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

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Eik Kahng, ed.
Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum, 2007. 200 pp.; 164 color ills.; 36 b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (9780911886689)
Exhibition schedule: Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, October 7, 2007–January 1, 2008; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, January 20–May 4, 2008
The exhibition Déjà Vu? Revealing Repetition in French Masterpieces at the Walters Art Museum challenges many of the assumptions that both scholars and the general public have about the importance of the original in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French art. Beginning with Jacques-Louis David and ending with Henri Matisse, the exhibition investigates the variety of ways that artists engaged in the act of replicating their works of art. From studio copies, to prints for... Full Review
December 19, 2007
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Doryun Chong and Yasmil Raymond, eds.
Exh. cat. Minneapolis, Minn.: Walker Art Center, 2007. 272 pp.; 429 color ills.; 466 b/w ills. Paper $39.95 (9780935640892)
Exhibition schedule: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, October 4, 2007–February 17, 2008
Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1932 as a frightening vision of a consumerist future; thirty years later he concluded that the world was approximating Brave New World much faster than he anticipated. In his satirical and sinister novel, warfare and poverty have been eliminated, but also family, culture, art, literature, science, religion, and philosophy. In their place, Soma, a powerful drug provided by the “World State,” is taken to escape reality through hallucinatory... Full Review
December 12, 2007
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Antoinette Le Normand-Romain and Christina Buley-Uribe
London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 2007. 440 pp.; 373 ills. Cloth $34.95 (0500238359)
Catherine Lampert and Antoinette Le Normand-Romain
Exh. cat. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2006. 320 pp.; 370 color ills. Cloth $85.00 (9781903973660)
Exhibition schedule: Royal Academy of Arts, London, September 23, 2006–January 1, 2007; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, February 9–May 13, 2007
Auguste Rodin enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Great Britain, relishing the company of admiring patrons and fellow artists and exhibiting his work to laudatory reviews. Shortly before his death, he donated eighteen sculptures to the state—the only such donation he made during his lifetime. It comes as no surprise, then, that the British have honored his work in grand retrospectives, including two organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain at the Hayward Gallery in 1970 and... Full Review
November 15, 2007
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Madeleine Grynsztejn, ed.
Exh. cat. San Francisco and London: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in association with Thames and Hudson, 2007. 276 pp.; 200 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (0500093407)
Exhibition schedule: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, September 8, 2007–February 24, 2008; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, April 20–June 30, 2008; Dallas Museum of Art, November 9, 2008–March 15, 2009; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, summer, 2009
The first work of Olafur Eliasson’s that one encounters upon entering the atrium lobby of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is an ordinary fan swinging wildly just overhead. Mesmerizing and a bit menacing at the same time, the work, titled Ventilator (1997), serves as an introduction to a series of meticulously choreographed interactive installations that comprise the artist’s first major U.S. survey exhibition. I experienced a similar sense of heightened awareness when I visited... Full Review
October 29, 2007
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Hoi-chiu Tang
Exh. cat. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2007. 204 pp.; 115 ills. HKD 168.00 (96221520410)
Exhibition schedule: Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, April 4–June 3, 2007
A Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting: The Art of Lin Fengmian was jointly organized by the Shanghai Art Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The long-awaited exhibition consisted of paintings from the two museums as well as private collections. On display were the artist’s paintings from the 1930s to the 1980s. This retrospective presented Lin’s technical virtuosity and innovative spirit and reaffirmed his artistic authority in twentieth-century Chinese art. Lin Fengmian was born... Full Review
October 18, 2007
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Alain Tapié and Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot
Exh. cat. Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2007. 328 pp.; 179 color ills.; 36 b/w ills. Paper Euros 45.00 (9782711852420)
Exhibition schedule: Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, France, April 27, 2007–August 15, 2007; Musée Rath, Geneva, Switzerland, September 20, 2007–January 13, 2008
Compared to his contemporaries such as Nicolas Poussin and Georges de la Tour, Philippe de Champaigne remains the one great painter of seventeenth-century France who has attracted little scholarly attention. Most scholarship reduces Champaigne’s artistic production to his portraits of Cardinal Richelieu and to his involvement with the Benedictine Convent of Port-Royal, seen as the stronghold of Jansenism in France and to which he gave his famous Ex-Voto (1662, cat. 57). Champaigne... Full Review
October 16, 2007
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SITE Santa Fe
Exh. cat. Santa Fe, NM: SITE Santa Fe, 2007. 96 pp.; 42 color ills.; 2 b/w ills. Cloth $20.00 (9780976449256)
Exhibition schedule: SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM, February 10–May 13, 2007
Gelderland, Australian artist Stephen Bush's recent exhibition at SITE Santa Fe, revealed him to be someone who both embraces and perverts the academic training he received at the Royal Melbourne Institute in the 1970s. Simply put, Bush’s work examines the absurdity of rehearsing those academic conventions in the early twenty-first century on a continent straddling the Indian and Pacific oceans. Bush's postcolonial self-awareness is itself simultaneously romanticized and... Full Review
October 16, 2007
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Richard Rand
Exh. cat. Williamstown, MA and New Haven, CT: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in association with Yale University Press, 2006. 228 pp.; 137 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. $55.00 (0300104804)
Exhibition schedule: Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, October 14, 2006–January 14, 2007; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, February 4–April 29, 2007; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., May 27–August 12, 2007
The superb exhibition Claude Lorrain—The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum could hardly have been more timely. There has not been an exhibition devoted to Claude in the United States since the landmark 1982 retrospective at the National Gallery (H. Diane Russell, Claude Lorrain, 1600–1682, Washington, D.C.: National Gallery, 1982). To formulate the current exhibition, Clark senior curator Richard Rand relied principally on the British Museum, which holds an... Full Review
October 11, 2007
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Exhibition schedule: Getty Research Institute Gallery, The Getty Center, Los Angeles, July 10–October 7, 2007
For over fifteen years Peggy Phelan’s astute characterization of performance art has remained persuasive. This is due in equal parts to the elegance of her formulation and to the radical social possibilities her understanding of the medium implies and permits. “Performance’s only life,” Phelan contends, “is in the present. Performance cannot,” she continues, “be saved, recorded, documented, or otherwise participate in the circulation of representations of representations: once it does... Full Review
October 4, 2007
Exhibition schedule: Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, June 7–September 16, 2007
The Smart Museum bears a long tradition of exhibiting the art of early twentieth-century Germany, a period of remarkable cultural, political, and social transformation. Exhibitions such as The German Print Portfolio, 1890–1930: Serials from a Private Sphere (1993) and Confronting Identities in German Art: Myths, Reactions, Reflections (2003) have explored different manifestations of this change across several themes, from the portfolio as a medium for visualizing personal... Full Review
September 25, 2007