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

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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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Penelope Curtis, ed.
Leeds: Henry Moore Institute in association with Victoria and Albert Museum, 2005. 140 pp.; 45 color ills.; 18 b/w ills. Paper $62.95 (1900081393)
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, September 23, 2004–March 27, 2005
The recent exhibition, Depth of Field: The Place of Relief in the Time of Donatello, at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, focused on early fifteenth-century Italian relief sculptures from the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Organized by Peta Motture, Glyn Davies, and Stuart Frost at the museum and by Penelope Curtis, Martina Droth, and Stephen Feeke of the Henry Moore Institute, it was the first exhibition to focus on Italian early fifteenth-century relief sculpture, and... Full Review
March 30, 2006
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Philippe Bordes
Exh. cat. Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in association with Yale University Press, 2005. 400 pp.; 80 color ills.; 95 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0300104472)
Exhibition schedule: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, February 1–April 24, 2005; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, June 5–September 5, 2005
Although many of Jacques-Louis David’s best-known paintings are in French public collections, over the past century U.S. institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Getty Museum, and the Clark Art Institute have managed to snap up significant works by the artist. The presence in the United States of these images, which date mainly from the Napoleonic Empire and David’s period of post-Napoleonic exile in Brussels, was the stimulus... Full Review
March 15, 2006
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Alanna Heiss, Klaus Biesenbach, and Glenn D. Lowry
Long Island City, NY: P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, 2005. 392 pp. Cloth (0870709879)
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, March 13–September 26, 2005
On the evening I attended the Greater New York 2005 exhibition at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, I was surprised to find that the line queuing around the block was not there to see the works of one hundred and sixty of New York’s freshest artistic talents hanging in the galleries, halls, stairwells, bathrooms, and boiler room, but was waiting to join the mass of bodies slowly packing into the building’s courtyard. As it turns out, on summer Saturday nights P.S.1 hosts... Full Review
March 8, 2006
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The themes of parent-child relationships, migration, and colonialism resonate throughout the exhibition spaces of the two-pronged Venice Biennale, as well as in the national pavilions. Curated by María de Corral, the Experience of Art at the Giardini and the Italian Pavilion joins forces with Always a Little Further, curated by Rosa Martínez at the Arsenale, to engage visitors in an overall exhibition that cuts across several countries and time periods. Despite the often... Full Review
March 1, 2006