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

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Mexico City: Museo Tamayo, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, March 26–August 16, 2015; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, November 6, 2015–February 15, 2016; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, April 8–May 31, 2016; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, September, 2016–January, 2017
Mexico City-based Belgian artist Francis Alÿs has long been interested in socio-political issues stemming from territory and displacement within marginalized communities, as witnessed through the vestiges of immigration, natural disasters, and warfare. Thus, it is no surprise that these themes feature prominently in three projects in his major solo exhibition, A Story of Negotiation, curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina and beautifully displayed at the Museo Tamayo. Installed in three... Full Review
June 16, 2016
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New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY, May 1–September 27, 2015
Organized around twenty-three chapters, each of which takes its name from the title of an artwork included in that section, America Is Hard to See, the inaugural exhibition in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building, jettisoned a purely chronological or conventional art-movement “ism” organizational structure in favor of a thematic one. The result challenged traditional (one might say, outmoded) categories of art history and created unexpected juxtapositions that pushed... Full Review
June 9, 2016
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Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, March 21, 2015–October 25, 2015
Nestled in a small gallery in the Ahmanson Building of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and timed to coincide with the museum’s fiftieth anniversary, From the Archives: Art and Technology at LACMA, 1967–1971 offers viewers new insights into one of the institution’s most legendary curatorial endeavors. Organized by Associate Curator Jennifer King, From the Archives draws from various institutional holdings in order to reflect on how, by linking the visual arts to an... Full Review
June 9, 2016
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Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin
, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015. 368 pp.; 164 color ills. Paper $45.00 (9781606064405)
Exhibition schedule: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, March 14–June 21, 2015; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, July 28–November 1, 2015; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, December 13, 2015–March 24, 2016
Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, curated by Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin, opens with an empty limestone base from Corinth featuring cuttings for the feet of a bronze figure and inscribed “Lysippos made [this].” In his Natural History (34.37), Pliny credits Lysippos with creating 1,500 bronze statues, none of which have survived. The base serves as a stark reminder of how few large-scale bronze sculptures remain today while also presaging themes... Full Review
June 2, 2016
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Palm Springs: Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, March 14–July 26, 2015
The experience of seeing Andrea Zittel’s recent exhibition at the newly opened Architecture and Design Center at the Palm Springs Art Museum is probably somewhat unusual given what many of us have come to expect of contemporary art shows in prominent art-world epicenters. The space, for one thing, is a repurposed bank originally designed in 1961 by the beloved local architect E. Stewart Williams, and its recent renovation by the Los Angeles-based firm Marmol Radziner leaves intact such... Full Review
May 26, 2016
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Michael A. Brown and Niria E. Leyva-Guttíerrez
Exh. cat. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Art, 2015. 45 pp.; 32 color ills. Paper $19.95 (9780937108520)
Exhibition schedule: San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, March 28–June 30, 2015
Divine Desire: Printmaking, Mythology, and the Birth of the Baroque at the San Diego Museum of Art was an exhibition of over seventy late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Netherlandish engraved prints, mostly by Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617), his pupil and stepson Jacob Matham (1571–1631), and student Jan Pietersz Saenredam (1565–1607). The subject matter of the prints is predominantly mythological and secular, apart from a series on the virtues and vices. In selecting this... Full Review
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Okwui Enwezor, ed.
Exh. cat. 2 volumes. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2015. 1054 pp. Paper $130.00 (978883172128)
Exhibition schedule: Venice, May 9—November 22, 2015
Picturing the World: Painting at the 56th Venice Biennale Plenty has already been written about the daily recitations of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital at the 56th Venice Biennale, a gesture that served to recapitulate our nervous twitching about art and money. Across the grand swath of global art on display, there were indeed many compelling moments pointing to capitalism as the hoary culprit in our world of excess and inequity. Typically, at the heart of such claims in relation to... Full Review
May 18, 2016
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Okwui Enwezor, ed.
Exh. cat. 2 volumes. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2015. 1054 pp. Paper $130.00 (978883172128)
Exhibition schedule: Venice, May 9—November 22, 2015
Environmental Art at the 56th Venice Biennale The 2015 Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor, focuses on the unpredictability and volatility of our historical moment, or what in another context Ulrich Beck calls the “risk society” (Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, London: Sage, 1992). As Michelle Kuo explains in an interview with Enwezor: “That is when the unintended side effects of modernization—technological, ecological—seem to be overwhelming the... Full Review
May 18, 2016
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Okwui Enwezor, ed.
Exh. cat. 2 volumes. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2015. 1054 pp. Paper $130.00 (978883172128)
Exhibition schedule: Venice, May 9—November 22, 2015
Okwui Enwezor’s 2015 edition of la Biennale di Venezia, All the World’s Futures, opened with a somber installation on the facade of the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. At its summit, the striking words of Glenn Ligon’s neon marquee—“blues blood bruise”—announced themes of violence, suffering, death, and sorrow, as well as the role of music as a medium of collective resistance and power. Just below this sign, viewers confronted the Colombian artist Oscar Murillo’s series of black,... Full Review
May 18, 2016
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Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 20–June 28, 2015
William Pope.L: Trinket at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), opened shortly after thousands took to the streets in protest of the Staten Island grand jury’s failure to convict the New York Police Department officer charged with Eric Garner’s death. While heightened media coverage of this and other social injustices resulting from racially motivated aggressions may have weighed heavily on those visiting the exhibition, it is unlikely that viewers would find aesthetic... Full Review
May 12, 2016
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