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

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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
Contemporary Arts Center Gallery, School of the Arts, University of California, Irvine, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Contemporary Arts Center Gallery, School of the Arts, University of California, Irvine, January 10–March 20, 2015
In K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood’s video installation New Report: Morning Edition (2005), viewers watch two female newscasters, Henry Irigaray (Hardy) and Henry Stein-Acker-Hill (Greenwood), listlessly deliver news of their everyday lives. Dressed in all black, turtlenecks topped by berets, they sport the costume of revolutionaries: the Black Panthers, Patty Hearst, Che Guevara—Audrey Hepburn, in Funny Face. Otherwise covered up, one has exposed her breast, the other her crotch,... Full Review
August 27, 2015
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, August 30, 2014–January 31, 2015
“My name is Talky Tina . . . and I’m going to kill you.” In 1963, Morton Bartlett, a freelance commercial photographer based in Boston, carefully disassembled and packed up the dolls of children he had painstakingly made over the previous twenty-eight years. He wrapped these painted plaster creations in newspaper along with the assorted outfits and undergarments he had designed and tailored for them, interring everything in wooden crates in a locked cabinet in his home. There they... Full Review
August 20, 2015
Dita Amory, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. 168 color ills.; 24 b/w ills.; 240 ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300208108)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, November 19, 2014–March 15, 2015
Madame Cézanne was an unprecedented, likely once-in-a-lifetime exhibition that spotlighted Paul Cézanne’s portraits of his wife, Hortense Fiquet. Organized by Dita Amory, Acting Associate Curator in Charge and Administrator of the Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the show sought to revise misconceptions, especially about the artist’s affection, or lack thereof, for his wife, and reinvigorate general and scholarly interest in this group of work. To that end,... Full Review
August 13, 2015
Alejandro Vergara and Anne T. Woollett, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and Madrid: Getty Publications and Museo Nacional del Prado, 2014. 112 pp.; 88 color ills.; 10 b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (9781606064306)
Exhibition schedule: Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, March 25–June 29, 2014; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, October 14, 2014–January 11, 2015; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 15–May 10, 2015
Because the few grand tapestries of the early modern period that survive are frail and rarely exhibited, we forget that they were the most luxurious and prized of art forms among European elite, far costlier than painting or sculpture. So it is rare to encounter not one but four monumental Flemish tapestries in the remarkable exhibition Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The four belong to a series of twenty tapestries, known as The Triumph... Full Review
August 6, 2015
Nancy K. Anderson and Charles Brock
Exh. cat. Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2014. 212 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $55.00 (9781938922190)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, May 4–November 30, 2014
This exhibition and accompanying catalogue of Andrew Wyeth paintings illustrating views looking out of and through windows are the most recent examples of a sea change in scholarship on the artist. In 1977, Robert Rosenblum called Wyeth at once the most overrated and underrated artist of the twentieth century (cited in Henry Adams, “Wyeth’s World,” Smithsonian Magazine [June 2006]: 84–92). Wanda Corn has labeled the critical and academic hostility to Wyeth’s work throughout much of the... Full Review
July 30, 2015
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