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

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Dita Amory, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. 168 color ills.; 24 b/w ills.; 240 ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300208108)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, November 19, 2014–March 15, 2015
Madame Cézanne was an unprecedented, likely once-in-a-lifetime exhibition that spotlighted Paul Cézanne’s portraits of his wife, Hortense Fiquet. Organized by Dita Amory, Acting Associate Curator in Charge and Administrator of the Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the show sought to revise misconceptions, especially about the artist’s affection, or lack thereof, for his wife, and reinvigorate general and scholarly interest in this group of work. To that end,... Full Review
August 13, 2015
Alejandro Vergara and Anne T. Woollett, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and Madrid: Getty Publications and Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014. 112 pp.; 88 color ills.; 10 b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (9781606064306)
Exhibition schedule: Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, March 25–June 29, 2014; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, October 14, 2014–January 11, 2015; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 15–May 10, 2015
Because the few grand tapestries of the early modern period that survive are frail and rarely exhibited, we forget that they were the most luxurious and prized of art forms among European elite, far costlier than painting or sculpture. So it is rare to encounter not one but four monumental Flemish tapestries in the remarkable exhibition Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The four belong to a series of twenty tapestries, known as The Triumph... Full Review
August 6, 2015
Nancy K. Anderson and Charles Brock
Exh. cat. Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2014. 212 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $55.00 (9781938922190)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, May 4–November 30, 2014
This exhibition and accompanying catalogue of Andrew Wyeth paintings illustrating views looking out of and through windows are the most recent examples of a sea change in scholarship on the artist. In 1977, Robert Rosenblum called Wyeth at once the most overrated and underrated artist of the twentieth century (cited in Henry Adams, “Wyeth’s World,” Smithsonian Magazine [June 2006]: 84–92). Wanda Corn has labeled the critical and academic hostility to Wyeth’s work throughout much of the... Full Review
July 30, 2015
Exh. cat. Houston: Contemporary Art Museum Houston, 2013. 144 pp.; 50 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $39.95 (9781933619385)
Exhibition schedule: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, November 17, 2012–February 16, 2013; Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, September 10–December 7, 2013; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, November 14, 2013–March 9, 2014; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, July 24, 2014–January 4, 2015
Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver and presented by Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum, Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art opened at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center in a festival-like manner and included two densely installed museum galleries and a plethora of performances presented in the sculpture garden. At the Walker, Radical Presence featured thirty-six artists—one less than the original showing in Houston due to conceptual artist Adrian Piper’s public... Full Review
July 30, 2015
Alessandra Comini, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Neue Galerie in association with Prestel, 2014. 296 pp.; 227 color ills.; 72 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9783791354194)
Exhibition schedule: Neue Galerie, New York, October 9, 2014–April 20, 2015
In 1911, while viewing new works by the emerging Viennese Expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890–1918), Albert Paris von Gütersloh suggested that Schiele’s paintings “yearn only for gestures”—an observation that epitomizes the very crux of Schiele’s varied portraits, with their enigmatic visual language of the human body (Albert Paris von Gütersloh, Egon Schiele, Vienna: Brüder Rosenbaum, 1911, 1). Gütersloh, who was a fellow artist, writer, and critic in turn-of-the-century Vienna,... Full Review
July 16, 2015
Jens Hoffmann and Kynaston McShine
Exh. cat. New York: The Jewish Museum, 2014. 116 pp.; 76 b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (9780300197334)
Exhibition schedule: The Jewish Museum, New York, March 14–August 3, 2014
In Other Primary Structures, Jens Hoffmann’s recent exhibition at the Jewish Museum, the presence of Primary Structures, a show organized by Kynaston McShine at the same museum in 1966, was felt through text and images. Most aggressively, photographic murals of installation views from the earlier exhibition pervaded the galleries. Larger-than-life-size, the images reached from floor to ceiling. In these period photographs, canonical works of Minimalism were pictured, including a... Full Review
July 16, 2015
Massimiliano Gioni, Gary Carrion-Murayari, and Natalie Bell, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: New Museum, 2014. 279 pp.; 128 color ills.; 152 b/w ills. Paper $55.00 (9780915557059)
Exhibition schedule: New Museum, New York, July 16–September 28, 2014
Promoted in the press release as “the first museum-wide exhibition in New York City to feature contemporary art from and about the Arab world,” Here and Elsewhere brought together over forty-five artists from more than fifteen countries. The ambitious exhibition, curated by Massimiliano Gioni with Natalie Bell, Gary Carrion-Murayari, Helga Christoffersen, and Margot Norton, included many artists who had not previously exhibited their work in New York. Despite its expansiveness and... Full Review
July 2, 2015
Chicago: 2014.
Expo Chicago boasts local pride as another annual art fair to emerge in the United States. Now in its third year, the event took place from September 18–21, 2014, at Navy Pier, a city landmark and hub for tourists, where summer crowds line up to board boat tours and take rides on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel to view the famed Chicago skyline. Expo Chicago is young within the U.S. art-fair circuit; it emerged in 2012, newly reenvisioned after the former venue for Chicago’s fair, Merchandise... Full Review
July 2, 2015
Amy Miller Dehan
Exh. cat. London: D. Giles Limited in association with Cincinnati Art Museum, 2014. 416 pp.; 133 color ills.; 397 b/w ills. Cloth $100.00 (9781907804113)
Exhibition schedule: Cincinnati Art Museum, June 14–September 7, 2014
Recent scholarship has eschewed the fashion for broad, thematic exhibitions in favor of probing specific makers and more local examinations; the exhibition and publication Cincinnati Silver, 1788–1940 was an example of this trend. Cincinnati produced a treasure trove of decorative arts during the nineteenth century, and the silversmithing trade, established by 1795, was evidence of the city’s prowess. Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Amy Miller Dehan... Full Review
June 25, 2015
Joni L. Kinsey
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006. 271 pp.; 55 color ills.; 112 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780700614134)
Exhibition schedule: Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, June 8–September 8, 2013 (under the title Yellowstone and the West: The Chromolithographs of Thomas Moran); Denver Art Museum, Denver, October 6, 2013–January 19, 2014; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, June 7–September 7, 2014 (under the title Yellowstone and the West: The Chromolithographs of Thomas Moran)
A museum exhibition on nineteenth-century chromolithography and the landscape of the American West must negotiate its way through key challenges. When the discipline of art history routinely emphasizes the innovation and novelty of artistic developments, imagery of mountains and natural wonders can strike scholars and museumgoers as familiar territory and therefore unworthy of attention. Moreover, in an era that celebrates globalization, the western landscape might bear a whiff of... Full Review
June 12, 2015