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Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

Susan Tumarkin Goodman and Kenneth E. Silver
Exh. cat. New York and New Haven: Jewish Museum and Yale University Press, 2013. 148 pp.; 72 color ills.; 27 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300187342)

Exhibition schedule: Jewish Museum, New York, September 15, 2013–February 2, 2014

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April 10, 2014

The fourth exhibition dedicated to the work of Marc Chagall and mounted by the Jewish Museum since 1965 (with the three most recent—in 1996, 2001, and 2008—also organized by senior curator Susan Tumarkin Goodman), Chagall: Love, War, and Exile trained a specific focus on the artist’s work in France during the run-up to World War II and the difficult war years he spent in New York. The show was organized into four sections, “Time is...

Jeffrey Howe, ed.
Exh. cat. Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 2013. 140 pp.; 35 color ills.; 25 b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (9781892850218)

Exhibition schedule: McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Boston, September 1–December 8, 2013

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April 4, 2014

Disdain for Belgium is so commonplace in Paris that the very mention of “les belges” can cause a smirk. A small but ambitious exhibition at Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art demonstrated that, far from sharing this prejudice, Gustave Courbet had an attachment to Belgium, where his work was admired and imitated. In 1866, the painter wrote to the Belgian merchant Arthur Stevens: “I consider Belgium my country” (quoted in the exhibition catalogue, 11). He...

Corinne Bélier, Barry Bergdol, and Marc Le Cœur, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2013. 232 pp.; 225 color ills. Cloth $55.00 (9780870708398)

Exhibition schedule: Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, Paris, October 11, 2012–January 7, 2013; Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 10–June 24, 2013

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April 4, 2014

A celebrated protagonist of nineteenth-century French architecture, Henri Labrouste (1801–1875) has been rigorously reappraised by subsequent generations of architects and architectural historians. In the mid-twentieth century, architectural historian and critic Sigfried Giedion likened Labrouste’s application of exposed cast iron in the interiors of his two Parisian libraries, the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (1838–50) and the Bibliothèque nationale (1854–75), to such industrial marvels of the nineteenth century as exhibition halls and train sheds, arguing that the industrial aspects...

Michael Govan and Christine Y. Kim
Munich and Los Angeles: DelMonico and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2013. 304 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $75.00 (9783791352633)

Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, May 26, 2013–April 6, 2014; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 9–September 22, 2013; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, June 21–September 25, 2013

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March 20, 2014

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s (LACMA) nearly yearlong James Turrell: A Retrospective opened concurrently with two other major exhibitions of the artist’s work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Initially conceived independently by the three institutions, these exhibitions were aligned more to strengthen the visibility of Turrell’s work than to present a coordinated account of it. The MFAH show was first imagined...

Jessica Morgan and Ulrich Lehmann
Exh. cat. New York: Kiito-San, 2013. 650 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. Paper $40.00 (9780984721047)

Exhibition schedule: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, April 21–August 19, 2013

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March 7, 2014

For keen-eyed visitors, the exhibition URS FISCHER, mounted at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), last summer, began at the ticket booth located on the museum’s street-level outdoor plaza. There viewers encountered a sign that read, “Please note that one sculpture in URS FISCHER contains a combination of substances which produce mold,” preparing them both to appreciate and be wary of the artist’s sculptural aesthetic of decay, often literalized through the use of...

Pasadena: Norton Simon Museum, 2014.

Exhibition schedule: Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, July 20, 2012–January 21, 2013

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January 30, 2014

Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life explored what curator Gloria Williams Sander identified in the didactic materials attending the exhibition as a long-standing undervaluation of the category. As the introductory wall text explained, still life has often found itself “disparaged critically and theoretically as mere copying that lacked artistic imagination.” Indeed, while superb examples populate nearly every major collection, it remains difficult to imagine a still-life exhibition that could truly be described as a...

Lea van der Vinde, ed.
Exh. cat. Munich: Prestel, 2013. 144 pp.; 110 color ills. $34.95 (9783791352251)

Exhibition schedule: de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, January 26–June 2, 2013; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, June 23–September 29, 2013; Frick Collection, New York, October 22, 2013–January 19, 2014 (with the title Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis)

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January 15, 2014

According to the accompanying exhibition catalogue, Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis brings “examples of Dutch Golden Age painting to the United States, including four works by Rembrandt van Rijn, three works by Jan Steen, two works by Frans Hals, and . . . Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring” (6). The thirty-five paintings on loan from the Mauritshuis represent some of that institution’s best-known holdings, and the High Museum of...

Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi and Marc Bormand, eds.
Exh. cat. Florence: Mandragora, 2013. 552 pp.; 406 color ills.; 44 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9788874611867)

Exhibition schedule: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, March 23–August 18, 2013; Musée du Louvre, Paris, September 26, 2013–January 6, 2014

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January 15, 2014

That sculpture was crucial to the development of the Renaissance has been recognized since 1436, when Leon Battista Alberti praised three sculptors in the prologue to his Tuscan treatise on painting (four, if one counts Filippo Brunelleschi, who trained and worked as a goldsmith) and only a single painter, Masaccio. The Springtime of the Renaissance exhibition celebrates the crucial role Florentine sculptors played in the stylistic revolution of the fifteenth century, demonstrating how the naturalism,...

Michael Duncan and Christopher Wagstaff
Exh. cat. Sacramento: Crocker Art Museum, 2013. 288 pp.; 214 color ills.; 57 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 ((9780764965821)

Exhibition schedule: Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, June 9–September 1, 2013; Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, January 14–March 29, 2014; Katzen Arts Center, American University, Washington, DC, April 26–August 17, 2014; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, September 14, 2014–January 11, 2015

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January 8, 2014

In 1956, rector Charles Olson invited Bay Area poet Robert Duncan (1919–1988) and his partner, Jess (Burgess Collins, 1923–2004), to teach at Black Mountain College and exchange ideas on avant-garde poetry. Inspired by Olson’s concept of “composition by field,” i.e., of verse organized by nonlinear, spontaneous associations, Duncan entitled his 1960 collection of poems The Opening of the Field. An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle applies this vision of imaginative...

Guido Beltramini, Davide Gasparotto, and Adolfo Tura, eds.
Exh. cat. Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2013. 456 pp.; 196 color ills.; 8 b/w ills. Paper $44.00 (9788831715096)

Exhibition schedule: Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, Padua, February 2–May 19, 2013

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December 27, 2013

As this outstanding exhibition on view in Padua demonstrated, Pietro Bembo (b. Venice, 1470; d. Rome, 1547)—humanist, author, lover, courtier, collector, papal secretary, and cardinal—was one of those exceptionally rare people who seems to have experienced at firsthand a large proportion of the great cultural events of his time. When Angelo Poliziano visited northern Italy in 1491 looking for unknown ancient texts for Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Florentine humanist studied alongside the young Bembo, annotating...