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

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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
Peter Parshall and Rainer Schoch
National Gallery of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2005. 371 pp.; 177 color ills.; 53 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300113390)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., September 4–November 27, 2005; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, December 14, 2005–March 19, 2006
When Peter Parshall authored his standard work, The Renaissance Print, 1470–1550 (with David Landau; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), critical readers noted one significant omission: the earliest century of woodcuts before the generation of Albrecht Dürer. Perhaps it was because those works offered stark outlines and relatively little interior modeling, though they frequently were also colored to enhance their naturalism. Now the missing link has been forged. Drawing from... Full Review
February 17, 2006
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John House, Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, and Jennifer Hardin
Exh. cat. St. Petersburg and Gent, Belgium: Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg in association with Snoeck, 2005. 206 pp. $35.00 (9053495452)
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Fla., January 16–April 24, 2005; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, N.Y., May 27–September 4, 2005; Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts, Baltimore, Md., October 2–December 31, 2005
At first glance this exhibition seemed misnamed, since, far from focusing exclusively on Monet, it presented a diverse group of dozens of artists and image-makers including European and American painters, printmakers, and photographers, all of whom were fascinated by the River Thames. A catalogue entry by the exhibition organizer, Jennifer Hardin, chief curator at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, explains that the original motivation for the exhibition was the museum’s own Monet,... Full Review
January 23, 2006
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Joachim Pissarro
Museum of Modern Art, 2005. 256 pp.; 92 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Paper $40.00 (0870701851)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, June 26–September 12, 2005; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, October 20, 2005–January 16, 2006; Musée d’Orsay, Paris, February 27–May 28, 2006
The Museum of Modern Art’s Cézanne & Pissarro: Pioneering Modern Painting is the latest in a spate of recent shows focused on the theme of collaboration between a pair of modern artists.[1] Yet even if the theme and subject it proposes to examine is not new, the body of work assembled and shown together for the first time in this retrospective overview of the nearly twenty-year period that Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro were in closest dialogue is undeniably impressive.[2] The... Full Review
January 16, 2006
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Pieter Biesboer
Waanders, 2004. 144 pp.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (9040090068)
Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, November 27, 2004–April 4, 2005; Kunsthaus Zürich, April 22–August 22, 2005; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., September 18–December 31, 2005
It is perhaps not surprising that the exhibition of the still lifes of Pieter Claesz. at the National Gallery in Washington is the first monographic show devoted to this artist. As a friend commented on paging through the catalogue, “His works are rather all of a piece, aren’t they?” It is very likely that more than one curator has turned away from the idea of such a show out of concern that the public might find the work too much alike to sustain interest. It is undeniably true that Claesz.... Full Review
January 10, 2006
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Jean Frémon and Antoni Tàpies
Exh. cat. Klosterneuberg, Austria: Edition Sammlung Essl Privatstiftung, 2005.
Sammlung Essl: Kunst der Gegenwart, Klosterneuburg, June 24, 2005–October 23, 2005
In this exhibition, Klosterneuburg’s Essl Collection—dedicated since 1995 to the dissemination of contemporary art—brings the Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies and the Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer together for the first time, thereby creating a unique encounter between their respective oeuvres. Conceived by collector Karlheinz Essl, whose collection contains most of the ninety-plus works on display, the exhibition was curated by Jean Frémon, a co-director of Paris’s Galerie Lelong and a long-time... Full Review
December 16, 2005
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