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

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Giovanni Ciappelli and Patricia Lee Rubin, eds.
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 316 pp.; some b/w ills. Cloth $90.00 (0521643007)
This is a valuable book for both historians and art historians concerned with Renaissance Florence. It boasts the intriguing topic, "Art, Memory, and Family," and contains scholarly essays from leading historians and art historians in their respective fields. As discussed by the art historian Patricia Lee Rubin in the book's preface, the essays originated in a symposium held at the National Gallery in London in 1996. Although some of the conference papers have since appeared elsewhere in... Full Review
July 16, 2001
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Amy Newman
New York: SOHO Press, 2000. 560 pp. Cloth $42.00 (1569472076)
The text that comprises Challenging Art: Artforum 1962–1974 is, to borrow from Roland Barthes (writing around the time Artforum became an established art-world institution), not “a line of words releasing a single ‘theological’ meaning,” but rather “a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture.”[1] Consisting of fragments of interviews woven together to produce a narrative that chronicles the first twelve years of Artforum’s publication,... Full Review
July 12, 2001
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Keith Moxey
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001. 146 pp.; 7 b/w ills. Paper $15.95 (0801486750)
In his previous book, The Practice of Theory: Poststructuralism, Cultural Politics and Art History, Keith Moxey called on art historians to abandon their quest for objectivity and instead foreground the precepts of critical theory. Its sequel, The Practice of Persuasion: Paradox & Power in Art History, considers what such an approach means for the discipline of art history. Moxey rejects what he perceives as the nostalgia for order and tradition in the current reaction against... Full Review
July 10, 2001
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E. Bowron and Joseph Rychel, eds.
Philadelphia: Merrell Holberton Publishers in association with Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000. 624 pp.; 200 color ills.; 300 b/w ills. Paper $70.00 (0876331363)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, March 16-May 28, 2000; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, June 25-September 17, 2000
"Rome is the most glorious place in the Universal World"—this was how the twenty-six-year-old Scottish architect Robert Adam described his reaction to the city on his arrival in 1755. Both Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century and the exhibition it was created to accompany are lavish, vivid demonstrations of that assertion. The catalogue, however, is much more; it combines illustration of the exhibition—called The Splendor of 18th-Century Rome and held at the Philadelphia Museum... Full Review
July 9, 2001
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Jonathan Gilmore
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000. 157 pp.; 31 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (0801436958)
Jonathan Gilmore's The Life of Style: Beginnings and Endings in the Narrative History of Art resuscitates an internalist history of artistic style, an earlier notion of style that endeavored to explain perceptible shifts in artistic production. This notion, however, has long since fallen out of favor. Following Pliny, Vasari, Winckelmann, Wölfflin, Riegl, and Focillon, Gilmore understands "internal" to be the organic development of style: it begins (is born), develops (blooms), and... Full Review
July 6, 2001
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Antonio Natali, ed.
Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 1999. 128 pp.; 70 color ills.; 25 b/w ills. Cloth (8882151735)
When a bomb exploded outside the Galleria degli Uffizi in 1993, damaging the west wing, several painting galleries and their contents were affected, requiring restoration. The room that had been hung with paintings by Federico Barocci and contemporary Venetians was among those closed for repairs. During its closure, a plan was implemented to reorganize the gallery around the theme of the Catholic Reformation. Barocci’s Madonna del Popolo now serves as the focus, and is accompanied by... Full Review
July 5, 2001
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John Lowden
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. 360 pp.; 27 color ills.; 117 b/w ills. Cloth $85.00 (0271019093)
John Lowden's ambitious new study of the most opulent and complex manuscripts produced during the High Middle Ages is a brilliant, ground-breaking work. For the reader who has been engaged in any way with moralized Bibles, a careful reading of this detailed and densely argued text will be rewarded with an array of major revisions touching almost every aspect of the existing scholarship. Centered on issues of the production and consumption of the Bibles Moralisées, Lowden's two... Full Review
July 5, 2001
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Gregory C. Randall
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. 264 pp.; 63 b/w ills. Cloth $42.50 (0801862078)
Among the chief protagonists of William H. Whyte's 1956 Organization Man is the village of Park Forest. Planned in 1946 and built in stages over the next decade, Whyte framed the new "package suburb" thirty miles south of Chicago as the natural habitat for a new "social ethic" that was transforming the country. Increasing numbers of young, white, mobile, and seemingly middle-class families were creating new patterns of interpersonal adjustment, domestic privacy, civic participation,... Full Review
June 27, 2001
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Richard Shiff, Robert Storr, and Arthur C. Danto, eds.
Phaidon, 2000. 332 pp.; 200 color ills.; 30 b/w ills. Cloth $69.95 (0714838195)
With Robert Mangold, I enjoyed thinking about what autonomous art might entail. Beyond the routine social constructionist dismissals of this possibility, it obligates considerations more complex than an "Against Interpretation" kind of appeal to raw experience. With their internal sequences rooted in physical reality and construction details, Mangold’s paintings provide objective criteria by which to evaluate them. These criteria count for more than any individual interpretation of... Full Review
June 22, 2001
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Susan Sidlauskas
Cambridge University Press, 2000. 230 pp.; 8 color ills.; 56 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0521770246)
In the introduction to Body, Place, and Self in Nineteenth-Century Painting, Susan Sidlauskas asks the following question about the four paintings she examines in her book: "What material and theoretical conditions—of making and spectatorship—made these works possible?" (2). This is an important query, and not just because it acknowledges both the artist’s and the beholder’s share in the production of meaning. What Sidlauskas suggests is that the work of art history ought to... Full Review
June 22, 2001
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