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

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Veronica Roberts, ed.
Exh. cat. Austin and New Haven: Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin and Yale University Press, 2014. 192 pp.; 246 color ills.; 22 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (9780300204827)
Exhibition schedule: Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, February 23–May 18, 2014
Eva Hesse’s Washer Table (1967), a little-known and rarely exhibited work, stands in the middle of the four open gallery spaces of the Blanton Museum of Art’s exhibition Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt. Originally painted white with a gray grid, the squat, four-foot-square coffee table was constructed by LeWitt and given to Hesse as a gift. Hesse subsequently painted the table black and covered its surface in tight rows of rubber washers like those found in a hardware... Full Review
October 31, 2014
Exhibition schedule: Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA, January 30–May 18, 2014
Curated by Amy Ingrid Schlegel, director of galleries and collections at Tufts University, Seeing Glacial Time: Climate Change in the Arctic asks the question: “how can something as gradual and imperceptible as climate change . . . be narrated or visualized to tell a story?”[1] The exhibition purports to provide one answer: “through artistic representations, rather than scientific visualizations, created with the aid of imaging technologies.” Participating artists Subhankar Banerjee,... Full Review
October 22, 2014
Anastasia Drandaki, Demetra Papanikola- Bakirtzi, and Anastasia Tourta, eds.
Exh. cat. Athens: Benaki Museum and Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, 2013. 363 pp. Cloth $75.00 (9789604761302)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 6, 2013–March 2, 2014; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, April 9–August 23, 2014; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, September 27, 2014–February 15, 2015
“We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendour or such beauty and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men.” —Description by Russian visitors to the Byzantine Church of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople/Istanbul. The Russian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text, eds. and trans., Samuel H. Cross and Olgerd Sherbowitz-Wetzor, Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1953,... Full Review
October 22, 2014
Erin B. Coe, Bruce Robertson, and Gwendolyn Owens
Exh. cat. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2013. 200 pp.; 84 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $40.00 (9780500093740)
Exhibition schedule: Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, June 15–September 15, 2013; Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, October 4, 2013–January 26, 2014; de Young Museum, San Francisco, February 8–May 11, 2014
The March 1968 cover of Life magazine featured a large black-and-white photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe above a headline declaring her a “pioneer painter.” O’Keeffe is pictured in profile, her face lined and back curved as she leans forward with arms crossed, dressed simply in black. She sits in front of an adobe chimney, and behind her a wide, open sky and stark desert landscape stretch uninterrupted. The Life magazine cover helped cement O’Keeffe’s public image as an iconic... Full Review
October 22, 2014
Patricia Wengraf
Exh. cat. London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2014. 376 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $100.00 (9781907372636)
Exhibition schedule: Frick Collection, New York, January 28‒June 15, 2014
The Frick Collection has positioned itself as one of the premier forums for the study and exhibition of Renaissance and Baroque bronze sculpture. Past exhibitions have focused on single artists as well as on individual collections: Willem van Tetrode (2003), Andrea Riccio (2008), Antico (2012), the private Quentin collection (2004), and a selection from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2005). With Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection, curated by Patricia Wengraf,... Full Review
October 17, 2014
San Francisco: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in association with San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2014.
Exhibition schedule: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, February 21–June 29, 2014
Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa presents work by twenty-three South African artists and artistic collaborators. The several dozen works in the exhibition span sixty years worth of production in media ranging from photography and performance documentation to installation, print, and drawing. The exhibition places contemporary South African artists in conversation with several apartheid-era photographers including Ian Berry, Ernest Cole, and David Goldblatt.... Full Review
October 17, 2014
Mary Morton
Exh. cat. Washington, DC: 2014. 180 pp.; 102 ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780894683862)
Exhibition schedule: Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Rome, October 23, 2013–February 23, 2014; Legion of Honor, San Francisco, March 29–August 3, 2014; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, September 3, 2014–January 4, 2015; Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, February 7–May 24, 2015; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, October 1, 2015–January 10, 2016
Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art is an exhibition of small pictures. By the same token, it is an exhibition about small pictures. Scale matters. Only, for it to matter, for it to develop as an orientation, we have first to break with the usual connotations that accrue to it as a criterion of judgment. Small pictures have their way of drawing us in, of revealing different kinds of relations of people to things; they ask that we view them up close,... Full Review
October 8, 2014
Anne Ellegood and Johanna Burton
Exh. cat. New York and Los Angeles: Prestel in association with Hammer Museum, 2014. 288 pp.; 174 color ills.; 63 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9783791353425)
Exhibition schedule: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, February 9–May 18, 2014
An ambitious statement about American art, Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology examines the intersection of institutional critique, a practice entailing a structural analysis of museums and the art market, and appropriation, a mechanism of recontextualizing found images and ideas. Curators Anne Ellegood and Johanna Burton show that the two, despite having originated from distinct strategies of practice and consecutive historical periods (the 1970s and 1980s), have... Full Review
October 3, 2014
Anne Umland, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2013. 256 pp.; 194 color ills.; 56 b/w ills. Paper $50.00 (9780870788985)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, September 28, 2013–January 12, 2014; Menil Collection, Houston, February 14–June 1, 2014; Art Institute of Chicago, June 29–October 12, 2014
Exhibition schedule: Menil Collection, Houston, February 14–July 13, 2014
The work of the painter René Magritte is well known, if not as art, then at least as image. Magritte himself claimed that looking at a reproduction of his works was every bit as good as looking at a painting. The exhibition Magritte: Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 sets out to disprove this notion, foregrounding the materiality of Magritte’s work alongside his conceptual preoccupations. Foremost among those preoccupations is the resistance—even refusal—of Magritte’s painted objects... Full Review
October 3, 2014
Starr Figura, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014. 248 pp.; 222 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780870709050)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 8–June 8, 2014
Considering Paul Gauguin’s notable impact on the development of modern art, it seems remarkable that Gauguin: Metamorphoses is his first monographic exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and only the second major presentation of his art in New York since 1959. Perhaps even more surprising, this show, organized by Starr Figura, the Phyllis Ann and Walter Borten Associate Curator, with Lotte Johnson, curatorial assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, foregoes the expected focus on... Full Review
September 24, 2014