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

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Michael R. Taylor, ed.
Exh. cat. Philadelphia and New Haven: Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2009. 400 pp.; 277 color ills.; 66 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300154412)
Exhibition schedule: Philadelphia Museum of Art, October 21, 2009–January 10, 2010; Tate Modern, London, February 10–May 3, 2010; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 6–September 20, 2010
Organized by Michael R. Taylor, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective offers the richest survey of this artist’s oeuvre in more than a quarter century. With nearly two hundred paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, as well as some comparative works and materials, the exhibition traces the full range of Gorky’s career and amply demonstrates his critical importance as a late Surrealist on the threshold... Full Review
May 18, 2010
Exhibition schedule: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, November 5, 2009–January 31, 2010
The heart of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is its four-story Venetian courtyard around which circle palatial rooms lined with exquisite tapestries, treasures of Medieval and Renaissance art, gems of U.S. painting, and sumptuous holdings of decorative arts. Along the narrow paths of the central garden rest Grecian urns and a gently running fountain. It was here, one night in the winter of 2007, that Taro Shinoda, a guest at the Gardner’s artist-residency program, looked up into the... Full Review
May 5, 2010
Exhibition schedule: Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong SAR, China, November 21, 2008–January 28, 2009
One critical question for exhibiting past art is its contemporary relevance. Instead of asserting a work’s temporal transcendence, a more convincing way to prove its enduring life is to show that it can still captivate an audience and contribute to the creation and appreciation of art today. This is the approach taken by the exhibition Looking for Antonio Mak, an extraordinary show that brought an unprecedented vitality to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Centered on the much-esteemed late... Full Review
April 20, 2010
Gary M. Radke
Exh. cat. Atlanta and New Haven: High Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2009. 224 pp.; 201 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780300154733)
Exhibition schedule: High Museum of Art, Atlanta, October 6, 2009–February 21, 2010; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, March 23–June 20, 2010 (as Leonardo da Vinci and the Art of Sculpture: Inspiration and Invention)
Leonardo da Vinci: Hand of the Genius, organized by Atlanta’s High Museum of Art in collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, Italy, aims to explore an aspect of Leonardo’s wide-ranging interests long acknowledged but still poorly understood. That Leonardo studied from, theorized on, and made designs for sculpture has been established through his drawings and writings yet is frustratingly... Full Review
April 14, 2010
Kristen Hileman and James Meyer
Exh. cat. London: D Giles Limited and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2009. 176 pp.; 150 color ills.; 12 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9781904832614)
Exhibition schedule: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, October 8, 2009–January 3, 2010
Though Anne Truitt’s art has not shaped art-historical and critical debates at the level of many of her contemporaries, whether Morris Louis, Robert Morris, Eva Hesse, and others, her work warrants all the attention the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden devoted to her in this retrospective exhibition, Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection. Curated by Kristen Hileman, it included drawings, paintings, and sculptures by the artist from the early 1960s to 2004, the year of her... Full Review
April 7, 2010
Alison Luchs
Exh. cat. Washington, DC and New Haven: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in association with Yale University Press, 2009. 160 pp.; 62 color ills.; 23 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780300156676)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, July 4–November 1, 2009
Renaissance art historians conventionally work in terms of types. Artistic production to a large extent can be thought of in terms of basic forms or categories—portrait, altarpiece, devotional image, etc.—customized according to the requirements of patrons. The artistic culture of Venice in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century saw the production of many objects that frustrate that approach by being insistently sui generis. Among them are a pair of marble reliefs: one signed... Full Review
April 7, 2010
Debra Bricker Balken
Exh. cat. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2009. 168 pp.; 139 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300134100)
Exhibition schedule: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, June 7– September 7, 2009
Dove/O’Keeffe: Circles of Influence, a major exhibition at the Clark Art Institute curated by Debra Bricker Balken, began with an intriguing juxtaposition. Opposite the introductory text, one found Arthur Dove’s Moon (1935) mounted side by side with Georgia O’Keeffe’s last and most abstract Jack-in-the-Pulpit, VI (1930). These paintings show the two artists working in distinct styles within the modernist arc of nature abstraction. Yet the show’s organizing premise, that... Full Review
April 7, 2010
Katherine Baetjer, ed.
Exh. cat. New York and New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2009. 176 pp.; 75 color ills.; 10 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (9780300155075)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 22–November 29, 2009
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is ideally suited for an exhibition devoted to the theme of “Watteau, Music, and Theater” because two of Watteau’s most incisive treatments of these themes reside in its collection: the solitary singer Mezzetin (ca. 1718–20) and the tragic-comic French Comedians (ca. 1720–21). Both works also display Watteau’s ineffable fusion of performance and humanity, artifice and nature, and gestures both rote and heartfelt. The exhibition, rich in drawings as... Full Review
March 24, 2010
Exhibition schedule: Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago: September 20–December 13, 2009
Given its location in Chicago, the Renaissance Society was the perfect venue for Allan Sekula’s Polonia and Other Fables, forty photographs and accompanying texts three years in the making. The exhibition represented a joint commission between the Renaissance Society and the Zacheta National Gallery in Warsaw. Polonia refers to Poles living outside their country, and Chicago is host to the largest population outside of Warsaw. For centuries, Poland has been dominated by... Full Review
March 10, 2010
Ronda Kasl, ed.
Exh. cat. Indianapolis and New Haven: Indianapolis Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2009. 400 pp.; 125 color ills.; 25 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300154719)
Exhibition schedule: Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, October 11, 2009–January 3, 2010
Sacred Spain: Art and Belief in the Spanish World defied conventional boundaries of what constitutes “Spanish” art. It was a refreshingly intelligent exhibition, and ideally will set new standards for how the field is studied. It presented the imagery of Catholicism as a common denominator of Spanish identity in Old World and New. The stunning selection of objects was presented in six thematic sections to remind viewers of their original raison d’être: “In Defense of Images,” “True... Full Review
March 9, 2010