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

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Yevgenia Petrova, ed.
St. Petersburg: Palace Editions, State Russian Museum, 2005. 152 pp.; 155 color ills.; 9 b/w ills. Cloth (0967845130)
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE, June 4–September 14, 2005; Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN, October 8–December 31, 2005; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ, February 25–June 11, 2006
The exhibition Mir Iskusstva: Russia’s Age of Elegance at the Princeton University Art Museum coincides with several recent exhibitions on aspects of Russian art, mostly contemporary, that have been inspired by last year’s big Russia! show at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. The Princeton exhibition stands out, however, as a crucially important addition to the Guggenheim blockbuster, because it represents a major historic epoch in Russian art and culture that was almost overlooked... Full Review
June 8, 2006
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Paola Antonelli
Museum of Modern Art, 2005. 216 pp.; 325 color ills. Paper (0870705806)
Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 16, 2005–January 2, 2006
SAFE: Design Takes on Risk managed to organize an unwieldy set of objects ranging from respirators for firemen, giant foil bags for temporary housing, manhole covers, and even disposable sheets for prostitutes who have to make beds on the fly. While curators Paola Antonelli and Patricia Juncosa Vecchierini divided the exhibition into categories, it was the theme of safety and security, real or imagined, that unified the exhibition. The central problem the exhibition addresses is the... Full Review
June 8, 2006
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To Delight the Eye is a charming exhibition of six major paintings and twenty-four drawings donated to the Fogg Art Museum by the Harvard alumnus Charles E. Dunlap (1889–1966). The exhibition, mounted by Alvin L. Clark, Jr., the Jeffery E. Horvitz Research Curator in the Department of Drawings at the Fogg, focuses primarily on artworks produced during the reigns of Louis XV (r. 1715–74) and his successor, Louis XVI (r. 1774–93), but extends into the nineteenth century with drawings by... Full Review
June 1, 2006
James Billington, Lidia Iovleva, and Robert Rosenblum
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2005. 426 pp.; 300 color ills. Cloth
Guggenheim Museum, New York, September 16, 2005–January 11, 2006
Russia! is the most comprehensive exhibition of Russian art since the end of the Cold War, and it presents an exciting journey through nine centuries of artistic development. The exhibition is the product of a collaboration between the Guggenheim Museum and three museums in Russia: the State Hermitage Museum, the State Russian Museum (both in St. Petersburg), and Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. Private collections, museums, and galleries in Russia, Europe, and the United States... Full Review
May 30, 2006
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Robert Storr
Museum of Modern Art, 2005. 236 pp.; 150 ills. Cloth $55.00 (0870704931)
Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 23, 2005–January 9, 2006
Art history has never quite known what to do with artists who do not neatly fit into categorical styles or schools of thought. Certainly before the pluralistic 1970s, but especially in the ensuing decades of postmodernism, curators, gallerists, and historians who interpreted art tended to do so by comparing works, seeking points of invention and similarity over difference. Elizabeth Murray is one of those idiosyncratic artists (others, mostly women, come to mind—Louise Bourgeois,... Full Review
May 17, 2006
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Jessica Dallow and Barbara Matilsky
Chapel Hill: Ackland Art Museum in association with University of Washington Press, 2005. 144 pp.; 51 color ills.; 2 b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (9780295985640)
Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC, December 18–March 26, 2006; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA, April 30–September 2006; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, October 21, 2006–January 7, 2007; Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, January 30–April 22, 2007
Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley and Alison Saar is the first major exhibition to feature together the artwork of this mother and two daughters. The fifty mixed-media pieces span over forty years of work (1964–2005) and embody multiple legacies: personal, familial, cultural, and artistic. Overall, the exhibition presents visually provocative and historically significant work, and succeeds in drawing informative connections between the pieces without minimizing each artist’s... Full Review
May 17, 2006
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Harry Cooper and Megan R. Luke
Exh. cat. Yale University Press in association with Harvard University Art Museums, 2006. 168 pp.; 59 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. $34.95 (0300109172)
Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA, February 4–May 7, 2006; Menil Collection, Houston, TX, May 25–August 20, 2006; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, September 9–December 31, 2006
Frank Stella’s place in the pantheon of postwar U.S. art is in little doubt. From his appearance in Sixteen Americans (1959) at MoMA until his February 1966 solo show at Leo Castelli Gallery (which received several damning reviews, especially from younger artists like Mel Bochner), Stella was arguably the center of the New York art world. What made him so compelling was the very ambiguity of his art. It was most definitely painting, but it also verged towards the sculptural. So much so... Full Review
May 15, 2006
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Ann Yonemura
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2006. 251 pp. Cloth (1588342395)
Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan, October 25–December 4, 2005. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. March 4–May 14, 2006
Though he is best known in the West as a master of landscape printmaking, Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) not only designed prints of every subject, he also illustrated books and painted works ranging from formal screens and hanging scrolls to studies and sketches. The previously limited view of his art as a printmaker will be overturned by this exhibition, which provides an unprecedented opportunity to view the full range of Hokusai’s painting and to fully appreciate the diversity and talent... Full Review
May 3, 2006
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Nihon Keiza Shimbun, Inc. and Yuriko Iwakiri, eds.
Japan: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 2005. 400 pp. Paper (1588342395)
Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, Japan, October 25–December 4, 2005. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. March 4–May 14, 2006
The historic exhibition Hokusai contains almost 500 works (about 310 woodblock prints, 130 paintings, 40 published books, and 20 drawings) by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), arguably the best-known Japanese artist outside Japan and the creator of the Great Wave (ca. 1831). According to the Tokyo National Museum press materials, there had been one other Hokusai exhibition of this scale, which was in Vienna in 1901. However, the exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum reflected a... Full Review
May 3, 2006
David Moos, ed.
Art Gallery of Ontario, 2005. 124 pp.; 39 color ills. $34.95 (1894243455)
Exhibition Schedule: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, June 1–August 7, 2005
Louis Grachos and Claire Schneider
Exh. cat. Buffalo: 2005. 132 pp.; 114 color ills. Cloth $40.00 (1887457062)
Exhibition schedule: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, July 15–October 2, 2005 Louis Grachos and Claire Schneider.
This past summer, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, inspired by the history and legacies of their collections and even the buildings that house them, focused on abstraction—each with a major exhibition and accompanying publication: The Shape of Colour: Excursions in Colour Field Art, 1950–2005 at the AGO and Extreme Abstraction at the Albright-Knox. Responding to a bemused critic in a statement to the New York... Full Review
March 30, 2006
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