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

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Exh. cat. Houston: Contemporary Art Museum Houston, 2013. 144 pp.; 50 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $39.95 (9781933619385)
Exhibition schedule: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, November 17, 2012–February 16, 2013; Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, September 10–December 7, 2013; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, November 14, 2013–March 9, 2014; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, July 24, 2014–January 4, 2015
Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver and presented by Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum, Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art opened at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center in a festival-like manner and included two densely installed museum galleries and a plethora of performances presented in the sculpture garden. At the Walker, Radical Presence featured thirty-six artists—one less than the original showing in Houston due to conceptual artist Adrian Piper’s public... Full Review
July 30, 2015
Alessandra Comini, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Neue Galerie in association with Prestel, 2014. 296 pp.; 227 color ills.; 72 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9783791354194)
Exhibition schedule: Neue Galerie, New York, October 9, 2014–April 20, 2015
In 1911, while viewing new works by the emerging Viennese Expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890–1918), Albert Paris von Gütersloh suggested that Schiele’s paintings “yearn only for gestures”—an observation that epitomizes the very crux of Schiele’s varied portraits, with their enigmatic visual language of the human body (Albert Paris von Gütersloh, Egon Schiele, Vienna: Brüder Rosenbaum, 1911, 1). Gütersloh, who was a fellow artist, writer, and critic in turn-of-the-century Vienna,... Full Review
July 16, 2015
Jens Hoffmann and Kynaston McShine
Exh. cat. New York: The Jewish Museum, 2014. 116 pp.; 76 b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (9780300197334)
Exhibition schedule: The Jewish Museum, New York, March 14–August 3, 2014
In Other Primary Structures, Jens Hoffmann’s recent exhibition at the Jewish Museum, the presence of Primary Structures, a show organized by Kynaston McShine at the same museum in 1966, was felt through text and images. Most aggressively, photographic murals of installation views from the earlier exhibition pervaded the galleries. Larger-than-life-size, the images reached from floor to ceiling. In these period photographs, canonical works of Minimalism were pictured, including a... Full Review
July 16, 2015
Massimiliano Gioni, Gary Carrion-Murayari, and Natalie Bell, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: New Museum, 2014. 279 pp.; 128 color ills.; 152 b/w ills. Paper $55.00 (9780915557059)
Exhibition schedule: New Museum, New York, July 16–September 28, 2014
Promoted in the press release as “the first museum-wide exhibition in New York City to feature contemporary art from and about the Arab world,” Here and Elsewhere brought together over forty-five artists from more than fifteen countries. The ambitious exhibition, curated by Massimiliano Gioni with Natalie Bell, Gary Carrion-Murayari, Helga Christoffersen, and Margot Norton, included many artists who had not previously exhibited their work in New York. Despite its expansiveness and... Full Review
July 2, 2015
Chicago: 2014.
Expo Chicago boasts local pride as another annual art fair to emerge in the United States. Now in its third year, the event took place from September 18–21, 2014, at Navy Pier, a city landmark and hub for tourists, where summer crowds line up to board boat tours and take rides on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel to view the famed Chicago skyline. Expo Chicago is young within the U.S. art-fair circuit; it emerged in 2012, newly reenvisioned after the former venue for Chicago’s fair, Merchandise... Full Review
July 2, 2015
Amy Miller Dehan
Exh. cat. London: D. Giles Limited in association with Cincinnati Art Museum, 2014. 416 pp.; 133 color ills.; 397 b/w ills. Cloth $100.00 (9781907804113)
Exhibition schedule: Cincinnati Art Museum, June 14–September 7, 2014
Recent scholarship has eschewed the fashion for broad, thematic exhibitions in favor of probing specific makers and more local examinations; the exhibition and publication Cincinnati Silver, 1788–1940 was an example of this trend. Cincinnati produced a treasure trove of decorative arts during the nineteenth century, and the silversmithing trade, established by 1795, was evidence of the city’s prowess. Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Amy Miller Dehan... Full Review
June 25, 2015
Joni L. Kinsey
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006. 271 pp.; 55 color ills.; 112 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780700614134)
Exhibition schedule: Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, June 8–September 8, 2013 (under the title Yellowstone and the West: The Chromolithographs of Thomas Moran); Denver Art Museum, Denver, October 6, 2013–January 19, 2014; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, June 7–September 7, 2014 (under the title Yellowstone and the West: The Chromolithographs of Thomas Moran)
A museum exhibition on nineteenth-century chromolithography and the landscape of the American West must negotiate its way through key challenges. When the discipline of art history routinely emphasizes the innovation and novelty of artistic developments, imagery of mountains and natural wonders can strike scholars and museumgoers as familiar territory and therefore unworthy of attention. Moreover, in an era that celebrates globalization, the western landscape might bear a whiff of... Full Review
June 12, 2015
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2014.
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Contemporary Art, Geffen Contemporary, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, September 12–December 21, 2014
The surfaces of John Zurier’s spare, abstract paintings are breathtaking—thin washes of icy blue, brushy layers of deep aubergine, swathes of opaque electric orange—but the edges are where the action is. Sometimes color runs over the side of the picture plane and is folded around the back of the stretcher bars; other times it stops just short, leaving a sliver of raw jute exposed. In Votilækur (2014), for example, a few strong vertical lines lie beneath a cool aqua pigment washed over... Full Review
June 4, 2015
Portland, OR: Portland Art Museum, 2014.
Exhibition schedule: Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, August 30– December 14, 2014
This Is War! Graphic Arts from the Great War, 1914–1918 joins a number of exhibitions taking advantage of the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War I to explore this conflict and its representations. The Portland Art Museum focuses its contribution on the graphic arts, as the museum’s rich collection of prints, posters, and works on paper, along with a number of recent acquisitions, has enabled it to stage a comprehensive exhibition that demonstrates the great variety... Full Review
June 4, 2015
Jenelle Porter, ed.
Exh. cat. Boston and New York: Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston in association with Prestel, 2014. 256 pp.; 125 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (97837913538521)
Exhibition schedule: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, October 1, 2014–January 4, 2015; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, January 30–April 5, 2015; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, May 8–August 2, 2015
Before even reaching the five main galleries dedicated to Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA), visitors encounter the tangled mass of neon-green and sea-blue crocheted strands of Sheila Pepe’s “site-responsive” sculpture, Put Me Down Gently (2014), cascading down the atrium walls. The work extends to the elevator shaft, where more parachute cords, laces, and yarn become visible through the glass of the car as it ascends the length of... Full Review
May 21, 2015