked Spain from the 1780s through the 1820s. Over the past decade, the touchstone for thinking about these issues has been Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment, organized by Eleanor A. Sayre and Alfonoso E. Pérez Sánchez (Madrid: Museo del Prado, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, and New York: Metropolitan... Full Review
January 30, 2001
Patricia A. Morton
MIT Press, 2000. 380 pp.; 163 b/w ills. Cloth $40.00 (0262133628)
In a letter to the curator of the 5th Biennale de Lyon, held in the summer of 2000, Partage d'exotismes (Sharing of Exoticisms), artist Hassan Musa declined an invitation to join the exhibition, claiming that, "Personally, as an artist born in Africa, but with no urge to bear the burden of an African artist, I know that the only opportunities open to me to present my work in public outside Africa are of the 'ethnic' type, where people assign to me the role of 'the African other' in... Full Review
January 30, 2001
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Penelope J. E. Davies
Cambridge University Press, 2000. 265 pp.; 117 b/w ills. Cloth $80.00 (0521632366)
Death and the Emperor is an important new book that treats several familiar landmarks of the Eternal City in unfamiliar, stimulating, and insightful ways. The focus of the author's inquiry is the series of tombs and other memorials erected to honor deceased Roman emperors from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius. Because some of these monuments were built to house the remains of entire dynasties, this elite class of buildings has very few members—in fact, only seven (for eighteen emperors).... Full Review
January 29, 2001
Debra Pincus
Cambridge University Press, 1999. 276 pp.; 126 b/w ills. Cloth $80.00 (0521593549)
Amidst the massive tombs of later doges, often reaching the entire height of a church from floor to vaulting, the rather more modest memorials to 13th- and 14th-century leaders of Venice may escape the notice of the general public, and indeed have largely escaped the attention of scholars. Debra Pincus amply demonstrates that they are, on the contrary, of considerable interest and importance. Most obviously, the early ducal tombs set the stage for the "grand, wall-filling tombs of the second... Full Review
January 29, 2001
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Gail E. Husch
Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2000. 384 pp.; 12 color ills.; 65 b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (1584650060)
In 1972, David Huntington published an engaging and thought-provoking work, his Art and the Excited Spirit: America in the Romantic Period, a study of antebellum culture that has as its thesis the idea that "the American of the Romantic age was wakeful and on the qui vive." "His world was fraught with religion," Huntington told us, "his was an excited spirit." Having had the benefit of the late professor's teaching on this subject, I believe that Huntington felt a kind of... Full Review
January 25, 2001
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Barbara Dayer Gallati
Harry N. Abrams in association with Brooklyn Museum, 2000. 192 pp.; 54 color ills.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth $37.50 (0810945584)
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, May 26-August 13, 2000; The Art Institute of Chicago, September 7-November 26, 2000; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, December 13, 2000-March 11, 2001.
William Merritt Chase has long been considered a major American artist, if not a New York artist. Brooklyn Museum curator Barbara Dayer Gallati shows how Chase's reputation first evolved, taking no aspect of his art or identity for granted. The catalogue for William Merritt Chase: Modern American Landscapes, 1886-1890 (which initiated at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in May 2000, and ends at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in March 2001) aims to reveal Chase's importance as a modern... Full Review
January 25, 2001
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