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

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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, August 14–December 6, 2015
It is safe to assume that museumgoers in San Francisco, home to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), are as up on new technology as any public, and that the Bay Area’s traditionally progressive inhabitants are invested in balancing commercial profit and social justice. Yet as the exhibition Earth Machines quickly reveals, the local Silicon Valley high-tech industry propels a cycle of innovation and consumption that threatens to outstrip our ability to understand and manage its... Full Review
July 14, 2016
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Billy Apple
Exh. cat. Auckland, NZ: Auckland Art Gallery, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, NZ, March 14–June 21, 2015
Featuring work from 1960 through the present, Billy Apple®: The Artist Has to Live Like Everybody Else was one of the most significant survey exhibitions ever accorded a living New Zealand artist. Staged in the country’s largest public art museum, it gave institutional and public recognition to an extraordinarily complex and comprehensive individual practice, and demonstrated the importance of a Pop-Conceptualism nexus to the recent history of New Zealand art. The title of the... Full Review
July 14, 2016
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Mary Morton and George Shackelford, eds.
Exh. cat. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 284 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780226263557)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, June 28–October 4, 2015; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, November 8, 2015–February 14, 2016
Co-organized by the National Gallery of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum, Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye presents fifty canvases produced during the period when the artist was most directly engaged with the Impressionist group, between 1875 and the early 1880s. These were the years, according to curators Mary Morton and George Shackelford, when Gustave Caillebotte was at his best—when he was still living in Paris and closely connected with artists like Auguste Renoir and Edgar... Full Review
July 14, 2016
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Michael Rooks, ed.
Exh. cat. Atlanta: High Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2015. 176 pp.; 100 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300215717)
Exhibition schedule: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, June 21–September 6, 2015; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, October 16, 2015–January 31, 2016
Alex Katz, This Is Now offers a refreshing look at Katz’s landscapes, which, as the exhibition clearly demonstrates, have occupied the artist throughout his career. Those primarily familiar with Katz’s figurative work and portraiture, subjects for which he is arguably best known, discover another, important aspect of Katz’s oeuvre, one that does not entirely leave the figures behind, while those already knowledgeable about his landscapes enjoy compelling compositions and provocative... Full Review
July 7, 2016
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Sylvie Patry, ed.
Exh. cat. Philadelphia, London, and Paris: Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Gallery, London, and Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais, 2015. 304 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth (9780876332610)
Exhibition schedule: Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, October 9, 2014–February 8, 2015; National Gallery, London, March 4–May 31, 2015; Philadelphia Museum of Art, June 24–September 13, 2015
Visitors to the exhibition Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art were funneled through a darkened passageway bordered by two fictive windows through which one glimpsed large archival photographs of two of Paul Durand-Ruel’s major galleries. On the left was his Paris establishment from 1869 until 1882 at 16 rue Laffitte, while on the right was his first New York branch on Fifth Avenue, opened in 1887, and a testament to... Full Review
June 30, 2016
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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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