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

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Exhibition schedule: Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, MA, September 9–December 10, 2006
Of the myriad exhibitions mounted worldwide to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth, Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique at Harvard University’s Busch-Reisinger Museum stands out for its serious consideration of the very basis for such celebrations: the category of genius. Ivan Gaskell, Margaret S. Winthrop Curator in the Department of Painting, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts; William Robinson, Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings at the Fogg Art... Full Review
April 18, 2007
Camille Morineau, ed.
Exh. cat. Paris: Editions du Centre Pompidou, 2006. 320 pp.; 260 color ills.; 130 b/w ills. Cloth (2844263046)
Exhibition schedule: Centre Pompidou, Paris, October 5, 2006–February 5, 2007; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, March 9–June 3, 2007
If large-scale exhibitions are a measure of an artist’s lasting success, then Yves Klein has admittedly fared better than some of his more neglected French peers. This is the third major exhibition of Klein’s work in a Paris museum since his death in 1962, and the second exhibition the Pompidou Center has devoted to the artist. Perhaps best known for his signature International Klein Blue (IKB) two-and-three dimensional works and his Anthropométries (1960–61), paintings resulting from... Full Review
April 18, 2007
Holly Flora
Exh. cat. New York: The Frick Collection, 2006. 52 pp.; 42 color ills.; 1 b/w ills. $15.95 (001912114339)
Exhibition schedule: Frick Collection, New York, October 3–December 31, 2006
Over the last few years, our knowledge of Tuscan painting in the late duecento has expanded considerably. In Siena, the recent unveiling of frescoes in the crypt of the cathedral has challenged our assumptions about late medieval Italian art. Previously unknown panel paintings have come to light as well, among them a dazzling small panel of the Enthroned Virgin and Child, recently acquired from a private collection by the National Gallery in London, and attributed to Cimabue by the National... Full Review
April 17, 2007
Exhibition schedule: September 4–November 12, 2006
What if every new biennale mattered? Take Belief, for instance, the inaugural Singapore effort, which opened in September 2006. Headed by Fumio Nanjo, the new director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, Belief was curated by Nanjo and his three appointees: Roger McDonald, deputy director of Arts Initiative Tokyo; Sharmini Pereira, an independent curator based in London and Sri Lanka, and founder of Raking Leaves publishing; and Eugene Tan, director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts... Full Review
April 12, 2007
Richard Armstrong
Exh. cat. Ghent, Belgium and Los Angeles: Ludion and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2006. 256 pp.; 250 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9055446211)
Exhibition schedule: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 19, 2006–March 4, 2007
Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images. Essays by Richard Armstrong, Stephanie Barron, Roberta Bernstein, Sara Cochran, Michel Draguet, Thierry de Duve, Pepe Karmel, Theresa Papanikolas, Noëllie Roussel, Dickran Tashjian, Lynn Zelevansky. Ghent and Los Angeles: Ludion and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2006. 256 pp; 250 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. $60.00 (cloth) (9055446211) The impetus behind the exhibition Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of... Full Review
April 12, 2007
Exhibition schedule: Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, October 7–December 24, 2006; Sendai Mediatheque, Sendai, Japan, April 13–May 19, 2007; Museum of Modern Art, Hayama, Japan, June 9–September 2, 2007. The show is expected to be offered at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2008, probably in a modified form.
In Japan, Toyo Ito (born 1941) is considered one of the most important figures in post-War Japanese architecture. Based in Tokyo, he has valued both theory and practice, and has used each of them to perceptively articulate the implications of social change. In the 1970s, Ito reflected Japan’s technological enthusiasm, originally calling his firm URBOT, an abbreviation of “Urban Robot.” His work of this period ultimately culminated in Silver Hut, a high-tech aluminum home for his family, where... Full Review
February 6, 2007
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, January 27–December 31, 2006
It is unusual but probably auspicious for an exhibition to last from January to December, as Tradition and Transformation: Japanese Art 1860–1940 does. Presenting visually compelling images and well-documented histories, the exhibition offers a revealing glimpse into the formative decades of Japan’s emergence as a modernizing nation. The Museum of Fine Arts’ collecting of Japanese art can be traced back to the late nineteenth century, and is deeply indebted to the insight and... Full Review
January 30, 2007
Sponsored by Creative Time. Exhibition schedule: 529 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, October 1–December 10, 2006

Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz navigates the unstable border between art and life. Among his well-known interventions are the ongoing paraSITE series in which he collaborates with urban homeless to design portable housing shelters that can be hooked up to a building’s exterior ventilation system (a working example was included in MoMA’s 2005 exhibition Safe: Design Takes on Risk) and 2001’s Rise, in which Rakowitz extended a duct from a nearby Chinese bakery into... Full Review
January 29, 2007
Exhibition schedule: Norwich Gallery, Norwich School of Art and Design, Norwich, England, July 8–August 9, 2006
EAST International, the open-submission exhibition that takes place annually in and around Norwich School of Art and Design, displayed its well-earned self-confidence in 2006, when programming material boasted that, “The trust of artists in the democratic structure of an open exhibition has enabled EAST to become an annual challenge to the expertise of the contemporary art establishment. Not a bad achievement for a small art school gallery in a provincial city.” Perhaps to find... Full Review
January 25, 2007
Bruno Chenique and Sylvie Ramond, eds.
Exh. cat. Paris: Editions Hazan, 2007. 240 pp.; 173 color ills.; 38 b/w ills. Paper €35.00 (2754100989)
Exhibition schedule: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, April 21–July 31, 2006
Wall texts and labels in museum exhibitions, often written in bland and impersonal prose, tend to obscure the voice of the curator. The exhibition Géricault: La Folie d’un Monde provides a glorious exception to the rule. Bruno Chenique, an independent scholar and author of numerous publications about Théodore Géricault, develops his thesis not only in the exhibition’s catalogue (which is often the venue reserved for more theoretical art history in the present museum climate) but also,... Full Review
January 24, 2007