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

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Carol S. Eliel
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2014. 136 pp.; 108 color ills.; 13 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9783791353548)
Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, June 8–September 14, 2014; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, October 8–December 21, 2014
It is fitting that the first major retrospective of John Altoon’s work takes place in his hometown, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), since the show’s assembly necessitated considerable sleuthing by curator Carol S. Eliel, often with the aid of Altoon’s Los Angeles-based contemporaries. John Altoon, a compact show featuring eighteen works on canvas and fifty on paper or board, fills five galleries of LACMA’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum and offers the first... Full Review
February 19, 2015
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Matthew S. Witkovsky, ed.
Exh. cat. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2014. 224 pp.; 200 ills. Paper $50.00 (9780300203929)
Exhibition schedule: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, June 7–September 14, 2014; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, November 11, 2014–March 22, 2015; Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid, September 15–November 29, 2015
For many, the high point of this retrospective of Josef Koudelka’s work will be the series of images of the Soviet invasion of Prague in August of 1968. The photographer had just returned to the city from a trip photographing Roma communities when the seven-day invasion began. Weaving in and among the crowds of protestors, his camera loaded with yards of East German movie film, he managed to capture the fragile power of such instances of collective heroism. Images of conflict between the... Full Review
February 12, 2015
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Anne M. Lyden
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2014. 228 pp.; 120 color ills.; 43 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (9781606061558)
Exhibition schedule: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, February 4–June 8, 2014
The exhibition A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography, along with curator Anne M. Lyden’s fine catalogue of the same name, bring together the remarkable photography collections of the Royal Collection, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the National Media Museum in Bradford, England, as well as one notable photograph from a private collection. The exhibition and in particular the catalogue’s essays are insightful and thought-provoking, raising a number of fascinating issues about... Full Review
February 12, 2015
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Matthew H. Robb and Jill D’Alessandro
Exh. cat. San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 2014. 96 pp. Paper $19.95
Exhibition schedule: de Young Museum, San Francisco, California, May 3, 2014–January 4, 2015
Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection elegantly showcases a recent donation gifted to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It brings Native art into the spotlight alongside the institution’s diverse holdings from its permanent collection, and celebrates the beauty of objects often unknown to both the general art museumgoer and established art connoisseur. The exhibition features a large selection of ceramic works and textiles by Native artists... Full Review
February 12, 2015
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Just beyond the main galleries of the Art of the Americas Building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is a small room featuring eight large painting by Sam Doyle (1906–1985). The paintings are created from everyday materials, making them distinct from the oil paintings, art deco objects, and mid-century modern furniture in the neighboring galleries. Using house paint on found wood and metal to create figurative and text-based paintings, Doyle portrayed famous African American... Full Review
February 5, 2015
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William Breazeale and Victoria Sancho Lobis
Exh. cat. San Diego: University of San Diego, 2013. 47 pp.; 23 color ills.; 2 b/w ills. Paper (9780976085461)
Exhibition schedule: Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, October 20, 2013–January 26, 2014; Robert and Karen Hoehn Family Galleries, University of San Diego, San Diego, February 21–May 25, 2014
Toward the end of their introduction to the catalogue that accompanied Passion and Virtuosity: Hendrik Goltzius and the Art of Engraving, curators William Breazeale and Victoria Sancho Lobis quote what is certainly the single most incisive sentence in the whole of the Goltzius literature, first framed in Karel van Mander’s 1604 Het Schilder-Boek: “All these things . . . prove that Goltzius is a rare Proteus or Vertumnus in art, because he can transform himself to all forms of... Full Review
February 5, 2015
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Carol S. Eliel
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art in association with Prestel, 2014. 64 pp.; 65 color ills. Cloth $39.95 (9783791353852)
Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, March 30–June 29, 2014; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, September 26, 2014–January 4, 2015
Helen Pashgian’s environmental installation Untitled (2012–13), recently displayed in the Art of the Americas Building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), consists of a row of twelve, eight-foot-high double columns at roughly ten-foot intervals. Fabricated from thin sheets of molded colorless acrylic with a uniform matte finish, the columns glow peacefully in the dark, black-walled gallery. Upon entering, the visitor needs a moment of adjustment, both for the eyes and the... Full Review
January 22, 2015
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UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum
Los Angeles: 2014.
Exhibition schedule: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, January 25–May 18, 2014
“Parisiennes . . . form an aristocracy among the women of the world,” states the writer and fashion enthusiast Octave Uzanne in the introduction to his 1894 book, La Femme à Paris, nos contemporaines ([The Women of Paris: Our Contemporaries] Paris: Ancienne maison Quantin, 1894, 5; my translation). In this volume, Uzanne assembled a feminine taxonomy describing the city’s residents, ranging from “great ladies” to the working classes. A conservative aesthete who entreated... Full Review
January 15, 2015
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Exhibition schedule: Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA, April 4–August 11, 2014
Any time you have a chance to see a photography exhibition drawn from the collection of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, take it. These shows are few and far between: the last one opened eight years ago, when curator Gloria Williams Sander acknowledged the full idiosyncratic range of the department with her remarkable exhibition, The Collectible Moment (2006–7). Even a small glimpse of the collection affords the rare chance for a trip to the 1960s and 1970s, the moment just before... Full Review
January 8, 2015
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Hyunsoo Woo, ed.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014. 352 pp. Paper $45.00 (9780300204124)
Exhibition schedule; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, March 2–May 26, 2014; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, June 29–September 28, 2014; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, October 30, 2014–January 11, 2015
In the spring of 2014, the Philadelphia Museum of Art hosted Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392–1910. There was great anticipation for this major exhibition of Korean art as it followed two others the previous year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom, 2013–14) and at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty, 2013–14). Treasures from Korea... Full Review
January 8, 2015
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