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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, September 8, 2018–February 24, 2019.
Following the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in 1851, the V&A created a space for applied arts centered on industry and design, a space that serves as a conscious foil to traditional fine arts museums. Curators Marie Foulston and Kristian Volsing carried the spirit of this mission forward into the twenty-first century with their exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt. The show revealed the innovative practices video game designers have developed over the past fifteen... Full Review
July 8, 2019
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Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, May 11, 2018–March 17, 2019
Organized at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, by Susan Brown, associate curator of textiles, and Jennifer Cohlman Bracchi, reference librarian, Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color showcased a broad range of objects, predominantly from the Smithsonian Institution’s impressive collections. Beginning with a selection of rare handbooks dating back to as early as the seventeenth century (e.g., Athanasius Kircher’s 1671 Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae), the exhibition... Full Review
June 24, 2019
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Adriaan E. Waiboer, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., and Blaise Ducos
Exh. cat. New Haven, CT and Dublin: Yale University Press in association with National Gallery of Ireland, 2017. 320 pp.; 180 color ills. Hardcover $60.00 (9780300222937)
Musée du Louvre, Paris, February 22–May 22, 2017; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, June 17–September 17, 2017; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 22, 2017–January 21, 2018
The exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, on Vermeer and “other” Dutch genre painters of his era, was easily one of the most significant international events of last year. Conceived by Adriaan E. Waiboer of the National Gallery of Ireland and developed in close collaboration with two museum colleagues—Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and Blaise Ducos from the Musée du Louvre in... Full Review
June 19, 2019
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Robert Brown, Tushara Bindu Gude, Donald Stadtner, and Lakshika Senarath Gamage
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: LACMA Collator, 2018. 106 pp.; 53 ills. Paperback $50.00 (9781943042128)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 9, 2018–July 7, 2019
Palm-size bronze figures of Buddhas and bodhisattvas from ancient Anuradhapura. Lion-shaped stone stair balustrades from the fourteenth century. Black-and-white photographs of tropical plants by colonial British photographers. A painted ivory comb decorated with a sword-wielding goddess. And a twenty-six-foot inflatable reclining Buddha made in California. These are just a handful of works from a special exhibition showcasing the art and culture of Sri Lanka at the Los Angeles County... Full Review
June 11, 2019
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Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, October 5, 2018–February 17, 2019
For her exhibition Poorly Watched Girls at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Suzanne Bocanegra installed four artworks that repurpose numerous precedent works: Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera Dialogues des Carmélites; Mark Robson’s 1967 film Valley of the Dolls; Jan Brueghel the Elder’s circa 1620 painting Flowers in a Ceramic Vase; Thomas P. McCarthy’s 1955 Guide to the Catholic Sisterhoods in the United States; Jean Dauberval’s 1789 ballet,... Full Review
June 7, 2019
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Valerie Steele
Exh. cat. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2018. 208 pp.; 120 color ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780500022269)
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, September 7, 2018–January 5, 2019
Coined “the most divisive of colors,” pink has been worn very fashionably across the world since at least the eighteenth century. It is a color more fascinating and controversial than most when used for clothing, according to a recent exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (<span... Full Review
May 30, 2019
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Cynthia Burlingham and Allegra Pesenti, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and New York: Hammer Museum, UCLA in association with DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2018. 208 pp.; 120 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9783791357645)
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 27–December 30, 2018
Few nineteenth-century figures are as towering as the French poet, novelist, playwright, critic, and politician Victor Hugo (1802–1885). Though he is remembered mostly for his literary achievements, particularly The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862), he excelled at drawing. From September 27 to December 30, 2018, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles exhibited over seventy of his haunting works on paper (he made more than four thousand of them), as well as a... Full Review
May 28, 2019
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Judit Bodor, Adam Czirak, Astrid Hackel, Beata Hock, Andrej Mircev, and Angelika Richter, eds.
Berlin: neue Gesellschaft für bildene Kunst, 2018. 206 pp. Paperback € 24.00 (9783938515730)
neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin, February 3–March 25, 2018
In the winter of 2018, a project group of six curators (Judit Bodor, Adam Czirak, Astrid Hackel, Beata Hock, Andrej Mircev, and Angelika Richter) presented a fresh account of East-Central European performance art in their exhibition Left Performance Histories, at the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (NGbK) in Berlin. The exhibition provided a fascinating and nuanced look at performance-art practices in the region, which both expanded our understanding of that history and brought... Full Review
May 16, 2019
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Michael Rooks
Exh. cat. Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 2018. 265 pp.; 104 color ills.; 88 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9781932543520)
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, November 17, 2017–March 18, 2018
An artist who studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and moved to New York in 1970 to assist Robert Rauschenberg, Al Taylor was consumed with perception and the logic of things. What Are You Looking At?, the title of a survey of his work at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia (2017–18), was also Taylor’s own sly suggestion for the epitaph on his tombstone. At once an innocent question and a phrase uttered to someone rudely staring, “What are you looking at?” is often met... Full Review
May 15, 2019
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Denver Art Museum, November 19, 2018–March 17, 2019; Dallas Museum of Art, May 19–September 1, 2019
Advertised as the first retrospective of the House of Dior in the United States, Dior: From Paris to the World transported visitors from the interior of the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building through the doors of a storied atelier to enter the exhibition gallery. Curated by Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion Florence Müller and designed by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York, the... Full Review
May 10, 2019
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