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

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Elizabeth Hutton Turner
New Haven and Washington, D.C.: Yale University Press in association with The Phillips Collection, 1999. 160 pp.; 80 color ills.; 69 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00
Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., April 17–July 18, 1999; Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, August 7–October 17, 1999; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, November 7, 1999–January 30, 2000; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, February 19–May 14, 2000.
This catalogue accompanies the exhibition of the same title, organized as "the first to focus in-depth on O'Keeffe's aesthetics through an examination of her paintings of objects" (vii). This formalist approach might seem a curiously retardataire method to employ nowadays, but those familiar with O'Keeffe scholarship will relish the focus on the artist's work rather than her self. The first museum to purchase work from Georgia O'Keeffe was the Phillips Collection, in 1926. At the... Full Review
February 11, 2000
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Ruth Philips and Christopher Steiner, eds.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. 424 pp. Paper (0520207971)
Jonathan Batkin's article on the early dealers in pueblo pottery, one of the most eye-opening in this valuable volume, also has one of the best stories: in a curio store in Santa Fe in the late nineteenth century, among the pottery rain gods (shipped in barrels of 100 at $6.50 the barrel), the beadwork and tambourines, the Jicarilla Apache baskets and Navajo silver, the owner claimed to be able to show you Ben Hur's trunk and the skull of Henry Ward Beecher "as a boy." It made me laugh, and... Full Review
February 11, 2000
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Mark Johnstone
Newark, N.J.: G + B Arts International, 1999. 208 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. (9057033216)
Mark Johnstone's book follows in the tradition of earlier California surveys such as Painting and Sculpture in California: The Modern Era (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Art, 1977) and 50 West Coast Artists: A Critical Selection of Painters and Sculptors Working in California (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1981) by Henry Hopkins. Focusing on Los Angeles, Contemporary Art in Southern California includes an introduction and individual entries on forty-three... Full Review
February 9, 2000
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Colum Hourihane, ed.
Princeton University Press, 1999. 342 pp.; 4 color ills.; 175 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0691010021)
Most of the papers in Image and Belief were presented in 1997 at a conference entitled "Iconography at the Index," which celebrated the eightieth anniversary of the Index of Christian Art. It should be said from the outset that the theme of "image and belief" is sometimes tangential to the collected papers. This book is really about iconography, as the conference title makes plain. Part one constitutes a diverse and somewhat disparate range of case studies, while Part two attempts to... Full Review
February 8, 2000
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The study of ukiyo-e, pictures of Edo Japan's "floating world" of pleasure and popular entertainment, has a long and very robust history in Europe and the United States owing to the enthusiastic formation of great print collections that began in the late nineteenth century. The continued passionate involvement of collectors has made ukiyo-e studies a stronghold of print connoisseurship and narrow factual research. Within the academic community, developing a tradition of broader contextual... Full Review
February 4, 2000
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Melissa Dabakis
Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 312 pp.; 312 b/w ills. Cloth $80.00 (0521461472)
This solidly researched book examines a diverse array of outdoor monuments, small sculptures, and other images that represent themes of U.S. labor between the 1880s and the mid-1930s. Author Melissa Dabakis concludes that the objects in this broadly defined group, ranging from Albert Weinert's sixteen-foot Haymarket Monument near Chicago to Saul Baizerman's five-inch Cement Man, constitute a significant U.S. visual art tradition on the subject of work that predates New Deal-era... Full Review
February 2, 2000
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Richard E. Spear
Yale University Press, 1998. $60.00 (0300070357)
Richard Spear's much-anticipated book on Guido Reni promises a new approach that would seriously treat this important artist's achievement conceptually and historically--in contrast to previous studies, which Spear contends are too narrowly focused on chronology and style. In this effort, Spear calls on insights from post-Foucauldian social history, feminism, and psychology in order to explain the artist's personality and its relation to societal norms. While Spear bravely admits that his own... Full Review
February 1, 2000
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Maurie D. McInnis
Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999. 350 pp.; 90 color ills.; 85 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (1570033145)
Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, April 9-July 3, 1999.
In a painting by John Singleton Copley, rendered in Rome in 1775, Ralph and Alice Izard of Charleston, South Carolina, sit in the imaginary setting of a veranda that offers a perfect view of the Colosseum. Numerous objects frame this vista even as they compete with it for attention; such standard fare of Grand Manner portraits as a column and drapery augment particular items like a Greek krater, a contemporary Roman table, and a cast of an ancient Roman figure group. This double portrait... Full Review
January 26, 2000
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Catherine Soussloff, ed.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. 239 pp.; 36 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0520213033)
The goal of this volume, as Catherine Soussloff indicates in her introduction, is to introduce the subject of Jewish identity to art history and to explore its complexites. Compared to The Jew in the Text (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), edited by Linda Nochlin and Tamar Garb, which examines Jewish identity through depictions of Jews in art and literature, this anthology has a greater scope, although fewer essays. The contributions cover issues ranging from the concept of Jewish art,... Full Review
January 26, 2000
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Marcia Hall
New York and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 349 pp.; 16 color ills.; 188 b/w ills. Paper $18.95 (0521482453)
This important survey of sixteenth-century Italian painting following Raphael's death in 1520 treats one of the most popular and stimulating periods for recent art historical enquiry. Authoritative and provocative, the author shows a close awareness of previous art historical scholarship and incorporates the latest research into a text covering art from the Sistine Chapel ceiling to the Farnese Gallery. This type of survey of Italian painting, while remaining consistently popular in Italy, is... Full Review
January 24, 2000
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