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

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Sarah D. Coffin, Gail S. Davidson, Penelope Hunter-Stiebel, and Ellen Lupton
Exh. cat. New York: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Assouline, 2008. 272 pp.; 380+ color ills. Paper $45.00 (9780910503914)
Exhibition schedule: Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York, March 7–July 6, 2008
The curators of Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730–2008 have gathered an impressive collection of well-known objects from Europe and the United States to showcase the curving beauty of the eighteenth-century Rococo and of later designs with similarly sinuous lines. The show was mounted by members of the Cooper-Hewitt curatorial staff, including Sarah Coffin, Gail Davidson, and Ellen Lupton, with Penelope Hunter-Stiebel as a guest curator. The focus is on the formal elements of the... Full Review
August 6, 2008
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Felice Fischer and Kyoko Kinoshita
Exh. cat. Philadelphia and New Haven: Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2007. 504 pp.; 461 color ills.; 26 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300122183)
Exhibition schedule: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, May 1–July 22, 2007
Only seven years after their resplendent pioneering exhibition and catalogue on the seventeenth-century Japanese artist Hon'ami Kōetsu (1558–1637), Felice Fischer, Kyoko Kinoshita, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art produced an even more magnificent catalogue and exhibition on the artists Ike (also known as Ikeno and Ike no) Taiga (1723–76) and Tokuyama Gyokuran (1727/28–1784). Like Kōetsu, who was himself a calligrapher, potter, and lacquer-ware artist, Gyokuran and her husband Taiga were... Full Review
August 5, 2008
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Sarah Schroth and Ronni Baer, eds.
Exh. cat. London: Thames and Hudson, 2008. 352 pp.; 160 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780878467266)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, April 20–July 27, 2008; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, August 21–November 9, 2008
El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts brings to light a period in Spanish art which, despite the quality of artistic production and the rich history of the period, has been overshadowed by the art produced during the reigns of Philip III’s father, Philip II, and son, Philip IV. Philip III reigned from 1598 to 1621; notably, neither El Greco nor Velázquez, the protagonists of this exhibition to judge by its title, lived at... Full Review
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Exhibition schedule: Ooga Booga, Los Angeles, March 7–April 3, 2008
A curtain of clear plastic sleeves hangs in the shop window that serves as the façade to Ooga Booga’s main space. Inside each transparent pocket rests a simple, photocopied, and staple-bound book available for visitors to touch and flip through. In this modest exhibition of zines and artists’ books, the manner of installation complements the temperament of the work on view. Everything is straightforward and accessible. Ooga Booga, an alternative space in Los Angeles’s Chinatown District,... Full Review
July 16, 2008
Sylvia Ferino-Pagden and Giovanna Nepi Sciré
Exh. cat. Venice: Marsilio, 2008. 336 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9788831794121)
Exhibition schedule: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, October 18, 2007–January 6, 2008; Accademia, Venice, January 26–May 4, 2008
Curated by Silvia Ferino-Pagden and Giovanna Nepi Sciré, the exhibition of late paintings by Titian initiated at the Kunsthistorisches Museum and continued with variations at the Accademia was rich in materials from which to learn more about the great Venetian artist. While the Venetian venue showed only twenty-eight paintings, these offered much upon which to meditate. Occupying a space that was once the church of the Carità, and typically used at the Accademia for temporary shows, the... Full Review
July 15, 2008
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Joseph J. Rishel
Exh. cat. Philadelphia and New Haven: Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2006. 592 pp.; 431 color ills.; 45 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0300120036)
Exhibition schedule: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, The Arts in Latin America, 1492–1820, banner-titled “Tesoros/Treasures/Tesouros,” September 20–December 31, 2006; Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City, Revelaciones, subtitled Las Artes in América Latina, 1492–1820, February 6–June 30, 2007; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The Arts in Latin America, 1492–1820, August 1–October 28, 2007
The Arts in Latin America, 1492–1820 was a splendid exhibition covering the period from the time Columbus arrived until the moment when emerging nations from Chile to Mexico moved toward independence. Showing it in three dramatically different venues—Philadelphia, Mexico City, and Los Angeles—resulted in three profoundly different statements. In Philadelphia one simply gasped to see such luxury from so many fabulously wealthy colonies (mostly Spanish and Portuguese). When visitors... Full Review
June 17, 2008
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Sébastien Allard, Robert Rosenblum, Guilhem Scherf, and MaryAnne Stevens
Exh. cat. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2007. 432 pp.; 260 ills. Cloth $85.00 (9781903973233)
Exhibition schedule: Royal Academy of Arts, London, February 3–April 20, 2007
Sébastien Allard, Robert Rosenblum, Guilhem Scherf, and MaryAnne Stevens
Exh. cat. Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2006. 383 pp.; 220 color ills.; 19 b/w ills. Paper Euros 45.00 (2711850315)
Exhibition schedule: Grand Palais, Paris, October 2, 2006–January 9, 2007
Citizens and Kings: Portraits in the Age of Revolution, 1760–1830 is the companion publication to the best and most comprehensive exhibition of portraits, and indeed of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century European art, not to have come to the United States in a long time. The show, conceived by the late Robert Rosenblum and MaryAnne Stevens, was originally intended to travel to the Guggenheim Museum in New York in addition to the Grand Palais in Paris and the Royal... Full Review
June 11, 2008
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Nathalie Bondil, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Prestel, 2008. 424 pp.; 400 color ills.; 200 b/w ills. Cloth $85.00 (9783791340197)
Exhibition schedule: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, January 31–June 8, 2008
In the spring of 1944 the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened the exhibition Modern Cuban Painters; it was the first time that modern Cuban art was presented in the international arena. Organized by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., with assistance from the Cuban art critic José Gómez Sicre, the exhibition was a success with the public as well as the critics. Although limited to the work of only thirteen painters, Modern Cuban Painters remains a seminal moment in the history of Cuban... Full Review
May 21, 2008
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Mary Morton, ed.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007. 166 pp.; 83 color ills.; 33 b/w ills. Paper $39.95 (9780892368891)
Exhibition schedule: Getty Museum, Los Angeles, May 1–September 2, 2007; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, October 7–January 6, 2008; Staatliches Museum Schwerin, April 4–July 6, 2008
The story behind this unusual, revealing, and enjoyable exhibition and accompanying catalogue begins with the voyage, in May 2003, of a life-size painting, fifteen-feet across, of an exotic, two-ton beast. Rolled up in storage for a century and a half, this all-but-forgotten portrait of a celebrity rhinoceros arrived in Los Angeles that month from the Staatliches Museum Schwerin, in the former German Democratic Republic, to be conserved at the Getty Museum and readied for permanent exhibition... Full Review
May 21, 2008
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Deborah Rothschild, ed.
Exh. cat. Williamstown and Berkeley: Williams College Museum of Art in association with University of California Press, 2007. 244 pp.; 70 color ills.; 145 b/w ills. Paper $34.95 (9780520252400)
Exhibition schedule: Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, July 8–November 11, 2007; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, February 26–May 4, 2008; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, June 8–September 15, 2008
Gerald and Sara Murphy were admired—adored—by many of the best-known members of the transatlantic avant-garde in the 1920s. John Dos Passos, their frequent guest both in Paris and on the Riviera, wrote happily of being “entertained . . . with great elegance and a great deal of gin fizz.” For Fernand Léger, Gerald was “the only American painter in Paris.” F. Scott Fitzgerald dedicated Tender Is the Night to them; the novel’s protagonists, the Divers, were modeled on the Murphys. Perhaps... Full Review
May 14, 2008
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