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

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Dell Upton
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 280 pp.; 59 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780300211757)
Within years after the end of Reconstruction (the period from 1863 to 1877 during which the federal government controlled states of the former Confederacy and African Americans attained fundamental rights of citizenship), supporters of the Confederacy began commemorating its short-lived existence, its soldiers, and the “Lost Cause” interpretation of the Civil War by placing monuments throughout the South. For the most part, these monuments stood uncontested until the 1970s, when activists and... Full Review
February 1, 2017
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Lisa Saltzman
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. 232 pp.; 48 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (9780226242033)
Lisa Saltzman’s Daguerreotypes: Fugitive Subjects, Contemporary Objects distinguishes itself from most theories of photography, both in content and approach, via a lucid analysis that considers the characteristics of photography less as unique to one medium than as qualities that migrate. She brings together heterogeneous objects that share a distinctive relation to time, identity, and memory, such as Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home (2006), W. G. Sebald’s novel... Full Review
January 26, 2017
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Arthur J. DiFuria, ed.
Visual Culture in Early Modernity. New York: Routledge, 2016. 208 pp.; 64 color ills. Cloth $149.95 (9781472449146)
Genre Imagery in Early Modern Northern Europe: New Perspectives, edited by Arthur J. DiFuria, consists of eight essays on the topic. DiFuria’s own introduction is followed by two studies addressing genre painting during the sixteenth century, and, thereafter, five that explore this artistic phenomenon during the seventeenth century, though mainly in the Dutch Republic. According to DiFuria, scholars engaged in the study of genre imagery must contend with its reception, origins, and... Full Review
January 25, 2017
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Donald Albrecht, ed.
Exh. cat. San Francisco: Contemporary Jewish Museum, 2014. 185 pp.; Many color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780991641109)
Exhibition schedule: Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, April 24–October 6, 2014; Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York, March 30, 2015–January 18, 2016
The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco offered a fresh take on the popular topic of twentieth-century domestic design with its 2014 exhibition Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism, organized by the eminent curator Donald Albrecht. This exhibition is part of a spate of shows that has addressed the architecture and design of the period. An exhibition devoted to Charles and Ray Eames is currently making international rounds to various design museums—organized by the... Full Review
January 25, 2017
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Omar Kholeif, ed.
Exh. cat. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2016. 272 pp.; 200 color ills. Paper $45.00 (9780854882465)
Exhibition schedule: Whitechapel Gallery, London, January 29–May 15, 2016
Ingesting Electronic Superhighway: From Experiments in Art and Technology to Art After the Internet brought about the familiar experience of an overdose one might have after seeing an art fair or large-scale biennial. This ambitious exhibition, covering fifty years of digital culture and curated by Omar Kholeif, considered how the world’s ceaseless flow of electronic information and unrelenting proliferation of images have come to impact contemporary art. In her introduction to the... Full Review
January 19, 2017
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Alessandra Russo, Gerhard Wolf, and Diana Fane, eds.
Munich: Hirmer Publishers, 2016. 500 pp.; 350 color ills. Cloth $75.00 (9783777420639)
Exhibition schedule: Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City, March 24–June 19, 2011
In their scholarly and visually magnificent book Images Take Flight: Feather Art In Mexico and Europe 1400–1700, the editors—Alessandra Russo, associate professor in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University; Gerhard Wolf, director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz–Max-Planck-Institute and honorary professor at the Humbodt-Universität zu Berlin; and Diana Fane, curator emerita at the Brooklyn Museum—have selected and carefully arranged... Full Review
January 18, 2017
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Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin
, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015. 368 pp.; 164 color ills. Paper $45.00 (9781606064405)
Exhibition schedule: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, March 14–June 21, 2015; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, July 28–November 1, 2015; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, December 13, 2015–March 24, 2016
The exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World presented significant examples of monumental bronze sculpture from the Hellenistic period (323 BCE–27 CE). Curated by Jens Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin, both of the Getty Villa, Power and Pathos not only examined the historical context of these Hellenistic bronzes, but also addressed the importance of bronze as a medium for depicting the movement and expression that are characteristic of Hellenistic art.... Full Review
January 18, 2017
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Jonathan David Katz and Rock Hushka, eds.
Exh. cat. Seattle: Tacoma Art Museum in association with University of Washington Press, 2015. 288 pp.; 200 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780295994949)
Exhibition schedule: Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, October 3, 2015–January 10, 2016; Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA, February 20–May 22, 2016; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, July 13–September 25, 2016
Retrospectives devoted to individual artists and artist collectives like Gran Fury have addressed HIV/AIDS, as have smaller gallery shows; however, large-scale exhibitions about the epidemic remain rare. Art AIDS America aims to be the most comprehensive exploration of the impact of AIDS on the course of American art. Organized by Tacoma Art Museum and the Bronx Museum of the Arts and co-curated by Rock Hushka, chief curator at Tacoma Art Museum, and Jonathan D. Katz, director of the... Full Review
January 17, 2017
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Ricky Jay
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Siglio, 2016. 160 pp.; Many color ills. Cloth $39.95 (9781938221125)
“Klein, aber fein” goes the German saying: small, but excellent. That is how I would describe the exhibition organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to showcase drawings by Matthias Buchinger (1674–1740) from the collection of Ricky Jay. The phrase could describe Buchinger’s drawings, which are astonishing examples of micrography, a technique whereby minutely drawn words create an image. The practice has a long history, which the exhibition examined, but by any standard Buchinger was an... Full Review
January 11, 2017
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Clare Robertson
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. 460 pp.; 80 color ills.; 220 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300215298)
The reign of Clement VIII (1592–1605) witnessed a confluence of extraordinary circumstances culminating in the Jubilee of 1600, when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims descended upon Rome. The aftermath of the Council of Trent and the founding of several new religious orders led to a growing understanding that art could be used as a valuable vehicle for disseminating the church’s message, prompting, in part, a flurry of church construction and renovation. Meanwhile, the city experienced an... Full Review
January 10, 2017
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