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

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Lisa Strong
Exh. cat. Fort Worth and Norman: Amon Carter Museum in association with University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. 238 pp.; 100 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780883601051)
Exhibition schedule: Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, September 20, 2008–January 11, 2009; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, February 7–May 10, 2009
Like the proto-ethnographic works of his better-known contemporaries Karl Bodmer and George Catlin, Baltimore-born painter Alfred Jacob Miller’s views of the American West both shaped and reflected the myriad histories and identities that formed the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century. Miller is perhaps most closely associated with such paintings as The Lost Greenhorn (1851) and The Trapper’s Bride (1846), both of which appear in the deftly curated... Full Review
January 28, 2009
Ian Warrell, ed.
Exh. cat. London: Tate Publishing, 2007. 272 pp.; 250 ills. Paper $35.00 (9781854375698)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 1, 2007–January 6, 2008; Dallas Museum of Art, February, 10–May 18, 2008; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June, 24–September 21, 2008
The exhibition J. M. W. Turner, recently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was the first large-scale exhibition of the artist's work presented in the United States since the 1960s, and viewers paid the price, with a show that was too big and broad for most appetites. On my visits, the exhibition seemed to be challenging the stamina of all but the most devoted tourists and art historians. The problem was not only one of stamina. Seen in such quantity, Turner’s uniqueness is... Full Review
January 28, 2009
Bertrand Tillier and et al.
Exh. cat. Ostfildern-Ruit and New York: Hatje Cantz Verlag and Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008. 480 pp.; 470 color ills.; 36 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (9783775721097)
Exhibition schedule: Grand Palais, Paris, October 13, 2007–January 28, 2008; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 27–May 18, 2008; Musée Fabre, Montpellier, June 13–September 28, 2008
Looming before the visitor entering the recent Gustave Courbet exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was an enlargement of the artist’s striking The Desperate Man (1844–45), an image effectively representative of the artist’s intense effort to secure artistic fame without sacrificing his personal vision. Once inside the exhibition, the paintings themselves provided the chief drama in a curatorial endeavor that “sought to relocate Courbet’s work in the context of his time”... Full Review
January 20, 2009
Nancy Spector, Michael Archer, and et al.
New York: Guggenheim Museum, 2008. 256 pp.; 85 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780892073771)
Exhibition schedule: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, October 24, 2008–January 7, 2009
theanyspacewhatever is an exhibition that aims to provide a retrospective view on a range of artistic practices that emerged in the 1990s. What unites these practices, regardless of the different stylistic and aesthetic strategies they employ, is the way they turn the idea of an art exhibition into a dynamic medium of sociability and collaboration. To exemplify this practice, Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s chief curator, invited ten contemporary artists to collectively formulate a... Full Review
December 30, 2008
Daniell Cornell and Mark Dean Johnson, eds.
Exh. cat. San Francisco and Berkeley: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in association with University of California Press, 2008. 176 pp.; 95 color ills.; 12 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780520258648)
Exhibition schedule: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, San Francisco, October 25, 2008–January 18, 2009; Noguchi Museum, Long Island City, NY, February 18–August 23, 2009
“Forty years ago there were no Asian Americans,” reads the provocative first sentence of Gordon H. Chang and Mark Dean Johnson’s introduction to the catalogue for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco exhibition Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900–1970. It seems that until the first recorded use of “Asian American” at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1968, the terms for Americans of Asian ancestry were either “Orientals” or more ethnic-specific descriptors. As... Full Review
December 17, 2008
Paul Berry and Michiyo Morioka
Exh. cat. Honolulu and Seattle: Honolulu Academy of Arts in association with University of Washington Press, 2008. 368 pp.; 150 color ills.; 100 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780937426845)
Exhibition schedule: Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts, September 11–November 16, 2008

Symposium: September 13, 2008
Visually stunning and intellectually riveting, the exhibition Literati Modern: Bunjinga from Late Edo to Twentieth-Century Japan presented the Honolulu Academy of Arts's newly acquired Terry Welch Collection of over eighty Japanese ceramics, calligraphy, and paintings (in handscroll, hanging scroll, album, and both two- and six-panel screen formats) from late Edo through Showa periods (the late eighteenth through the twentieth centuries). It demonstrated the claim—made by guest curator... Full Review
November 19, 2008
Annamaria Giusti and Wolfram Koeppe, eds.
Exh. cat. New York and New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2008. 428 pp.; 272 color ills.; 35 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300136722)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, July 1–September 21, 2008
Visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently had the rare opportunity to see a survey of hardstone carving in Europe, an art form best known by its Italian shorthand term, pietre dure. By assembling some of the best-known works and a great variety of objects in terms of technique, origin, and appearance, the exhibition was well worth seeing, if not always consistent in the strength and coherence of its presentation. The introductory gallery of the show, as well as the first... Full Review
October 29, 2008
Min-han Jang
Seoul: Seoul Museum of Art, 2008. 204 pp.; 105 color ills. Paper $10.00
Exhibition schedule: Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, March 28–June 15, 2008
As signaled by the exhibition’s subtitle, “Art of Our Time Viewed from Various Narratives,” Four Ways to Look at Art explores the possibility of opening up vastly different narratives in addressing art after the end of art. The show addresses the convention of the great narrative ingrained within the modernist aesthetic that has led to the suppression of individual stories. Resisting a priori aesthetic rules, it investigates ways in which contemporary art deals with its identity... Full Review
October 28, 2008
John Oliver Hand, Catherine A. Metzger, and Ron Spronk
Exh. cat. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2006. 352 pp.; 238 color ills.; 90 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300121551)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, November 12, 2006–February 4, 2007; Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, March 3, 2007–May 27, 2007
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, November 12, 2006–February 4, 2007; Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, March 3, 2007–May 27, 2007
The painted diptych, a work comprised of two hinged panels of equal size that can be opened and closed like a book, flourished as a Netherlandish art form from 1430 to the mid-sixteenth century. Leading artists such as Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, and Hans Memling used this format for some of the most compelling paintings of the period, and it enjoyed popularity for both religious and secular subjects. The splendid exhibition Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish... Full Review
October 2, 2008
Charles Davis and Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi
Exh. cat. Florence: Giunti, 2008. 406 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. Cloth Euros 45.00 (9788809059023)
Exhibition schedule: Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, April 16–September 7, 2008
Although most of his works normally reside in Florentine museums and his role as a proponent of the maniera in sculpture is well-known, Vincenzo Danti (1530–76) is finally being feted with an exhibition of his own. On view at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence through September 7, I grandi bronzi del Battistero: L’arte di Vincenzo Danti, discepolo di Michelangelo is the schizophrenic title for what is essentially a monographic show on the career of the artist. Its... Full Review
August 20, 2008