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: Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, January 25–May 12, 2013
A gray day is a good day to visit the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado. Against the museum’s cast concrete walls, natural lighting, and textured cement surfaces, Still’s paintings give off a luminous glow that recalls the artist’s own statement, “You can turn the lights out. The paintings will carry their own fire” (Clyfford Still, letter to Betty Freeman, December 14, 1960; Betty Freeman Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution). As a first-generation Abstract... Full Review
July 10, 2014
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Mark P. McDonald
Exh. cat. London: British Museum and Lund Humphries, 2012. 320 pp.; 350 color ills. Cloth $80.00 (9780714126807)
Exhibition schedule: British Museum, London, September 20, 2012–January 6, 2013; Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, March 20–June 16, 2013 (under the title Spanish Drawings from the British Museum: Renaissance to Goya); Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, August 31–November 24, 2013; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, December 14, 2013–March 9, 2014
For more than fifty years, studies of Spanish art have disproved the myth that peninsular artists did not draw. While some Spaniards drew very little—most notably El Greco, Francisco de Zurbarán, and Diego Velázquez—others drew a great deal. Francisco de Goya, for example, was a remarkably prolific draftsman. Nevertheless, curators and historians in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came to assume that the scarcity of Spanish drawings in European collections compared to those by... Full Review
July 3, 2014
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Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Richard Shiff, and Robert Storr
Exh. cat. Austin: University of Texas Press and Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, 2013. 152 pp.; 113 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780292753112)
Exhibition schedule: Exhibition schedule: Fundação Iberê Camargo, Porto Alegre, September 1–November 18, 2012; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, February 7, 2013–April 7, 2013; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, October 27, 2013–January 12, 2014
The first career retrospective of Waltercio Caldas, The Nearest Air: A Survey of Works by Waltercio Caldas, at the Blanton Museum of Art, and co-organized with the Fundação Iberê Camargo, was shaped by two framing devices before the viewer even set eyes on the art. First, upon entering the museum the visitor was offered headphones and an iPod to listen to music selected by the Brazilian artist. The playlist featured Brazilian bossa nova, jazz, and minimal music from the United States,... Full Review
July 3, 2014
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This international loan exhibition presents a nuanced understanding of Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra's life and work in California, contextualizing it within a broader discussion of the Spanish colonial enterprise in New Spain (the formal name of Spanish colonial North America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines, including parts of what is today California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida until Mexican independence in 1821). Born in Petra, Mallorca, in 1713, Serra... Full Review
July 3, 2014
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Constance M. Lewallen and Karen Moss
Exh. cat. Berkeley and Newport Beach, CA: University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and Orange County Museum of Art, 2011. 320 pp.; 64 color ills.; 123 b/w ills. Cloth $39.95 (9780520270619)
Exhibition schedule: Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, October 9, 2011–January 22, 2012; University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, February 29–June 17, 2012; Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, September 28–December 9, 2012; SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, February 23–May 20, 2013; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, June 20–September 8, 2013; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, October 3, 2013–January 12, 2014
It is appropriate that State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970, the wonderful, timely, necessary exhibition curated by Constance Lewallen and Karen Moss, was at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, which in the context of the New York art world is as far away psychologically from the gallery districts of Chelsea and the Lower East Side and the museums of Midtown and the Upper East Side as Los Angeles and San Francisco and other hotbeds of California art are geographically. The... Full Review
June 26, 2014
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Gloria Groom, ed.
Exh. cat. Chicago, New York, and Paris: Art Institute of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Musée d’Orsay, 2012. 336 pp.; 478 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300184518)
Exhibition schedule: Musée d’Orsay, Paris, September 25, 2012–January 20, 2013 (under the title L’impressionnisme et la mode); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 26–May 27, 2013; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, June 26–September 29, 2013
During its time at the Musée d’Orsay L’impressionnisme et la mode elicited a flurry of anxious reviews from French critics and journalists, who sketched connections between the museum’s approximately twenty-eight-million-dollar facelift, the decline of public funding for museums, the institution’s increasingly liberal loan policy, and the need to generate revenue through ticket sales and private sponsorships—which, in the case of L’impressionnisme et la mode, was fittingly... Full Review
June 26, 2014
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Lisa Phillips and Massimiliano Gioni, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: New Museum and Skira Rizzoli, 2013. 248 pp.; many color ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780847841790)
Exhibition schedule: New Museum, New York, NY, October 2, 2013–January 12, 2014
Chris Burden: Extreme Measures at the New Museum, the Los Angeles-based artist’s first major museum exhibition in the United States in twenty-five years and his first solo museum show in New York, is a boy’s dream come true. Organized by Lisa Phillips with Massimiliano Gioni and Jenny Moore, the show presents a grown-up man playing with toys. The difference is that, this time around, Burden’s adolescent universe gets a big injection of money, engineering, and industriousness. Even if... Full Review
June 19, 2014
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College Art Association, 2013.
Exhibition schedule: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ, January 26–April 28, 2013
What to do with Paolo Soleri (1919–2013)? For the last half-century, the work of the Italian-born architect has seemingly refused to conform to the stylistic and theoretical concerns of the times. That is, until recently, when Cosanti, the foundation he established, began making efforts to transform the general perception of his work from one of an arts-and-crafts practice to that of visionary sustainable design. For the discipline of art history, however, Soleri’s legacy is important, not... Full Review
June 12, 2014
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Koenraad Jonckheere, ed.
Trans. Michael Hoyle and Imogen Forster. Exh. cat. London and Turnhout: Harvey Miller in association with Brepols, 2013. 208 pp.; 178 color ills. Cloth $99.96 (9781909400146)
Exhibition schedule: M – Museum Leuven, October 31, 2013—February 23, 2014
Koenraad Jonckheere, ed.
Exh. cat. Leuven: Davidsfonds Uitgeverij and M – Museum Leuven, 2013. 128 pp.; 89 color ills. Paper € 19.95 (9789063066598)
Exhibition schedule: M – Museum Leuven, October 31, 2013—February 23, 2014
Organized by Koenraad Jonckheere in collaboration with Peter Carpreau, senior curator at M – Museum Leuven, this important, thoughtful, and beautiful exhibition aims to enshrine Michiel Coxcie among the select group of northern masters—Jan Gossaert, Jan van Scorel, Maarten van Heemskerck, and Frans Floris—who visited Rome during the first half of the sixteenth century and engaged inventively with the art of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo, as with their ancient sources, both sculptural... Full Review
June 5, 2014
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Exh. cat. New York: Frick Collection, 2013. 149 pp.; 80 color ills. Paper $27.50 (9780912114576)
Exhibition schedule: Frick Collection, New York, February 12–May 19, 2013
It is a long way from the Tuscan town of Borgo San Sepolcro to the sumptuous interior of the Frick Collection, where six of the panel paintings by the famously enigmatic Piero della Francesca for the high altar of Sant’Agostino were reunited. Yet the preciosity of these mid-quattrocento works in oil and tempera, some resplendent with gold leaf and fictive jewel-encrusted fabrics, was deceptively compatible with the luxurious neo-classical setting. That the secular venue and Piero’s religious... Full Review
May 8, 2014
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