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

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Ann Boulton, Jay Fisher, Dorothy Kosinski, Steve Nash, and Oliver Shell
Exh. cat. Baltimore, Dallas, and New Haven: Baltimore Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, and Nasher Sculpture Center in association with Yale University Press, 2007. 312 pp.; 261 color ills.; 35 b/w ills. $60.00 (9780300115413)
Exhibition schedule: Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX, January 21–April 29, 2007; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June 9–September 16, 2007; Baltimore Museum of Art, October 28, 2007–February 3, 2008
“I myself have done sculpture as the complement of my studies. I did sculpture when I was tired of painting. For a change of medium. But I sculpted as a painter. I did not sculpt like a sculptor. Sculpture does not say what painting says. Painting does not say what music says. They are parallel ways, but you can’t confuse them.” —Henri Matisse Matisse’s statement, printed high on the wall in the Dallas Museum of Art foyer, sums up the motivation for Matisse: Painter as Sculptor,... Full Review
August 29, 2007
Fereshteh Daftari, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2006. 112 pp.; 98 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (0870700855)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, February 26–May 22, 2006
Venetia Porter, ed.
Exh. cat. London: British Museum Press, 2006. 144 pp.; 204 color ills. Cloth (0714111635)
Exhibition schedule: British Museum, London, May 18–September 2, 2006
Contemporary art from the Middle East has only begun to emerge from obscurity in the past decade. Its struggle for recognition by the mainstream art world stems from an indefinable hesitation, lack of understanding, and the absence of established standards by which to evaluate it. A handful of major museums have started to collect this art seriously, while others continue to resist such acquisitions, often dismissing them as derivative and of questionable quality. Two recent exhibitions that... Full Review
August 16, 2007
Robert S. Nelson and Kristen M. Collins
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Getty Trust Publications, 2006. 320 pp.; 236 color ills.; 36 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0892368551)
Exhibition schedule: J. Paul Getty Museum, November 14, 2006–March 4, 2007
The greatest gift of the exhibition documented in this catalogue is exemplified by catalogue entry 44 (by Glenn Peers), a small panel of just two figures. The desert father Makarios stands to one side, straight and intensely decorous in the “angelic robe” of the monk, his right hand resting on his long beard, his left lightly raised. Beside him looms a seraph, its upswept wings echoing Makarios’s hood, its cherubic face intent. Gently, it takes the monk’s left wrist in its small, red hand.... Full Review
August 2, 2007
Thomas Loughman, ed.
Exh. cat. Milan: Skira, 2006. 176 pp.; 52 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $30.00 (8876249745)
Exhibition schedule: Phoenix Art Museum, December 10, 2006–March 4, 2007
Penelope Hunter-Stiebel, ed.
Exh. cat. Portland, OR: Portland Art Museum in association with Rijksmuseum, 2006. 144 pp.; 104 color ills.; 9 b/w ills. Cloth $29.95 (1883124239)
Exhibition schedule: Dayton Art Institute, September 30, 2006–January 7, 2007; Phoenix Art Museum, January 27–May 6, 2007; Portland Art Museum, May 26–September 16, 2007
This spring Phoenix, Arizona has become a center for Baroque art. Under the able leadership of James K. Ballinger, Director, and Thomas J. Loughman, Curator of European Art, the Phoenix Art Museum is hosting two major exhibitions of European seventeenth-century art, and for one of these, Phoenix is its sole venue. In the last decade, the museum has organized other major Baroque exhibitions, most notably in 1999 with Copper as Canvas: Two Centuries of Masterpiece Painting on Copper,... Full Review
June 12, 2007
Elizabeth Hartley, Jane Hawkes, and Martin Henig, eds.
Exh. cat. Aldershot, UK: Lund Humphries in association with York Museums Trust, 2006. 280 pp.; 250 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $100.00 (0853319286)
Exhibition schedule: Yorkshire Museum, York, March 31–October 29, 2006
Constantine is the man of the hour. The 1700th anniversary of his ascent into the ruling circle of the Roman Empire, just as the administration of shared authority instituted by Diocletian was about to break apart in civil war, is being celebrated across Europe. Rimini led off in 2005 with an important show and sumptuous catalogue (Angela Donati and Giovanni Gentili, eds., Costantino il Grande: La civiltà antica al bivio tra Occidente e Oriente, Milano: Cinisello Balsamo, 2005). The... Full Review
June 12, 2007
Jonathan Bober, ed.
Exh. cat. Milan: Silvana Editoriale in association with Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin and Palazzo Ducale, 2006. 475 pp.; 140 color ills.; 150 b/w ills. Paper $65.00 (9780977145386)
Exhibition schedule: Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, September 15, 2006–January 14, 2007; Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, March 3–July 8, 2007
The University of Texas’s spacious new Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, which opened in April 2006, recently mounted an outstanding exhibition devoted to Luca Cambiaso, the leading native-born figure in sixteenth-century Genoese painting. Organized with the Palazzo Ducale Genoa, this first monographic exhibition in fifty years was supported by a beautifully produced catalogue, in English, edited by Jonathan Bober, the show’s chief architect and the Blanton Museum’s curator of prints, drawings,... Full Review
June 7, 2007
Irene Earls
Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004. 240 pp.; 15 color ills.; 26 b/w ills. Cloth $59.95 (0313319375)
For some there is a paradox in the fact that Bob Jones University, a Christian-fundamentalist institution that bills itself as the bastion of “old-time religion” based on the absolute authority of the Bible, should be a repository for one of the best collections of Catholic art in the United States. In the words of Henry Hope, who first introduced the university’s museum to the public (“The Bob Jones University Collection of Religious Art,” Art Journal XXV, no. 2 (1965–66): 154–162),... Full Review
April 26, 2007
Michael Cole, ed.
Exh. cat. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006. 208 pp.; many b/w ills. Cloth (0271029056)
Exhibition schedule: Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, April 14–June 11, 2006; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, July 1–August 19, 2006; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, September 2–October 28, 2006
The Early Modern Painter-Etcher, curated by Madeleine Viljoen, Director of the La Salle University Art Museum, and Michael Cole, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, reexamined art-historical categories. Specifically, it looked at the ways in which painters in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries took up not just any print technique but in particular the technique of etching. The excellent catalogue,... Full Review
April 25, 2007
Carmen Giménez and Francisco Calvo Seraller
Exh. cat. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2006. 446 pp.; 222 color ills. Cloth $75.00 (8496209733)
Exhibition schedule: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, November 17, 2006–March 28, 2007
According to the curators of Spanish Painting from El Greco to Picasso: Time, Truth and History, the dominant themes of Spanish painting can be captured in fifteen categories ranging from art-historical genre (“Bodegones,” or still lifes) to those seemingly made to fit the loans received (“Flyers,” “Landscapes of Fire”). The curators took great—and controversial—license in liberating Spanish painting from the conventions of chronology, school, and patronage that usually provide the... Full Review
April 25, 2007
Peter C. Sutton
Exh. cat. Yale University Press, 2006. 256 pp.; 110 color ills.; 70 b/w ills. $65.00 (0300119704)
Exhibition schedule: Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT, December 16, 2006–January 10, 2007; Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam, February 1–April 30, 2007
Of the diverse artistic specialties that developed in the Dutch Republic during the seventeenth century, architectural painting was the last, fully emerging only during the 1650s. Interior and exterior views of major local buildings—real or imagined—along with depictions of the larger built environment of the rapidly growing Dutch cities allowed artists to celebrate national power and prosperity while examining aspects of visual experience also explored in many landscapes and genre paintings... Full Review
April 19, 2007