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

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Terese Tse Bartholomew and John Johnston
Exh. cat. Honolulu and Chicago: Honolulu Academy of Arts and Kingdom of Bhutan in association with Serindia Publications, 2008. 480 pp.; 300 color ills. Paper $45.95 (9781932476361)
Exhibition Schedule: Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, February 23–May 23, 2008; Rubin Museum, New York, September 19, 2008–January 5, 2009; Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, February 20–May 10, 2009; Musee Guimet, Paris, October 6, 2009–January 25, 2010; Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, February 19–May 23, 2010; Museum Rietberg, Zurich, July 4–October 17, 2010
The exhibition The Dragon’s Gift: Sacred Arts of Bhutan features emerging curatorial trends with regard to premodern Asian art, and displays a wealth of treasures from a little-known Himalayan kingdom on the northeastern border of India. Bronze Buddhas, thangkas of wrathful deities, footage of live performance, monks busy at their prayers, Buddhist lineage portraits, and gigantic textiles are just some of the multi-media experiences the show presents. From the only independent... Full Review
May 13, 2009
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Eva Meyer-Hermann, ed.
Exh. cat. Amsterdam, Stockholm, Pittsburgh, and Rotterdam: Stedelijk Museum, Moderna Museet, and Andy Warhol Museum in association with NAi Publishers, 2008. 176 pp.; many color ills. Paper $50.00 (9789056626754)
Exhibition schedule: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, October 12, 2007–January 13, 2008; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, February 9–May 4, 2008; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, September 13, 2008–February 15, 2009; The Hayward, Southbank Centre, London, October 7, 2008–January 18, 2009
Exhibition schedule: Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH, September 27, 2008–January 4, 2009; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase, NY, February 15–April 26, 2009
This fall, the battleground states of New Hampshire and Ohio each enlisted an Andy Warhol that was more man than machine and more substance than image to grapple with life and politics at the end of the Bush era. The Warhols on display in Andy Warhol: Pop Politics at the Currier Museum and in Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms at the Wexner Center combine the nuances of mass media with the traditions of graphic arts and painting to delve into personal and public life in the... Full Review
May 13, 2009
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Barbara Thompson, ed.
Exh. cat. Hanover, N.H. and Seattle: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College in association with University of Washington Press, 2008. 376 pp.; 212 color ills.; 38 b/w ills. Paper $50.00 (9780295987712)
Exhibition schedule: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, April 1–August 10, 2008; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, September 10–December 10, 2008; San Diego Museum of Art, January 31–April 26, 2009
Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body was an attractive and smart show. The Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, its second venue of three, offered a stunning introduction to the galleries from its entrance balcony where Allison Saar’s 2006 Cache—a life-sized, tin-clad nude figure in a fetal position held in place by a giant ball of wire—was draped across the floor beneath Baby Back, Renée Cox’s oversized blackout C-print... Full Review
May 12, 2009
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Peter Saul, Robert Storr, Dan Cameron, and Michael Duncan
Exh. cat. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2008. 160 pp.; 94 color ills.; 2 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9783775722049)
Exhibition schedule: Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, June 22–September 21, 2008; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, October 18, 2008–January 4, 2009; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, February 7–April 5, 2009
“I do like to hit the nerves,” painter Peter Saul confesses. Yes, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it when he does. In the past, whenever I encountered Saul’s paintings—unmistakable with their garish, artificially hot colors and repellant imagery—I quickly withdrew from this frontal assault on my sensibilities. As it turns out, I was shortchanging myself. I rescinded my snap judgments after seeing the first major U.S. survey of Saul’s paintings and drawings from the early 1960s to... Full Review
April 29, 2009
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Renato Miracco and Maria Christina Bandera, eds.
Exh. cat. Milan: Skira, 2008. 368 pp.; 255 color ills.; 45 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9788861307162)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 16–December 14, 2008; Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, January 22–April 12, 2009
Giorgio Morandi, 1890–1964, co-organized by the Museo d’Arte Moderna of Bologna and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was the first comprehensive survey of Morandi’s work in the United States. The exhibition gathered 110 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and etchings by the reserved, often elusive, and sometimes underappreciated Italian painter of still life and landscape. The curators, Maria Cristina Bandera, Director of the Fondazione Roberto Longhi in Florence, and Renato Miracco,... Full Review
April 15, 2009
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Nicholas Baume, Jen Mergel, and Lawrence Weschler
Exh. cat. Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and Monacelli Press, 2008. 160 pp.; 99 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9781580932134)
Exhibition schedule: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Boston, October 10, 2008–January 4, 2009; Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, February 7–May 11, 2009; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, June 19–September 13, 2009; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, October 10, 2009–January 16, 2010
In her recent career survey organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, Tara Donovan creates ethereal, environmental sculptures out of such banal, everyday objects as toothpicks, Scotch tape, Mylar, and plastic cups. Working with one material at a time, and testing the range of its physical properties, Donovan subverts the utilitarian function of an object through a process of accumulation. In the seventeen works on view from the past decade, she stacks, piles, or otherwise... Full Review
March 25, 2009
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Andrea Bayer, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2008. 392 pp.; 300 color ills.; 75 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300124118)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 11, 2008–February 16, 2009; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, March 15–June 14, 2009
In almost every sense, the exhibition Art and Love in Renaissance Italy and the accompanying catalogue are retrospective. First, they include many objects that were acquired by collectors at the beginning of the twentieth century, during an earlier period of interest in the history of private life. Second, they draw upon and summarize four recent decades of historical and art-historical scholarship focused on the family life of Renaissance Italians and the material objects that... Full Review
March 25, 2009
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Pina Ragionieri
Syracuse and Philadelphia: Syracuse University Art Galleries in association with University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. 120 pp.; 26 color ills.; 69 b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (9780812241488)
Exhibition schedule: Syracuse University Art Galleries, Syracuse, August 12–October 19, 2008; Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery, New York, November 4, 2008–January 4, 2009
Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth provides American audiences with a rare opportunity to intimately view twelve drawings (doubling the number in U.S. collections) and three documents by the hand of one of history’s most revered artists, all on loan from the Casa Buonarroti in Florence and never before exhibited in the United States. These original works are accompanied by six portraits of the artist (my favorite is the enigmatic bronze medal by Leone Leoni, 1561); six posthumous... Full Review
February 25, 2009
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Rudolf Frieling, ed.
Exh. cat. San Francisco and London: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in association with Thames and Hudson, 2008. 212 pp.; 200 ills. Cloth $39.95 (9780500238585)
Exhibition schedule: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, November 8, 2008–February 8, 2009
Joseph Beuys famously proposed that, “every human being is an artist” (Joseph Beuys, “I Am Searching for Field Character,” in Art into Society, Society into Art, trans. Caroline Tisdall, London: Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1974, 48). How, then, do we understand the relationship between artists and audience? The Art of Participation, an extremely ambitious, multifaceted exhibition and catalogue by Rudolf Frieling, curator of media arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern... Full Review
February 18, 2009
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George Fifield and Judith S. Donath
Exh. cat. Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2008. 84 pp. Paper and DVD $34.00 (9780981520810)
Exhibition schedule: Milwaukee Museum of Art, October 4, 2008–January 11, 2009
Act/React, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s recent exhibition of interactive installation art, presented work by six contemporary artists: Janet Cardiff, Brian Knep, Liz Phillips, Daniel Rozin, Scott Snibbe, and Camille Utterback. While all employ some combination of customized computer software, surveillance cameras, digital video and projection, electronic photocells and circuits, microcontrollers, synthesizers, and amplifiers, the resulting artworks nonetheless conceal their technological... Full Review
February 18, 2009
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