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

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Diana Bullen Presciutti
Visual Culture in Early Modernity. New York: Routledge, 2015. 284 pp.; 8 color ills.; 115 b/w ills. Hardcover $112.00 (9781472457653)
Diana Bullen Presciutti’s Visual Cultures of Foundling Care in Renaissance Italy is a sharply focused look at the figurative imagery deployed by hospitals caring for orphaned and abandoned children. Hospitals in Renaissance Italy have long been a subject of research: John Henderson’s The Renaissance Hospital: Healing the Body and Healing the Soul (2006) is a recent example of broad treatment, and Il mercante, l’ospedale, i fanciulli: La donazione di Francesco Datini, Santa... Full Review
December 6, 2018
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Sonal Khullar
Oakland: University of California Press, 2015. 368 pp.; 84 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780520283671)
In her innovative and elegant book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, Sonal Khullar reconstitutes the history of modernism in India as nimble artistic negotiations between present and past, East and West, crafts and fine arts, and individual and nation. Through Edward Said’s notion of “affiliation,” she pushes the history of art worlds beyond the bounds of the nation-state, education, or media to revive “the worldly... Full Review
December 4, 2018
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Nnamdi Elleh
New York: Routledge, 2017. 350 pp.; 214 b/w ills. Hardcover $165.00 (9781472465290)
Abuja, Nigeria—the capital city of Africa’s most populous nation—was master planned from the ground up in the last forty years in the shadow of a gigantic rock outcrop (Aso Rock) near the geographic center of the country. Other than these scant details, few in or outside of Nigeria know much else about what is one of the continent’s most powerful cities. Nnamdi Elleh has begun to address this long-overlooked space, in this work on the city’s architecture. The result is a... Full Review
December 3, 2018
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James E. Young
Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018. 256 pp.; 115 color ills. $29.95 (9781625343611)
Over the past thirty years, James E. Young, who recently retired from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has studied and written on modern memorial art, most notably that devoted to the Holocaust. For much of his career, he held a joint appointment in English and Judaic studies at that university, and also served as the founding director of its Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. Over this time, Young has become a significant scholar in each of these fields. In... Full Review
November 30, 2018
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Surekha Davies
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 380 pp.; 60 b/w ills. Cloth £ 21.99 (9781107036673)
During the Renaissance, illustrated maps became important epistemological tools for Europeans seeking information about the inhabitants of the Americas. Surekha Davies’s Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters considers the relationship between a variety of written and illustrated sources (travel accounts, costume books, encyclopedias, and prints) and maps. The book demonstrates how the latter visually synthesized—in one... Full Review
November 29, 2018
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Deborah Willis and Natasha L. Logan, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Aperture, 2015. 268 pp.; 280 color ills. Paperback $29.95 (9781597113359)
Brooklyn Museum, New York, January 13–July 15, 2012
The questions that black males are asked each day by white America (or world consumers of blackness) are often debilitating in their reduction of our complex capacities and our ideologically inspired identities: questions that only scratch at the surface of a humanity forged by the depth of our roots, struggle, and emergent culture. These questions do not sincerely ask but seek to define the very nature of who we are. But, the questions that black males ask other black males are questions... Full Review
November 28, 2018
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Elizabeth Morán
Latin American Studies: Art and Visual Studies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016. 156 pp.; 27 b/w ills. Paperback $24.95 (9781477310694)
Elizabeth Morán’s Sacred Consumption is a study of the place of food in Aztec ritual. The foods examined by Morán were ephemeral, and the performances that characterized ceremonial life in Tenochtitlan and its provinces are similarly elusive in the archaeological record. Fortunately for scholars, indigenous artists, often directed by European friar missionaries, created manuscript paintings that represent elements of Aztec ritual. These illuminated books constitute the primary... Full Review
November 27, 2018
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Jane Chin Davidson and Sandra Esslinger, eds.
London: Routledge, 2017. 196 pp.; 20 color ills. Cloth $149.95 (9781138656826)
In the edited volume Global and World Art in the Practice of the University Museum, scholars Jane Chin Davidson and Sandra Esslinger share several essays that trace the role of university museums in developing new ways of thinking about art within a larger, global context. This framework acknowledges the complexity of contemporary geopolitical and social interfaces and how these affect the production and reception of works of art. Occasioned by the fiftieth anniversary of the Fowler... Full Review
November 21, 2018
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Thomas Golsenne
Collection Art & Société. Rennes, France: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2017. 275 pp. Cloth € 35.00 (9782753552531)
Giorgio Vasari’s 1550 magnum opus, the Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, created a very specific and biased account of the development of art in the early modern period. Artists such as Carlo Crivelli were decidedly absent. It has been the work of twentieth- and twenty-first-century historians to recuperate and reframe artists like Crivelli.Developed over the course of fifteen years, Thomas Golsenne’s erudite treatment of Crivelli’s oeuvre makes... Full Review
November 21, 2018
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Rabun Taylor, Katherine Wentworth Rinne, and Spiro Kostof
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 432 pp.; 220 b/w ills. Hardcover $120.00 (9781107013995)
A long tradition of scholarship extending back to antiquity praises the surviving monuments in Rome despite their evident alterations. Even the city’s basic infrastructure has received careful attention, since such features as the urban walls originally made for Emperor Aurelian continue to fascinate. In the sixth century CE, Cassiodorus celebrated the still functioning sewers built centuries earlier, remarking: “Rome, what cities would dare contend with you in their heights when they... Full Review
November 20, 2018
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