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

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Centre Pompidou, Paris, February 26–March 6, 2016
What might dance achieve in a museum is the guiding question of choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s exhibition Work/Travail/Arbeid at the Centre Pompidou. Embedded within that broad question are several, more specific, strands: How might dance change perceptions of time and space? What defines dance as a medium? What remains after the exhibition? Such issues are endemic to a long-standing, sophisticated conversation about the possibilities of contemporary dance in museums (see,... Full Review
October 13, 2016
Charlotte Cotton, ed.
Exh. cat. London: MACK, 2014. 192 pp.; 300 color ills. Paper $50.00 (9781910164136 )
Exhibition schedule: DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, October 24, 2014–March 2, 2015; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, May 14, 2015–September 6, 2015; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, October 15, 2015–January 15, 2016; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, February 12–June 5, 2016
In its opening wall text, the exhibition This Place claims to grapple with “the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor,” and includes a dozen internationally acclaimed photographers in an effort to accomplish this feat. Nevertheless, in my view, a sense of apprehension regarding the loose mobilization of “place and metaphor” pervades. Certainly, multiple voices seem appropriate for engaging the discursive potential of this immensely fractured and intensely... Full Review
October 12, 2016
Gabriela Rangel and Jorge F. Rivas Pérez, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Americas Society, 2015. 280 pp.; 124 color ills.; 97 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (1879128799)
Exhibition schedule: Americas Society, New York, February 11–May 16, 2015; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, October 11, 2015–January 17, 2016
The exhibition Moderno: Design for Living in Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, 1940–1978 is a significant contribution to the study of modernisms and their relationship to processes of modernization. It focuses on domestic design in countries undergoing rapid change due to investments in infrastructure and economic growth, driven by the developmentalist policies of their governments. The home features as an important laboratory for design, where modernist ideologies with broad social... Full Review
October 5, 2016
Austin: Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, December 12, 2015–April 3, 2016
It is rare for an exhibition to be devoted to a single medieval manuscript. Such a display is impractical, if not impossible, given the fact that in most cases only one opening of a manuscript can be viewed at a time. Thus the display and exhibition of nearly every bifolio of one of the most sumptuously illuminated medieval manuscripts in a single exhibition—The Crusader Bible: A Gothic Masterpiece at the Blanton Museum of Art—represents an extraordinary opportunity to see a... Full Review
September 1, 2016
Vicenza, Italy: Palladio Museum, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: September 23, 2015–March 28, 2016
Despite the richness of the country’s architectural heritage, museums devoted exclusively to architecture are rare in Italy; equally infrequent are exhibitions dedicated to understanding the building processes and principal protagonists responsible for shaping Italy’s historic landscape. The Palladio Museum in Vicenza is a notable exception. Since its establishment in 2012, the museum has proven itself to be an institution of international importance, promoting the study of Andrea... Full Review
August 18, 2016
Catherine Craft, ed.
Exh. cat. Dallas: Nasher Sculpture Center, 2015. 208 pp.; 96 color ills.; 56 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780991233830)
Exhibition schedule: Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, January 31–May 10, 2015; Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, September 1, 2015–January 10, 2016; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, February 12, 2016–May 8, 2016
Melvin Edwards’s work picks up where the traditional medium of sculpture—until the 1960s, associated with the production of anthropomorphic figures in the round—left off. The beginning of his career coincides almost exactly with Minimalism’s expansive redefinition of sculpture to include any three-dimensional object classifiable as art. While Donald Judd and Robert Morris were exhibiting their first stripped-down, spatially commanding objects in 1963–64, Edwards was learning to weld. Thirty... Full Review
August 11, 2016
Exh. cat. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2016. 264 pp. $70.00 (9781776560547)
Exhibition schedule: City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, August 22–November 2, 2015; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand, March 5–June 19, 2016; Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch, New Zealand, July 9–November 6, 2016
A survey of thirty years’ work by one of New Zealand’s most prolific photographers required agonies of curatorial selection. Fiona Pardington and curator Aaron Lister collaborated for over two years, choosing works not only from institutional and private collections but also from boxes unearthed from under beds. Inevitably, curation becomes an exercise in synecdoche; each selection is a tip-of-the-iceberg gesture standing in for some facet of an extensive oeuvre. The combination of... Full Review
August 4, 2016
Judy Annear
Exh. cat. Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2015. 304 pp.; 400 ills. Paper $75.00 (9781741741162)
Exhibition schedule: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, March 21–June 8, 2015; Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, July 4–October 11, 2015
The Photograph and Australia brings together over five hundred photographs from major Australian collections of historical and contemporary works. These images have never been seen together before, coming as they do from libraries, museums, and art galleries, each with a different concept of the photograph and its use. This diversity is a particularly poignant aspect of an exhibition that overwhelms us with the common evidentiary power of photography. At the same time, The... Full Review
August 4, 2016
Philipp Kaiser, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Prestel, 2015. 152 pp.; 116 color ills. Cloth $39.95 (9783791354866)
Exhibition schedule: Brandywine River Museum of Art, Chadds Ford, PA, August 8–November 15, 2015
Visitors to the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s Things Beyond Resemblance: James Welling Photographs who are new to Welling’s work might be surprised to discover, on the basis of the visible evidence gathered, that this artist first came to public note associated with (if not quite trading in) an appropriative photographic language at pains to estrange itself from both photography’s claims to inspired worldly reference and the fruit of art-historical influence. Here that... Full Review
July 28, 2016
Peter Fuhring, Louis Marchesano, Rémi Mathis, and Vanessa Selbach, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and Paris: Getty Publications in association with Bibliothèque nationale de France , 2015. 344 pp.; 51 color ills.; 138 b/w ills. Cloth $80.00 (9781606064504)
Exhibition schedule: Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, June 16–September 6, 2015; Bibliothèque nationale de France, November 2, 2015–January 31 2016 (under the title Images du Grand Siècle: l’estampe française sous Louis XIV, 1660–1715)
This review will examine the exhibition of French prints at the Getty Research Institute from June to September 2015, and its companion volume, A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV. There is some divergence between the contents of the exhibition and the book, which is not strictly speaking a catalogue: the grouping of subjects in the exhibition differs somewhat from the arrangement in the volume, while some images in the exhibition are not featured in the book,... Full Review
July 28, 2016