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

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Marianne Mathieu and Dominique Lobstein, eds.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 192 pp.; 85 color ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780300210880)
As part of the celebrations attending its eightieth anniversary, the Musée Marmottan Monet organized an exhibition of its namesake’s famous work Impression, soleil levant (Impression: Sunrise, 1872). The painting has long been considered the jewel in the crown of the museum’s collection, and the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue offer an opportunity to present new research on this well-studied picture. Readers familiar with the extensive literature may wonder whether... Full Review
November 27, 2015
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Marian H. Feldman
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 264 pp.; 20 color ills.; 41 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (9780226105611)
Although the Iron Age (circa 1200 to 600 BCE) Levant (a zone covering territory in present-day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan) is not familiar ground for most art historians, Marian H. Feldman’s masterful book Communities of Style: Portable Luxury Arts, Identity, and Collective Memory in the Iron Age Levant will draw diverse readers into its dynamic world aswirl with social networks and enchanting objects. Feldman focuses on the ninth to seventh centuries BCE in the Levant,... Full Review
November 27, 2015
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Katherine Roeder
Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2014. 240 pp.; 81 ills. Cloth $60.00 (9781617039607)
Katherine Roeder’s new monograph on Winsor McCay nicely bridges the divide between the sometimes insular scholarship on comic art and the broader field of what I have taken to calling visual modernities. Expanding beyond the fine arts, visual modernities includes animation, comics, early film, poster art, photography, and everyday design, all of which emerged as the vernacular face of twentieth-century visual and media modernization. In Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and... Full Review
November 19, 2015
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Donald J. Cosentino, ed.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Fowler Museum at UCLA, 2013. 196 pp.; 166  color ills.; 16 b/w ills. Paper $30.00 (9780984755004)
Exhibition schedule: Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, September 16, 2012–January 20, 2013; Musées de la civilisation, Québec City, November 6, 2013–August 31, 2014
The exhibition In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st-Century Haitian Art featured thirty-four artists, most of whom live in Haiti, and, according to the accompanying exhibition catalogue, over “70 of their paintings, prints, sculptures, installations and mixed-media pieces drawn mainly from loans as well as the museum’s holdings” (8) representing a richer and complex set of cultural and spiritual histories. The well-illustrated catalogue, edited by Donald J. Cosentino (professor emeritus... Full Review
November 19, 2015
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Douglas N. Dow
Visual Culture in Early Modernity.. Burlington: Ashgate, 2014. 240 pp.; 5 color ills.; 80 b/w ills. Cloth $104.95 (9781409440543)
Douglas N. Dow’s Apostolic Iconography and Florentine Confraternities in the Age of Reform is a welcome contribution to scholarly literature on the under-researched topic of the relationships between Florentine art, devotion, and religious reform in the last two decades of the sixteenth century. As Dow observes on the first page of his introduction, the works, authors, and patrons that he examines have not simply been largely overlooked; they seem actively to have been avoided by... Full Review
November 12, 2015
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Sarah Patricia Hill and Giuliana Minghelli, eds.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. 400 pp.; 8 color ills.; 133 b/w ills. Cloth $80.00 ( 9781442649330)
Sarah Patricia Hill and Giuliana Minghelli’s edited volume, Stillness in Motion: Italy, Photography, and the Meanings of Modernity, is the latest contribution to a growing body of English-language scholarship on photography in Italy. As Hill and Minghelli state in their introduction to the volume, their goal is to reveal something of “the current global culture of the image” (4) within the triangulation of Italian identity, photography, and modernity. Although not intended as a... Full Review
November 5, 2015
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John Marciari and Suzanne Boorsch
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery in association with Yale University Press, 2013. 256 pp.; 194 color ills.; 13 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300135480)
Exhibition schedule: Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, September 27, 2013–January 5, 2014
Francesco Vanni (1563/64–1610), the leading Sienese painter at the turn of the seventeenth century, was an innovative religious iconographer, a gifted draftsman, and an occasional printmaker. Despite his considerable accomplishments, he has never been the sole subject of a full monograph or exhibition—until now. Inspired by Yale University Art Gallery’s acquisition in 2003 of Vanni’s Madonna della Pappa painting (ca. 1599), the exhibition appeared only in New Haven. The accompanying... Full Review
October 29, 2015
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Francisco de Hollanda and Alice Sedgwick Wohl
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013. 312 pp.; 10 b/w ills.; 10 ills. Cloth $39.95 (9780271059662)
Francisco de Hollanda (1517–84) begins Da Pintura Antigua (1548) by closely paraphrasing Vitruvius’s introduction to book 6 of De Architectura, in which the Roman author notes that the best preparation for the whims of Fortuna is knowledge—both education and the mastery of one’s profession. Hollanda’s knowledge of the theory and practice of art, however, seems to have offered him little protection from a poor critical fortune. After his work was finally published in the... Full Review
October 29, 2015
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Craig Campbell
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 288 pp.; 19 b/w ills. Paper $27.00 (9780816681068)
In Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Roland Barthes famously refused to reprint what he referred to as the Winter Garden photograph of his mother as a child, but he reflected on its meaning and details extensively (Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard, New York: Hill and Wang, 1981). In Agitating Images: Photography Against History in Indigenous Siberia, Craig Campbell reverses this strategy, presenting many photographs and... Full Review
October 22, 2015
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David Bindman
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. 220 pp.; 30 color ills.; 30 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9780300197891)
From the outset, David Bindman makes it clear that Warm Flesh, Cold Marble: Canova, Thorvaldsen, and Their Critics is about the use and abuse of Immanuel Kant in interpretations of sculpture. In his preface, he states that the book constitutes a defense of a “discrete” Kantianism. He argues that Kant’s ideas circulated and trickled down, pervading theoretical aesthetics and artists’ discourses—but that the ideas were transformed in the process. Bindman’s convincing claim is that a... Full Review
October 22, 2015
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