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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

Elizabeth Carpenter, ed.
Exh. cat. Minneapolis: 2007. 320 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. Cloth $49.95 (9780935640885)
Exhibition schedule: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, October 27, 2007–January 20, 2008; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, February 20–May 18, 2008; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 14–September 16, 2008
The current, straightforwardly titled Frida Kahlo retrospective, organized by the Walker Art Center and traveling to Philadelphia and San Francisco, follows two unrelated but identically titled surveys of the same artist—one organized by the Tate Modern (2005) and another, more hastily put together, at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City (2007), each with unique, well-illustrated catalogues. While the shows in Mexico and the United States were explicitly tied to the... Full Review
August 20, 2008
Robert Conway
Exh. cat. Washington, DC and Boston: Trust for Museum Exhibitions in association with Boston Public Library, 2007. 159 pp.; 73 b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (9781882507177)
Exhibition schedule: Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh, April 21–June 17, 2007; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus; July 12–September 23, 2007; Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando; October 11–December 23, 2007; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee; January 10–March 23, 2008; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; April 10–June 1, 2008; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, June 21–August 31, 2008; Boston Public Library, Boston, September 22–December 1, 2008
Enthusiasts of early twentieth-century American art have long recognized George Bellows’s facility for powerful draftsmanship, yet his energetic, even boisterous, paintings and lithographs remain appreciably better known than his drawings. The artist made hundreds of original works on paper, largely black and white, now hidden in museums and private collections across the country. Their broad dispersal may account, in part, for the limited scholarly attention paid this fascinating aspect of... Full Review
August 13, 2008
Roberta Panzanelli, ed.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008. 200 pp.; 166 color ills.; 10 b/w ills. Paper $49.95 (9780892369181)
Exhibition schedule: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, March 6–June 23, 2008
First, a disclaimer. Throughout my art-history education, which began in the 1960s and was probably typical, pre-twentieth-century sculpture was evaluated much as it had been since the Renaissance, which is to say in formal terms, the purity of its planes and contours competing with painting’s reliance on surface and color. I came to know, at least intellectually, that perceptions and judgments are indelibly affected by the conventions and values of our time, and assumed that, in the... Full Review
August 13, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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