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

Browse Recent Book Reviews

Annmarie Adams and Peta Tancred
Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2000. 190 pp. Cloth $50.00 (0802044174)
Much has been written about the place of women in male-dominated professions, but systematic research and documentation of the architectural and design professions have been few and far between, with most such publications covering the subject in the United States and Western Europe. Annmarie Adams and Petra Tancred's 'Designing Women': Gender and the Architectural Profession is thus a welcome addition that focuses on a Canadian context. In more than one way, it is a unique... Full Review
April 1, 2001
Thumbnail
Bruce Kellner, ed.
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999. 186 pp. Paper $19.95 (1566397812)
Like their European counterparts, first-generation modernists in the United States depended on the word—in manifestoes, catalog essays, and "little magazines"—to advocate and advance their art. The Alfred Stieglitz circle, for instance, enlisted the journal Camera Work and the critical writing of Waldo Frank and Paul Rosenfeld to explicate their aesthetic goals to a public in need of instruction. This art movement was, moreover, engaged with literary modernism, as writers were... Full Review
March 29, 2001
Thumbnail
Holly Edwards, ed.
Princeton University Press in association with Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2000. 242 pp.; many color ills.; some b/w ills. Paper $65.00 (069105004X)
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, June 11-September 4, 2000; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD, October 1-December 10, 2000; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC, February 3-April 22, 2001.
Prepared for an exhibition that originated at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, this catalogue richly illustrates and analyzes the multivalent visual culture of American Orientalism from the post-Civil War Holy Land paintings of Frederic Church to the Hollywood movie celebrity Rudolph Valentino, who starred in The Sheik (1921). The catalogue comprises five interpretive essays by scholars from different disciplines as well as contextually detailed catalogue entries for a... Full Review
March 29, 2001
Thumbnail
Alexander Nagel
Cambridge University Press, 2000. 303 pp.; 105 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0521662923)
In his sustained and enlightening meditation on Michelangelo and the figure of the dead Christ, Alexander Nagel has persuasively repositioned the artist’s work within a climate of historicism and reform. He has also achieved much more than this. Long before Vasari, as Nagel reminds us, artists had been mindful of art’s own history. Their definition of change—whether stylistic or iconographic—and their attitude toward it, embodied the highest kind of self-consciousness. With respect to art... Full Review
March 26, 2001
Thumbnail
Jill Dunkerton, Susan Foister, and Nicholas Penny
Yale University Press in association with National Gallery, London, 2002. 329 pp.; 300 color ills.; 86 b/w ills. Paper $39.95 (0300095333)
Dürer to Veronese is the second out of a series of four planned volumes exploring the function, meaning, and making of European paintings in the collection of the National Gallery, London. Unlike the first volume, Giotto to Dürer, covering two hundred and fifty years of pictorial production and published in 1991, the present volume focuses upon one century alone and does not include separate entries on individual paintings. The new... Full Review
March 23, 2001
Thumbnail
Guy Delmarcel
Harry N. Abrams, 2000. 383 pp.; 350 color ills.; 100 b/w ills. Cloth $100.00 (0810933454)
Guy Delmarcel's recent book is a survey of tapestries produced in what is now Belgium and Northern France from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Flemish Tapestries is a luxuriously illustrated book, including numerous tapestries which have not been reproduced previously. Published almost simultaneously in French, Dutch, and English, the book was financed by the Ministry of Flemish Culture. In contrast to some of his earlier specialized and minutely documented... Full Review
March 21, 2001
Thumbnail
Walter S. Gibson
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 291 pp.; 16 color ills.; 124 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0520216989)
In his new book, Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael, Walter Gibson takes the reader on an extensive wandeling that explores the diverse pleasures the seventeenth-century Dutch took in from images of their own familiar countryside. The book spans from the sixteenth-century "origins" of the "rustic" landscape in Antwerp to late seventeenth-century discussions of the picturesque, but developments associated with Haarlem are central. In the words... Full Review
March 21, 2001
Thumbnail
Peg Zeglin Brand, ed.
Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000. 329 pp.; 52 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0253337267)
A cold, wintry, and grey afternoon in London might not be the best environment to begin thinking about whether and how beauty matters, or about what are the matters that form our definitions of Beauty. However, the eerie bleakness of the weather around me coincided with the need initially to consider one form of reaction to beauty: namely, our differing responses and reactions to nature. This question was considered in Marcia M. Eaton's discussion of "Kantian and Contextual Beauty." When she... Full Review
March 17, 2001
Thumbnail
Sarah Quill
Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000. 206 pp.; 210 color ills.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth (1840146974)
One of the most beautiful books to appear in recent years, this visual feast that is Ruskin's Venice: The Stones Revisited pairs quotations from the three volumes of John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice (New York: Lovell, 1851-53) with Sarah Quill's dazzling photographs of the monuments that Ruskin observed. Every detail is appealing, from the dust jacket—a deftly chosen detail of the marble encrustation on the Ca' Dario that Ruskin would surely have favored—to the marble intarsia... Full Review
March 17, 2001
Thumbnail
James Ayres
Yale University Press, 1998. 280 pp.; 42 color ills.; 302 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (0300075480)
Elizabeth McKellar
Manchester University Press in association with Palgrave Macmillan, 2000. 263 pp.; 59 b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (0719040760)
Two recent works significantly extend our understanding of the architectural history of London and English provincial towns and cities. Elizabeth McKellar's masterful study of the economic and statutory forces that shaped the appearance of London's domestic buildings offers the first major reconsideration of the metropolis since the publication of Sir John Summerson's 1945 Georgian London. James Ayres's overview of the technological innovations and craft traditions that enabled the... Full Review
March 17, 2001
Thumbnail