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

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Adam Pendleton
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and New Orleans: Siglio and Contemporary Art Center, 2016. 144 pp.; Many b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (9781938221132)
Exhibition schedule: Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA, April 1–June 16, 2016; Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, July 15–September 25, 2016; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, January 27–May 14, 2017
Installed in a city many consider ground zero for Black Lives Matter at a particularly volatile moment in U.S. race relations, Adam Pendleton: Becoming Imperceptible at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in New Orleans is charged with a political urgency at odds with the artist’s restrained forms, prosaic typography, and cryptic citations. Yet the triumph—and challenge—of Pendleton’s language-based enquiries reside in their capacity to interrogate system and process as provocatively as... Full Review
July 19, 2017
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The third incarnation of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) opened to great fanfare in May 2016. The new building more than doubles SFMOMA’s galleries, increases by over ten times the educational facilities, and multiples by four the spaces devoted to cinema and performance. Despite the expanded potential, reactions were mixed. Much of the criticism focused on the architecture, notably the rippling facade of fiberglass-reinforced polymer panels. The sheathing incorporates white... Full Review
July 18, 2017
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Exhibition schedule: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, March 12–July 11, 2016
“When you join an institution, you join its history as much as you work to create its future,” explained Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), Chief Curator Helen Molesworth shortly after accepting the position in 2014. Since then, Molesworth has reinstalled the museum’s Grand Avenue galleries as The Art of Our Time (August 15, 2015–September 12, 2016). A revision of postwar art history, it began with the experimentalism of North Carolina’s Black Mountain College instead of... Full Review
July 12, 2017
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Asia Society Texas Center, Houston. Exhibition schedule: March 26–July 3, 2016
The exhibition We Chat: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art took its name from the popular social-media app in China, giving space and voice to ten artists born after the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966–76). These artists are some of China’s “Millennials” (known also as the “Me Generation,” and successors of what might be called the “Mao Generation”), who were of single-digit age during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest-turned-massacre. Self-reflective and uninhibited by... Full Review
July 6, 2017
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Diana Nawi, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Prestel, 2015. 211 pp.; 65 color ills.; 105 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9783791355184)
Exhibition schedule: Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, November 19, 2015–February 21, 2016; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, June 24–August 22, 2016; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, April 26–September 4, 2017
María Elena Ortiz, ed.
Exh. cat. Miami: Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2015. 128 pp.; 53 color ills.; 12 b/w ills. Cloth $39.95 (9780989854672)
Exhibition schedule: Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, October 15, 2015–March 6, 2016; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, February 17–March 21, 2017
The exhibition Nari Ward: Sun Splashed at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is the first mid-career retrospective of the Jamaica-born artist, and it includes over two decades of his work. It overlapped with Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, a smaller solo exhibition of primarily paintings and drawings by the Dominican Republic-born Báez, a former student of Ward’s. Both artists live and work in New York City—Ward in Harlem and Báez in Brooklyn. Curator Diana Nawi installed Ward’s... Full Review
July 5, 2017
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Bastian Eclercy
Exh. cat. New York: Prestel, 2016. 304 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9783791355061)
Exhibition schedule: Städel Museum, Frankfurt, February 24–June 5, 2016
Until recently, extensive thematic exhibitions on the Florentine maniera have been confined to Italian and, more specifically, Tuscan institutions. Elsewhere in Europe, however, the last few years have seen a reanimated interest in Mannerism: the latest, in the spring of 2016, was the large-scale exhibition Maniera: Pontormo, Bronzino and Medici Florence at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. Organized by Bastian Eclercy—chief curator of Italian, French, and Spanish painting at the... Full Review
June 22, 2017
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Tom Wolf
Exh. cat. London: D Giles Limited, 2015. 176 pp.; 155 color ills. Cloth $59.95 (9781907804632)
Exhibition schedule: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, April 3–August 30, 2015
Enigmatic and engaging, the work of figurative artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953) combines American folk and Surrealist art with dreamlike perspectives (exhibition catalogue; 16). Influenced by early American art, modernism, and Japanese artistic expressions—such as flatness of form—his pictures are simultaneously rooted in tradition and the avant-garde and often underscore his proclivity toward contradictions (33). An artist frequently overlooked, Kuniyoshi immigrated to the United States... Full Review
June 15, 2017
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Sheila R. Canby, Deniz Beyazit, Martina Rugiadi, and A. C. S. Peacock
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. 380 pp.; 462 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781588395894)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, April 27–July 24, 2016
The Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art set out to elucidate how the orders of this world and the next were conceptualized and represented in the Seljuq Empire and its successor states. To a certain extent, Met curators Sheila R. Canby, Deniz Beyazit, and Martina Rugiadi delivered. With over 270 objects, Court and Cosmos is the first major exhibition on the Seljuqs in the United States, and according to Met Director Thomas... Full Review
May 31, 2017
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Per Rumberg and Holm Bevers
Exh. cat. New York: Morgan Library and Museum, 2016. 78 pp.; 55 color ills. Paper $24.95 (9780875981765)
Exhibition schedule: Morgan Library and Museum, June 3–September 18, 2016
Rembrandt’s First Masterpiece offered visitors a rare opportunity to engage with Rembrandt’s painted Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver (1629) and the three surviving sheets of preparatory drawings associated with it. The exhibition marked the first time that the painting, long held in an English private collection and, as the exhibition’s title suggested, regarded as a decisive work for the artist’s subsequent development, was shown in the United States. For context,... Full Review
May 11, 2017
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Exhibition schedule: Guayanilla-Peñuelas region, Puerto Rico, September 23, 2015–September 23, 2017
Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), a site-specific installation created by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, is a post-colonial inversion and commentary on the complicated state of U.S.-Puerto Rican relations. This iteration of what appears to be an ongoing project also develops one of their consistent themes: light as illumination, energy, and power. Dan Flavin’s iconic Minimalist, fluorescent-light sculpture Puerto Rican Light (to Jeanie Blake) made in 1965 was... Full Review
May 11, 2017
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