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

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Exhibition schedule: Harvard Art Museums, November 16, 2014–July 26, 2015
On Sunday, November 16, 2014, ambitious Boston museumgoers could have treated themselves to first-viewings of two remarkable achievements: Mark Rothko’s newly restored Harvard Murals, currently installed in the Harvard Art Museums’ impeccable Renzo Piano-designed galleries, and Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery, a three-hour behind-the-scenes chronicle of the London museum presented by the filmmaker himself at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The coincidence would have delighted... Full Review
May 14, 2015
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Timothy O. Benson, ed.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and New York: Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Prestel, 2014. 296 pp.; 228 color ills.; 13 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9783791353401)
Exhibition schedule: Kunsthaus Zürich (under the title Expressionism in Germany and France: From Matisse to the Blue Rider), Zürich, February 7–May 11, 2014; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, June 8–September 14, 2014; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, October 6, 2014–January 25, 2015
Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky examines the connections between the avant-garde art worlds in France and Germany in the years between the last decades of the nineteenth century and the outbreak of World War II, considering the influence of artists like Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri Matisse on German artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein, and Franz Marc. To that end, the network of cultural exchange—exhibitions and their... Full Review
May 14, 2015
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Barbara London and Anne Hilde Neset
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2013. 84 pp.; 70 color ills. Paper $18.95 (9780870708886)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, August 10–November 3, 2013
Soundings: A Contemporary Score was the first major exhibition of “sound” at the Museum of Modern art (MoMA), which Christopher Phillips once famously characterized as “the seat of judgment.” But it encompassed far more than the exhibited sixteen artists from ten countries. It was a large and integrated program of exhibition, films, sound performances, workshops, and lectures overseen by Barbara London, associate curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art, and curatorial... Full Review
May 14, 2015
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Kendall H. Brown, ed.
Exh. cat. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 2013. 320 pp.; 458 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780883971574)
Exhibition schedule: Japan Society Gallery, New York, March 16–June 10, 2012; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, July 14, 2012–January 20, 2013; Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, Albuquerque, February 9–April 21, 2013; Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, TX, June 15–October 20, 2013; Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, November 22, 2013–January 19, 2014; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC, February 8–April 20, 2014; Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, May 10–October 19, 2014; Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, November 8, 2014–January 18, 2015; Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, February 7–July 19, 2015; Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, Washington, DC, June 11–December 31, 2016
Deco Japan is a rambunctious assemblage of objects from the late 1920s and 1930s that evokes the excitement and instability of an era in which urbanization, international communication, global travel, mass-market consumerism, and the expansion of imperial ambitions were transforming the everyday lives and imaginations of millions, while spurring artists and designers in particular to rethink their art in relation to the new world that was taking shape around them. Curated and with an... Full Review
May 7, 2015
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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
San Francisco: 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, September 21, 2013–February 16, 2014; Vox Populi, Philadelphia, March 7–April 27, 2014; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, October 24, 2014–January 25, 2015; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, February 15–May 17, 2015; Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, September 3, 2015–January 9, 2016
Alien She, organized by and exhibited at the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before opening at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, examines the influence of the feminist punk rock movement Riot Grrrl on artists working today. Curated by Ceci Moss and Astria Suparak, the exhibition presents archival materials (zines, mixtapes, music playlists, cassettes, fliers, t-shirts, video footage, and other ephemera) from the Riot Grrrl movement as well... Full Review
April 23, 2015
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Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
La Jolla: 2014.
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, May 16–August 31, 2014
In Tim Youd’s recent solo exhibition and performance, The Long Goodbye, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, visitors were able to hear the artist’s work before seeing it. It is a sound that most people will be familiar with, but haven’t encountered in a while. As one approached the museum’s Krichman Gallery, the staccato sound of the clacking keys of an Olivetti Studio 44 typewriter was audible before rounding the corner to take in the sparkling view of La Jolla Cove... Full Review
April 16, 2015
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Susan Weber, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Bard Graduate Center, 2014. 688 pp.; 624 color ills. Paper $85.00 (9780300196184)
Exhibition schedule: Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, New York, September 20, 2013–February 16, 2014; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, March 22–July 13, 2014
No eighteenth-century British artist had an output as wide-ranging and as versatile as William Kent (1685–1748). He worked for court, country, and city; his style encompassed the Palladian and the Gothic. Painting, sculpture, architecture, interior decoration, furniture, metalwork, book illustration, theater design, costume, and landscape gardening—he turned his hand to them all. His genius lay not in one form of artistic production, but rather in the way he combined them. He is credited as... Full Review
April 9, 2015
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Dieter Scholz, ed.
Exh. cat. New York and Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2014. 208 pp.; 114 color ills.; 52 b/w ills. Paper $48.00 (9781938922664)
Exhibition schedule: Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, April 5–June 29, 2014; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, August 3–November 30, 2014
When I hear the name of the American artist Marsden Hartley, I think of two paintings, Portrait of a German Officer (1914) and Adelard the Drowned, Master of the “Phantom” (ca. 1938–39). As Jonathan Weinberg has noted, both convey desire in the context of death (Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and the First American Avant-Garde, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993, 114–40). In the first, Hartley veils that desire, and its... Full Review
April 9, 2015
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One could argue that no contemporary topic has more urgency and complexity than that of the interaction between humans and the natural environment. Whether considering contemporary political policy or theories of geologic time, the question of how this moment in human history will come to terms with its existence in the larger world, literally and figuratively, is prominent across academic disciplines and various media discourses. Time, Space & Matter: Five Installations Exploring Natural... Full Review
March 26, 2015
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MAK Center for Art and Architecture
Los Angeles: 2014.
Exhibition schedule: MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House, Los Angeles, June 18–September 7, 2014
The sumptuous, emotional, and multi-layered painterly work of Tony Greene (1955–1990)—featuring found images, text, and decorative elements in objects both large and small—is experiencing something of a moment right now. The artist received a room of his own within two major exhibitions in 2014: the Whitney Biennial and Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum, with the former curated by artists Catherine Opie and Richard Hawkins and the latter by ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives... Full Review
March 26, 2015
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