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

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Alejandro Anreus
A Ver: Revisioning Art History, Volume 10. Minneapolis and Los Angeles: University of Minnesota Press and UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2014. 156 pp.; 82 color ills. Paper $29.95 (9780895511522)
As the bounds of American art history edge into new territories, encroaching, for example, upon the fields of modernist and contemporary art, the discipline is also rekindling itself from within, sparked by its engagements with the once shadow presences of African, Asian, Latin, and Native visual traditions. The elasticity of “American” art today, buoyed by this transnational recognizance, appears already propitious for emergent histories of Latino art, long neglected and too often... Full Review
August 4, 2016
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Ian McLean, ed.
Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. 380 pp.; 67 b/w ills. Cloth £ 52.99 (9781443867436)
The situations debated and analyzed in Double Desire: Transculturation and Indigenous Contemporary Art, edited by Ian McLean, were familiar to me. I was scheduled to give a paper at the 2013 International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) in Sydney on a white South African artist whose work comes from a genealogy of European/American minimalism and abstraction. After some discussion it was decided that my paper should be moved from the panel on experimental art to the panel for Latin... Full Review
July 28, 2016
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Laura M. Giles, Lia Markey, and Claire Van Cleave
Exh. cat. Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum, 2014. 364 pp.; 370 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300149326)
Exhibition schedule: Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, January 25–May 11, 2014; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Stanford, May 22–August 24, 2015
The tradition of university art museums forming excellent collections, which began in Europe with the Ashmolean and Fitzwilliam in England and Erlangen University in Germany, has flourished in the United States. Second only to the Harvard Art Museums, the Princeton collection of Italian drawings is of great importance, and in many respects is better than the majority of important civic museums. It includes some outstanding Renaissance drawings by Carpaccio, Michelangelo, Parmigianino, and... Full Review
July 28, 2016
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Nancy Hoffman, Frank Verputten, and Robbert Roos
Exh. cat. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers, 2012. 144 pp.; 76 color ills. Paper $35.00 (9789460222115)
Exhibition schedule: Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, Netherlands, May 25–August 26, 2012
The eponymous catalogue to the exhibition Who More Sci-fi Than Us?: Contemporary Art from the Caribbean aims to examine the complexity of Caribbean art through the metaphor of science fiction. Curator of the exhibition and co-founding director until 2011 of the Instituto Buena Bista, Curacao Center for Contemporary Art in the Dutch Caribbean, Nancy Hoffman writes in the introduction that the logic of the Caribbean is perfectly captured in Junot Díaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of... Full Review
July 21, 2016
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Valérie Rousseau
Exh. cat. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2015. 136 pp.; 83 color ills.; 17 b/w ills. Cloth $30.00 (9780912161242)
Exhibition schedule: American Folk Art Museum, New York, New York, March 26–July 5, 2015
In the American Folk Art Museum’s exhibition catalogue When the Curtain Never Comes Down: Performance Art and the Alter Ego, curator Valérie Rousseau highlights the creative expressions and artistic practices of twenty-six individuals and one religious community. With selections that span the late nineteenth century to the present, Rousseau succeeds in opening new discussions on objects and related performative actions of artists referred to as “self-taught” and “art brut.” A... Full Review
July 21, 2016
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Naomi Beckwith, Donatien Grau, and Jennifer Higgie
New York: Prestel, 2014. 136 pp.; 75 color ills. Cloth $39.95 (9783791349671)
A casual perusal of the monograph Lynette Yiadom-Boakye quickly establishes—in its ratio of image to text—the main objective of the book to be a celebration of the artist’s oeuvre rather than a critical engagement with it. Of the 136 pages in the slim, attractive volume, the substantive text amounts to less than fifty pages while more than fifty-five leaves are devoted to beautifully designed, full-page color reproductions, most of them featuring a single image of Yiadom-Boakye’s... Full Review
July 21, 2016
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William S. Rodner
Leiden: Brill, 2012. 240 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $128.00 (9789004220393)
In Edwardian London through Japanese Eyes: The Art and Writings of Yoshio Markino, 1897–1915, William S. Rodner presents the first scholarly monograph in English on Yoshio Makino (or “Markino,” as the artist romanized the spelling of his family name). There have been a few publications and exhibitions in Japan on this once popular illustrator in early twentieth-century London, but it is in Rodner’s book that one finds a detailed and engaging account of Markino’s most productive years... Full Review
July 14, 2016
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Eva Díaz
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 256 pp.; 20 color ills.; 58 b/w ills. Cloth $40.00 (9780226067988)
Art historian Eva Díaz’s The Experimenters: Chance and Design at Black Mountain College is a tightly focused examination of the activities of Josef Albers, John Cage, and R. Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. As Mary Emma Harris argues in her foundational history, The Arts at Black Mountain College (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987), experimentation was integral to Black Mountain College’s pedagogical vision, and... Full Review
July 7, 2016
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J. J. Pollitt, ed.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 500 pp.; 140 color ills.; 237 b/w ills. Cloth $250.00 (9780521865913)
This substantial and important volume, edited by J. J. Pollitt, offers a comprehensive and updated survey of the evidence for mural and panel painting in the ancient Mediterranean, from the Aegean Bronze Age to Late Antiquity. The range of material under analysis is quite inclusive: the authors evaluate how a variety of painted media might have related to larger-scale or “free” painting, which in certain periods might be considered a “lost art” (see chapter 2). Those most familiar with the... Full Review
July 7, 2016
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Sumathi Ramaswamy
Durham: Duke University, 2015.
The allure of some of the most inspiring digital projects resides in their ability to recreate sites that are now lost to us, by reconstructing, for example, the now dismantled buildings and urban spaces of ancient Rome or the halls of Egyptian temples. Other projects are admired for the opposite capacity to invoke impossible worlds that never existed, bringing dispersed or even lost works of art together in virtual exhibitions, or positing material relationships that can only be imagined... Full Review
June 30, 2016
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