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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

Evelyn Benesch
Vienna: BA-CA Kunstforum in association with Fondation Beyeler, 2004. 204 pp.; 111 color ills.; 24 b/w ills. Paper $30.00
BA-CA Kunstforum, Vienna, April 6–July 24, 2005; Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, August 7–November 25, 2005
René Magritte’s art has attracted much attention in the past few years. Following 1999’s Magritte in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Humlebaek, Denmark, and the monumental exhibition in the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2003, a new series of Magritte exhibitions attempts to place the Belgian artist into the spotlight of public interest, responding to new developments in art theory and to new ways of thinking about Surrealism. René Magritte: Der Schlüssel der Träume (The Key of... Full Review
June 29, 2005
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John J. Herrmann
Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2003. 215 pp.; 207 color ills.; 10 b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (0878466819)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., July 21–November 28, 2004
A strong interest in the ancient Olympics on the part of both scholars and the general public has led several museums abroad to mount exhibitions exploring the artistic and archaeological evidence for Greek sports. The return of the Olympics to Greece in summer 2004 provided the impetus for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), to present Games for the Gods: The Greek Athlete and the Olympic Spirit, the first exhibition in the United States to rival shows such as Mind and Body:... Full Review
June 21, 2005
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David Roxburgh, ed.
Royal Academy of Arts, 2005. 496 pp.; many color ills.; 375 ills. Cloth (1903973562)
Royal Academy of Arts, London, January 22–April 12, 2005
Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600–1600 is an ambitious and highly informative exhibition. With 376 items on display from 53 lending institutions—such is the wealth of material that it is hard to believe it took barely fifteen months to assemble—the show constitutes an important part of a program of all things Turkish in London. The aim is to unravel the cultural origins of the Ottomans (or the Turks, as Ottomans were commonly known in the West), but soon it becomes clear that... Full Review
May 27, 2005
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Zachary Ross
Exh. cat. Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, 2003. 86 pp.; 19 color ills.; 27 b/w ills. $24.95 (0937031259)
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., October 20, 2004–February 6, 2005
A mysterious illness spread throughout the United States following the end of the Civil War. Symptoms varied from person to person but generally included diminished powers of concentration, decreased appetite, and overall decline in the level of physical energy. The Boston medical doctor George Beard identified the disease as neurasthenia, or nervous exhaustion, in 1869 and attributed its sudden appearance to rapid urbanization and industrialization. In the decades following Beard’s... Full Review
May 9, 2005
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Anne-Marie Logan
Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2005. 344 pp.; 145 color ills.; 151 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0300104944)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, January 15–April 3, 2005
The medallions on the monumental facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art contain the names of, among other great artists, Rembrandt and Diego Velázquez. But if one looks for the name of the greatest master of the Flemish Baroque, Peter Paul Rubens, one will have searched in vain. Although Ruben’s paintings, oil sketches, and drawings lay within reach of the most important American collectors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they apparently avoided buying them. For... Full Review
April 29, 2005
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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Calif., November 12, 2004–March 13, 2005
The cadences of an auctioneer greet the visitor to an exhibition of Rachel Harrison’s work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but this is not Sotheby’s. It’s a low-rent auction. The bids come in one- and two-dollar increments, and there are no British accents. Intrigued by the galloping voice, you discover its source: a towering, amorphous, silvery blue, concrete mass entitled Hail to Reason. Although vaguely resembling Auguste Rodin’s Monument to Balzac in its tall,... Full Review
April 26, 2005
Chiyo Ishikawa, ed.
Exh. cat. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum in association with University of Nebraska Press, 2004. 300 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (0803225059)
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Wash., October 16, 2004–January 2, 2005; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Fla., February 2, 2005–May 1, 2005
It has been a long time since a major American museum has undertaken an exhibition of Spanish art, and none has tackled as ambitious a subject as Spain in the Age of Exploration, 1492–1819. Organized by the Seattle Art Museum and Spain’s Patrimonio Nacional, the exhibition has a strong thematic content that is presented thoughtfully in a handsome catalogue and in the display of some one hundred rare objects. Most of the works are drawn from the Spanish royal collection, and many have... Full Review
April 25, 2005
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William H. Van Every, Jr., Gallery, Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., January 20–February 27, 2005
Quietly stirring within the walls of Davidson College’s Van Every Gallery is war, violence, and sadness. It is a welcome surprise for the Charlotte region, whose most controversial dialogue on art tends to concern which Impressionist exhibition to visit. Although Davidson College consistently presents reputable but safe artists, the gallery’s director, Brad Thomas, has here curated a show that provides the public with artwork taking on substantive subject matter. The exhibition... Full Review
April 21, 2005
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, Calif., November 16, 2004–February 27, 2005
Time/Space, Gravity, and Light, which complements Einstein, the major science-history exhibition on view at the Skirball Cultural Center through May 29, 2005, showcases recent digital art and multimedia installations that explore the same physical phenomena that captivated Albert Einstein throughout his life. The projects in Time/Space also embrace the world made possible by quantum mechanical devices, such as computers and electronics, which Einstein never knew. Glenn... Full Review
April 19, 2005
Karl Bassil, Zeina Maasri, and Akram Zaatari
Exh. cat. Beirut: The Arab Image Foundation, 2001. 250 pp.; 840 ills. $35.00 (9953000581)
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium, May 2002; Die Photographische Sammlung, Cologne, Germany, September 2002; Kunsternes Hus, Oslo, Norway, February, 2003; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, March 2003; World Wide Video Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 2003; VideoBrasil Festival, São Paulo, Brazil, October 2003; Centro de Mariana, Toledo, Spain, November 2003; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece, January 2004; Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon, France, March 2004; Centre pour l’Image Contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland, April 2004; Beiteddine Festival, Lebanon, July 2004; Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, January 11–April 2, 2005; Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Ill., April 15–June 5, 2005; Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, Ore., August 23–September 25, 2005
Visually compelling and intellectually sophisticated, Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography, A Project by Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari presented a wealth of photographic materials from the collection of the Beirut-based Arab Image Foundation (AIF). Embracing current theoretical approaches to the display of visual culture, the exhibition, curated by two artists, offered a richly textured and highly nuanced picture of Arab photography and its relationship to questions of... Full Review
April 8, 2005
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