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

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Adam Herring
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 258 pp.; 61 color ills.; 10 b/w ills. Hardcover $103.00 (9781107094369)
The Inca Empire, its art, architecture, and culture, often serves as a benchmark for scholarly and popular understanding of ancient Andean culture. For better, and often for worse, scholars are reliant upon the records, and therefore the cultural lens, of Spanish conquerors to interpret those they conquered. Each chapter of Art and Vision in the Inca Empire begins with a Spanish author’s observation written about key moments of the encounter at Cajamarca, a northern city far from... Full Review
March 22, 2018
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Joanne Pillsbury, Timothy F. Potts, and Kim N. Richter, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2017. 311 pp.; 428 color ills. Cloth $59.95 (9781606065488)
J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, September 16, 2017–January 28, 2018; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 27–May 28, 2018
This magnificent exhibition and its corresponding catalogue, Golden Kingdoms: Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas, are the product of a dedicated four-year research effort that gathered scholars from Latin America and the United States. The exhibition presents approximately three hundred objects that come from fifty-seven museums in thirteen countries. In addition to the prestige of the Getty and the Met, the worldwide recognition of the conscientious scholarship of... Full Review
March 20, 2018
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Larry F. Norman and Anne Leonard, eds.
Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 2017. 184 pp.; 105 color ills. Paperback $30.00 (9780935573572)
Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, February 16–June 11, 2017
“Our task is not to invent but to continue,” Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres reputedly decreed. The sentiment takes vivid expression in his Apotheosis of Homer of 1827, in the Musée du Louvre. The painting features an immobilized assembly of icons—from Plato to Poussin, from Menander to Mozart—at the foot of the Greek bard, worshipful congregants in the church of classicism. Equating artistic greatness with subservience to ancient precedents, the work advances a vision of classicism... Full Review
March 20, 2018
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Caroline O. Fowler
Studies in Baroque Art (Book 6). Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2017. 178 pp.; 119 color ills. Hardcover €70.00 (9781909400399)
In Drawing and the Senses: An Early Modern History, Caroline Fowler investigates how the printed drawing manual of the early modern period marked an important shift in European artistic pedagogy, not only by making drawing lessons available to a larger audience through the medium of print but by proposing a new course of study that centered upon the representation of the human sensory organs. Thus a page from a 1608 drawing manual by Odoardo Fialetti demonstrated how an artist could... Full Review
March 19, 2018
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Zeynep Çelik
Middle Eastern Studies: Art and Architecture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016. 282 pp.; 12 color ills.; 89 b/w ills. Paperback $27.95 (9781477310618)
Who owns antiquity? Opening with this deceptively simple question, Zeynep Çelik introduces the core project of her complex and wide-ranging book: to investigate the question from the origins of archaeology as an academic discipline in the nineteenth century. A historical perspective on this question then informs its continued invocation in current international debates regarding ownership of antiquities. More than merely passive witnesses of past human achievement or... Full Review
March 19, 2018
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In June 2008, The Rossetti Archive “closed,” although the site remains accessible. What can a “closed” site reveal to scholars today? Much. As digital scholarship gains purchase in the field of art history, we should learn from pioneering projects such as The Rossetti Archive. Edited by literary scholar Jerome McGann, the archive began in 1993 at the moment of public access to the worldwide web and when McGann’s home... Full Review
March 19, 2018
Christopher Reed
Modernist Latitudes. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. 440 pp.; 126 b/w ills. Paperback $35.00 (9780231175753)
From its first pages, Bachelor Japanists: Japanese Aesthetics and Western Masculinities asserts itself as a sophisticated, well-written, insightful, and important contribution to masculinity studies and studies of japonisme and East-West exchange. Christopher Reed guides his reader through a variety of spaces and times, including an examination of the Goncourt brothers and other japonistes in Paris in the late nineteenth century, Ernest Fenollosa and the circle of collectors... Full Review
March 16, 2018
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Lesley Harding and Denise Mimmocchi, eds.
Sydney and Bulleen: Art Gallery of New South Wales in association with Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2017. 216 pp. Cloth $45.00 (9781921330537)
Heide Museum of Modern Art, October 12, 2016–February 19, 2017; Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, March 11–June 11, 2017; Art Gallery of New South Wales, July 1–October 2, 2017.
O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism brought together the American Georgia O’Keeffe and two Australians: Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith. Setting each artist’s work in its own tightly hung space, the curators (and there were many) presented an enticingly simple premise. In unison they stated: Here are three significant Modernists. Their work revealed to us rich similarities in ambition and productive differences in context and technique. Do you see them,... Full Review
March 15, 2018
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Noriko Aso
Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2013. 320 pp.; 33 ills. Paper $27.95 (9780822354291)
The obvious characteristics that distinguished Japan’s modern museums from older indigenous practices are permanent space, comprehensive collections, and a viewing public. While the pivotal research on the state-centric practice of “show and tell” has been conducted by scholars such as Satō Dōshin, Christine Guth, and Alice Tseng, Noriko Aso focuses on the discursive formation of museum-going publics within broader developments of exhibiting institutions. Tellingly, she opens the book with... Full Review
March 15, 2018
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Alexander Alberro, ed.
Writing Art. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2016. 344 pp.; 47 color ills.; 18 b/w ills. Paperback $34.95 (9780262034838)
Working Conditions, the recent volume of Hans Haacke’s collected writings edited by Alexander Alberro, reveals the artist’s preoccupation with a handful of concepts since the late 1960s. Chief among these are the ideological structures that govern a culture’s understanding of art; the mechanisms of the “consciousness industry,” of which the art world is a small but relevant element; and, more specifically, the ways in which governments, corporations, museums, and other institutional... Full Review
March 14, 2018
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