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

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Stephanie Schrader, ed.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018. 160 pp.; 138 color ills. Cloth $39.95 (9781606065525)
Getty Center, Los Angeles, March 13–June 24, 2018

Imagine an art history of either South Asia or Europe where Bichitr (active circa 1615–50) and Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–69) share the same discursive space. The cover of Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India provokes us to envision precisely that: an art history where a painting and a drawing of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan by two contemporaneous artists—one from South Asia and the other from Europe—can coevally reside alongside each other. In a way, the cover functions... Full Review

September 27, 2019
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Celeste-Marie Bernier
Oakland: University of California Press, 2019. 344 pp.; 99 color ills. Cloth $85.00 (9780520286535)

This welcome new volume surveys some fifty diaspora artists working in the United States and United Kingdom and more than 150 of their works. It elaborates the author’s larger project of developing a critical bibliography that alights on both contexts and, in so doing, seeks to articulate a working “Black lexicon of liberation,” primarily by drawing on the words of (and well-chosen objects by) the artists in question. In this sense, Stick to the Skin occupies a place somewhere... Full Review

September 25, 2019
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Alpesh Kantilal Patel
Rethinking Art's Histories. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2017. 272 pp. Cloth £80.00 (9781784992545)

Rethinking Art’s Histories, the Manchester University Press publication series launched in 2010, carries a substantial catalog of unconventional and experimental scholarship that breaks away from period- and geography-centered approaches to art history. Alpesh Kantilal Patel’s Productive Failure: Writing Queer Transnational South Asian Art Histories is a valuable contribution to this growing body of literature that attempts to expand the parameters of art history and its constituent... Full Review

September 24, 2019
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Tom Cubbin
Cultural Histories of Design. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2018. 248 pp.; 48 b/w ills. Cloth $114.00 (9781350021990)

In the 1960s the Soviet government undertook a series of political liberalizations leading to a brief period of economic growth, relative intellectual freedom, and improved standards of living. This was Khrushchev’s “Thaw,” a time infused with excitement about the imminent completion of the “construction of communism,” paired with the even more audacious “creative transformation of the world” (Petr Vail and Aleksandr Genis, 60e: Mir Sovetskogo cheloveka, as cited in Cubbin,... Full Review

September 18, 2019
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Tanya Sheehan
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2018. 216 pp.; 80 color ills.; 12 b/w ills. Cloth $49.95 (9780271081106)

In her compelling social history of photography, Study in Black and White: Photography, Race, Humor, Tanya Sheehan reaches beyond photographs and photographers to examine humor books, minstrel shows, satirical illustrations, advertising, and print culture to reveal the ways that early photographic discourses using humor constructed concepts of race and photographic practice. Across five chapters of case studies, Sheehan demonstrates how written, performed, and sketched humor... Full Review

September 17, 2019
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Lonnie G. Bunch III
Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2019. 288 pp.; 20 ills. Cloth $29.95 (9781588346681)

“I wanted a museum that was a tool to help people find a useful and useable history that would enable them to become better citizens; a museum that would explore and wrestle with issues of today and tomorrow as well as yesterday,” writes Lonnie G. Bunch III in A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of... Full Review

September 12, 2019
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Henry Glassie and Pravina Shukla
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017. 540 pp.; 450 color ills. Cloth $48.00 (9780253032058)

In Sacred Art: Catholic Saints and Candomblé Gods in Modern Brazil, Henry Glassie and Pravina Shukla explore Brazilian religious-themed art rooted in European- and African-based faiths. The authors limit their study to the northeastern states of Bahia and Pernambuco, where “Native, European, and African cultures first fused into something new and Brazilian” (2). Their examination demonstrates that artists continue to draw inspiration from both the European- and African-originated... Full Review

September 10, 2019
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François Brunet
Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2017. 400 pp.; 33 b/w ills. Paper €27.00 (9782130654322)

Editor’s note: François Brunet, the author of the book under review, passed away unexpectedly on December 25, 2018. Didier Aubert, Brunet’s first doctoral student, wrote this review and commemoration. While caa.reviews upholds firm conflict of interest guidelines that prevent the commissioning of reviews where there might be a personal or professional connection between reviewer and reviewee, here we made an exception in order to acknowledge Brunet’s significant... Full Review

September 6, 2019
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Henk van Nierop
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018. 452 pp.; 123 b/w ills. Cloth €99.00 (9789462981386)

Two themes dominate this premier biography of the Dutch Golden Age celebrity Romeyn de Hooghe: art and ambition. De Hooghe was a prolific and successful graphic artist who produced a wide and diverse array of etchings, engravings, prints, paintings, sculptures, and emblem books and medals, many of whose images are virtually synonymous with the culture of the late Golden Age and can be found in nearly every textbook on the subject. Such were De Hooghe’s skills that the stadtholder-king... Full Review

September 5, 2019
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Andrew H. Chen
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018. 325 pp.; 13 color ills.; 66 b/w ills. Cloth $115.00 (9789462984684)

Flagellant sodalities originated in 1260 following the tumultuous processions of self-scourging lay penitents who, enflamed by the charismatic Fra Raniero Fasani of Perugia, beseeched God for peace and mercy. Their number significantly increased throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as flagellation became a structured lay male ritual enacted in both private confraternal spaces and public processions. From the later quattrocento, flagellation in large part was no longer a... Full Review

September 4, 2019
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