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

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Edgar Peters Bowron, ed.
Exh. cat. Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Houston: High Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2010. 108 pp.; 50 color ills. Cloth $29.95 (9780300166859)
Exhibition schedule: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, October 16, 2010–January 2, 2011; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, February 5–May 1, 2011; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, May 21–August 14, 2011
A small but impressive exhibition, Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting brought twelve drawings and thirteen paintings from the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh to the United States for a three-city tour in Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Houston. Six of the paintings were from the Bridgewater Collection (on long-term loan to the National Gallery), of which four have been purchased by the museum. In Atlanta (where it was seen by this reviewer), the twenty-five works were... Full Review
December 23, 2010
E. Luanne McKinnon, ed.
Exh. cat. New Haven and Albuquerque: Yale University Press in association with University of New Mexico Art Museum, 2010. 88 pp.; 30 color ills. Cloth $40.00 (9780300164152)
Exhibition schedule: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 25, 2010–January 3, 2011; University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, January 28–May 22, 2011; Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, New York, September 16, 2011–January 8, 2012
Eve Hesse Spectres 1960 offers a rare opportunity to look and think carefully about one year in an artist’s career, in this case a very early one. E. Luanne McKinnon’s selection of nineteen paintings (all Untitled) from among the four dozen Eva Hesse made in 1960 offers a satisfying range of small studies and larger compositions, and their hanging within a single gallery at the Hammer allows for provocative overlaps and differences to come forward, leading the viewer confidently... Full Review
December 22, 2010
Sarah King, ed.
Exh. cat. Santa Fe: SITE Santa Fe, 2010. 240 pp.; 200 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780976449294)
Exhibition Schedule: SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, June 20, 2010–January 2, 2011
Curators Sarah Lewis and Daniel Belasco use a metaphor of alchemy to describe the contemporary works they brought together for The Dissolve, their title for the SITE Santa Fe Eighth International Biennial. The ingredients for the new global media practice they highlight are bodily gestures, advanced digital technologies, and inspirations from early twentieth-century motion picture experiments, resulting in, as the exhibition catalogue states, “new hybrid forms where the homespun... Full Review
December 15, 2010
Katherine Smith Abbott, Wendy Watson, Andrea Rothe, and Jeanne Rothe
Exh. cat. Middlebury, VT: Middlebury College Museum of Art, 2009. 116 pp.; 50 color ills. Paper $24.95 (9781928825067)
Exhibition schedule: Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA, February 9–May 30, 2009; Middlebury College Museum of Art, VT, September 17–December 13, 2009
A grey-green architectural screen with an arcaded view of late medieval Florence—an enlarged detail of the fourteenth-century fresco of the Madonna della Misericordia in the Loggia del Bigallo—drew visitors to the Mount Holyoke Art Museum and into the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Gallery where they encountered the realm of the sacred. Twenty objects dated from ca. 1385 to ca. 1475 comprised The Art of Devotion: Panel Painting in Early Renaissance Italy, including two... Full Review
December 8, 2010
Roni Horn
Exh. cat. 2 vols.. London and New York: Steidl, Tate Publishing, and Whitney Museum of American Art, 2009. 430 pp.; 375 color ills. Cloth $70.00 (9783865218315)
Exhibition schedule: Tate Modern, London, February 25–May 25, 2009; Collection Lambert en Avignon, Avignon, June 21–October 4, 2009; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 6, 2009–January 24, 2010; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, February 19–June 13, 2010
Roni Horn aka Roni Horn rewarded patient, introspective viewers with a revelatory experience. Organized by curators Donna De Salvo and Carter E. Foster (of the Whitney Museum of American Art) and Mark Godfrey (of the Tate Modern), this mid-career retrospective compiled three decades of the artist’s quietly enigmatic and provocative photographs, sculptures, drawings, and books. The greatest strength of the exhibition’s recent incarnation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston... Full Review
November 10, 2010
Roald Nasgaard and Ray Ellenwood
Exh. cat. Vancouver and Unionville, ON: Douglas & McIntyre and Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 2010. 160 pp.; 60 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (9781553653561)
Exhibition schedule: Varley Art Gallery, Markham, ON, October 21, 2009–February 28, 2010; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, March 19–May 30, 2010
When visiting most major art collections in Canada—be it the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts or the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa—one is likely to encounter the distinctive abstractions created by artists affiliated with “Automatisme,” a Montreal-based modernist movement active during the early 1940s through the 1950s. The Automatistes consisted of a group of young painters who gathered around Paul-Émile Borduas, united by their sympathies for European abstraction and outrage over... Full Review
October 6, 2010
Massumeh Farhad, ed.
Exh. cat. Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2009. 348 pp.; 204 color ills.; 1 b/w ills. Paper $40.00 (9780934686044)
Exhibition schedule: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC, October 24, 2009–January 24, 2010
The second half of the sixteenth century in Iran and Turkey brought with it great interest in the art of bibliomancy and the utilization of pictures for prognostication. This is made abundantly clear by the recent splendid exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC, which centered around four illustrated manuscripts (three written in Persian, one in Ottoman Turkish) dedicated to the art of divination. These four magnificent books contain a large number of paintings that... Full Review
October 6, 2010
Exhibition schedule: Hirshhorn Museum, February 13–April 11, 2010
Given the increasingly knotty exigencies of scheduling—much less securing and financing loans—it seems all but inevitable that more and more museums will be forced to feature shows culled from the oft-unseen resources of their permanent collections. Such proverbial icebox raiding was evident at the Hirshhorn of late—and to great consequence. Curated by Valerie Fletcher to fill an eleventh-hour programming gap, Josef Albers: Innovation and Inspiration featured nearly seventy works... Full Review
September 22, 2010
Elizabeth Siegel
Exh. cat. Chicago and New Haven: Art Institute of Chicago in association with Yale University Press, 2009. 200 pp.; 140 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300141146)
Exhibition schedule: Art Institute of Chicago, October 10, 2009–January 3, 2010; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 2–May 9, 2010; Art Gallery of Ontario, June 5–September 5, 2010
At first glance, the scale of Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage, initially on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, belies its significance. The exhibition features photocollages, composed of cut-out albumen prints pasted into watercolored settings and assembled into albums by women (mostly) and men of the Victorian era. The Art Institute of Chicago exhibition contained works illustrating fifteen albums, some of which had been disassembled and not previously... Full Review
September 8, 2010
Michael Rush, ed.
Exh. cat. Waltham, MA: Rose Art Museum, 2010. 144 pp.; 83 color ills.; 8 b/w ills. Cloth $30.00 (9780976159346)
Exhibition schedule: Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA, January 15–April 5, 2009; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK, February 21–May 9, 2010; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, July 3–October 17, 2010
The exhibition (and accompanying catalogue) Hans Hofmann: Circa 1950 sets out to convince viewers that it was a “singularly important year” in the artist’s career (9). In contrast, at a panel discussion on March 27, 2010, at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, curator Catherine Morris referred to 1950 as a “minor moment” in Hans Hofmann’s life. So which is it? After several visits and a thorough reading of the catalogue, it’s hard to say. While the year was clearly a momentous one for... Full Review
September 1, 2010