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

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Karl Buchberg, Nicholas Cullinan, Jodi Hauptman, and Nicholas Serota, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2014. 298 pp.; 244 color ills.; 82 b/w ills. Paper $45.00 (9780870709487)
Exhibition schedule: Tate Modern, London, April 17–September 7, 2014; Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 25, 2014–February 10, 2015
Henri Matisse’s cut-outs, executed during the last twenty years of the artist’s life, have been taken to exemplify the concept of “late style”—the culmination of a career achieved through intensified abstraction, luminosity, and spiritual expression. Yet, as the recent exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) reveals, the series might be better understood as a continuation of the artist’s lifelong interest in the emotional appeal of color; simplified,... Full Review
November 12, 2015
Salt Lake City: Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: February 13–April 18, 2015
Sophie Calle’s thirty-minute video Unfinished (2005), on display at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA), narrates the artist’s troubled fifteen-year investigation of money. The video moves chronologically from Calle’s receipt, in 1988, of seven stills from the security cameras of an American bank, to her acquisition of three full tapes of ATM security footage in 1990, through another thirteen years of her frustrated attempts to use this footage to make sense or art out of... Full Review
November 5, 2015
Sarah J. Montross, ed.
Exh. cat. Brunswick, ME and Cambridge, MA: Bowdoin College Museum of Art and MIT Press, 2015. 136 pp. Cloth $29.95 (9780262029025)
Exhibition schedule: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME, March 5–June 7, 2015
Science fiction and space travel are only one facet of this unusual and ambitious exhibition, which brings together an array of disparate artworks addressing multiple intertwined subjects ranging from the cosmic and geologic to the technological, social, political, and environmental. Curator Sarah Montross proposes four broad themes for organizing the multiplicity of works: the “new man” of the technological future; space travel and its depiction through visual technologies; American... Full Review
November 5, 2015
Ann Temkin
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014. 264 pp. Cloth $45.00 (9780870709463)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 4, 2014–January 18, 2015
Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not A Metaphor at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a collaborative project between Robert Gober; Ann Temkin, chief curator of painting and sculpture; and Paulina Pobocha, assistant curator. The exhibition, at its heart, reflects Gober’s curatorial practice. This role is not a new one for the artist. In 2009, Gober organized Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield, with Cynthia Burlingham, at the Hammer Museum of Art; and for the... Full Review
October 29, 2015
Laura Hoptman
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014. 176 pp.; 135 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780870709128)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 14, 2014–April 5, 2015
The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World is the rather ominous title of a sprawling exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The title alone almost seems to threaten the very existence of any and all future endeavors in painting. Seventeen artists from just three countries (nine women and eight men), all born after 1954, make up the group selected by Laura Hoptman, curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, to carry the banner of painting... Full Review
October 22, 2015
Gaylord Torrence, ed.
New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2014. 320 pp. $65.00 (9780847844586)
Exhibition schedule: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, September 19, 2014–January 11, 2015; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March 9–May 10, 2015
On the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a series of tipis situated alongside Claes Oldenburg and Coojse van Bruggen’s Shuttlecocks (1994) provides an intriguing glimpse of The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, an exhibition curated by Gaylord Torrence, senior curator of American Indian Art at the museum. The juxtaposition between the tents and the sculpture draws attention to their design similarities while also suggesting that tipis have become objects of... Full Review
October 15, 2015
New York: Brooklyn Museum, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Brooklyn Museum , Brooklyn, December 12, 2014–July 12, 2015
Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time is a site-specific mural installation at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Herstory Gallery, organized by Saisha M. Grayson, Assistant Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. A multimedia artist known for articulating feminist and queer narratives that weave religious, mythological, and popular iconographies, Ganesh (b. 1975) was born and raised in a Hindu Indian family in Brooklyn and Queens. Her wide-ranging practice—which includes drawings,... Full Review
October 8, 2015
Sonnet Stanfill, ed.
Exh. cat. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2014. 287 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9781851777761)
Exhibition schedule: Victoria and Albert Museum, London, April 5–July 27, 2014 (under the title The Glamour of Italian Fashion Since 1945); Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, October 26, 2014–January 4, 2015; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, February 7–May 3, 2015; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, June 5–September 7, 2015
The appearance of lush dresses or a cute pair of kitten heels in a museum might strike the contemporary viewer as incongruous. But why is this? By now we have become accustomed to seeing design objects displayed cheek by jowl with the hidebound mediums of painting and sculpture. The intrepid museum visitor once had to seek out the designed object, which was relegated to discrete period rooms or wholly separate sections devoted to the so-called decorative arts. This separation, however, is no... Full Review
October 8, 2015
Kenneth Lapatin, ed.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014. 224 pp.; 98 color ills.; 21 b/w ills. Cloth (9781606064207)
Exhibition schedule: Getty Villa, Los Angeles, November 19, 2014–August 17, 2015; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, September 19, 2015–January 10, 2016; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, February 14–May 22, 2016; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, June 25–October 2, 2016
The Berthouville Treasure, discovered by a farmer in Normandy, France (ancient Gaul), in 1830, represents one of the largest and best-preserved collections of Roman silver to survive from the ancient world. The objects, most of which date to the second and third centuries CE, were found within the confines of a large sanctuary to the god Mercury, and functioned as votive objects. The treasure, on loan from the Département des Monnaies, médailles et antiques of the Bibliothèque nationale de... Full Review
September 24, 2015
Carol Solomon, Nadira Laggoune-Aklouche, Rachida Triki, and Farid Zahi
Exh. cat. Haverford: Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, 2014. 63 pp.; 19 ills. Paper $30.00 (9780615407968)
Exhibition schedule: Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, October 24–December 14, 2014
Billed as the “first exhibition in the United States devoted exclusively to contemporary art of the Maghreb and the Maghrebi diaspora,” Memory, Place, Desire: Contemporary Art of the Maghreb and Maghrebi Diaspora is the culmination of a year-long series of events and programs that took place during 2014 at Haverford College. Initiated by Visiting Associate Professor Carol Solomon, the program included an undergraduate curatorial praxis seminar (spring 2014), two Mellon-funded artists’... Full Review
September 17, 2015