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

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Debra Diamond, ed.
Exh. cat. Washington, DC: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2014. 360 pp.; 250 ills. Cloth $55.00 (9781588344595)
Exhibition schedule: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC, October 19, 2013–January 26, 2014; Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, February 22–May 25, 2014; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, June 22–September 7, 2014
Yoga, and the variety of practices that can be subsumed under that heading, is identifiable in sculptures, paintings, photographs, and films representing virtually every region of the Indian subcontinent over the course of more than three millennia—from third-century depictions of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain ascetics, to the transgressive rituals of medieval yoginis, to the recognizable asanas practiced today in yoga studios worldwide. Deities engaged in yogic practice and... Full Review
December 11, 2014
Marilyn Kushner, Kimberly Orcutt, and Casey Nelson Blake, eds.
Exh. cat. London and New York: D Giles Limited in association with New-York Historical Society, 2013. 512 pp.; 160 color ills.; 160 b/w ills. Cloth $79.95 (9781907804045)
Exhibition schedule: New-York Historical Society, October 11, 2013–February 23, 2014
For far too many scholars the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art, which has since come to be known as the Armory Show, was not simply a watershed event in the story of international modernism; it was rather a pioneering event in American modernism. The exhibition is generally regarded as the moment when contemporary American artists first emerged from under whatever rock they were hiding and made their presence known to a public at large, bolstered and legitimized by a large... Full Review
December 11, 2014
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, senior curator, Contemporary Art Museum Houston (CAMH), Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art was presented in New York over two venues: Grey Art Gallery and Studio Museum in Harlem. Timed to coincide with Performa 13 (the biennial performance art festival held in New York in November), this pioneering exhibition was activated by a number of performance commissions and bridged two legendary neighborhoods long associated with artists:... Full Review
December 3, 2014
Stephen Little
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and New York: Los Angeles County Museum of Art in association with Delmonico, 2014. 176 pp.; 118 color ills.; 7 b/w ills. $50.00 (9783791353531)
Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, May 11–June 1; June 7–July 6, 2014
Visitors to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art who caught this exhibition with the unassuming title Chinese Paintings from Japanese Collections were treated to the rare opportunity of viewing some of Japan’s most treasured works of art. Thirty-five paintings in handscroll and hanging scroll formats, presented in two rotations, offered diverse examples of the major subjects of Chinese painting. Figures were especially well represented, including an emaciated Confucian scholar with... Full Review
November 19, 2014
Yvonne Szafran, Laura Rivers, Alan Phenix, Tom Learner, and Ellen G. Landau
Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2014. 124 pp.; 78 color ills.; 13 b/w ills. Cloth $29.95 (9781606063231)
Exhibition schedule: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, March 11–June 1, 2014
Recognized at the time of its making as a groundbreaking painting in both Jackson Pollock’s development as an abstract artist and the field of advanced American art, Mural of 1943 is a massive work—the largest that Pollock produced, in fact—at a staggering 95 5/8 x 237 3/4 inches. These monumental dimensions were prescribed by the size of the entryway in collector and gallerist Peggy Guggenheim’s Upper East Side townhouse. At just thirty-one years old, Pollock was still an unknown... Full Review
November 19, 2014
Carol Squiers, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: International Center of Photography and Delmonico, 2014. 256 pp.; 200 color ills. Cloth $49.95 (9783791353517)
Exhibition schedule: International Center of Photography, New York, January 31–May 4, 2014
Curator Carol Squiers’s overview of photography since the 1970s at the International Center of Photography poses a vexing question in its title. For most of photography’s history before this period, the dilemma was: is photography an art? Finally answered to the satisfaction of most art institutions, the central question in the last few decades has dramatically turned to the very basis of the medium’s identity, particularly given the onslaught of digital media. Rather than answering the... Full Review
November 19, 2014
Amelia Peck, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013. 360 pp.; 360 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300196986)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 16, 2013–January 5, 2014
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition on textiles entitled Interwoven Globe certainly accomplished the goal stated on the show’s website, which was to “explore the international transmittal of design from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century through the medium of textiles.” Its scope was impressive, as was the great variety of textiles on display, whether in terms of geographic and chronological span or category type: fashion, liturgical textiles, marriage quilts, raw... Full Review
November 14, 2014
Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner
Exh. cat. New York and New Haven: Whitney Museum of American Art in association with Yale University Press, 2014. 416 pp.; 250 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Paper $55.00 (9780300196870)
Exhibition schedule: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 7–May 25, 2014
The 2014 Whitney Biennial, the last in the iconic Marcel Breuer building on New York's Upper East Side, is divided into three floors curated by Anthony Elms, Stuart Comer, and Michelle Grabner, respectively. Each floor has its own more-or-less open thematic, and little attempt is made to connect them aside from the premise that the curators come from outside of New York (Comer only recently took a job at the Museum of Modern Art). Nevertheless, the Whitney’s impending departure for its new... Full Review
November 7, 2014
Exhibition schedule: Exhibition schedule: USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, April 25, 2014–April 19, 2015
A New Way Forward: Japanese Hanga of the 20th Century is a small exhibition, consisting of sixteen prints and one album, which will be rotated once during the course of the show. The exhibition allows viewers to compare styles and techniques in prints of the shin hanga lineage with those of the sōsaku hanga group. Shin hanga (new prints) as a practice was organized by Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885–1962) in Tokyo, who found artists willing to design prints with a... Full Review
October 31, 2014
Exhibition schedule: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, September 20, 2013–May 11, 2014
Exhibition schedule: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, October 17, 2013–January 5, 2014
A monumental sculpture made with over two hundred recycled speaker boxes sourced from the Seattle area, William Cordova’s machu picchu after dark (pa’ victoria santa cruz macario sakay y aaron dixon) (2003–14) was shown at the Seattle Art Museum alongside the massive and largely historical exhibition Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and Moon. Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, this exhibition claimed to survey 3000 years of art and culture from a civilization turned nation.... Full Review
October 31, 2014