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

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Erica Cruikshank Dodd
Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2000. 202 pp.; 22 color ills.; 103 b/w ills. Cloth $89.00 (0888441398)
Readers glancing at Erica Cruikshank Dodd's book on the frescoes in the Syrian Monastery of Moses the Ethiopian will not find ready evidence of the "new art history." Unfashionable terms like "influence" and "Oriental" abound, and nowhere does one come across references to "the gaze" or the construction of gender. More careful examination, however, will soon show that Dodd indeed participates in current debates about the visual culture of the Mediterranean in the period of the Crusades. She... Full Review
May 14, 2002
Carmen C. Bambach, Hugo Chapman, and Martin Clayton
London: British Museum Press, 1999. 192 pp.; 145 color ills.; 33 b/w ills. Cloth $49.28 (0714126284)
The British Museum, London, October 6, 2000-January 7, 2001; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 5-May 6, 2001.
For those unfortunate enough to have missed the handsomely mounted Correggio and Parmigianino drawings exhibition, a collaborative effort by the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, its equally handsome accompanying catalogue conveys its pleasures in that first virtual reality--a slim, illustrated book to be opened and examined at leisure. Although most, if not all, of the drawings on view in the exhibition and reproduced in its catalogue have been previously exhibited and... Full Review
May 14, 2002
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Mariët Westermann
Exh. cat. Zwolle, Netherlands: Waanders in association with Denver Art Museum and The Newark Museum, 2000. 240 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. $29.95 (0914738461)
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ, October 17, 2001–January 20, 2002; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, March 2–May 26, 2002
According to Witold Rybczynski's Home: A Short History of an Idea (New York: Viking, 1986), private spaces in households are a Dutch seventeenth-century invention, despite their commonplace nature today. A serious new exhibition and a handsomely produced accompanying catalogue set out to explore this premise by showing Dutch representations of household interiors, as well as actual period furnishings. The exhibition organizer and catalogue supervisor, Mariët Westermann, is far from... Full Review
May 8, 2002
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Carolyn Dean
Duke University Press, 1999. 304 pp.; 8 color ills.; 43 b/w ills. Paper $18.95 (0822323672)
The late seventeenth-century series of paintings of the Corpus Christi procession in colonial Cuzco, Peru, housed at the Archbishop's Museum of Religious Art in that city, appears at first sight to be an ethnohistorian's dream. Portraying the devotees of Cuzco's indigenous parishes in procession with their patron saints, these canvases depict individuals in Inka dress, suggesting their exceptional value as ethnographic documents of the pre-Columbian past. In fact, such use of colonial visual... Full Review
May 8, 2002
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Amadeo Belluzzi
Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini, 1998. Cloth (8876868089)
In the 1530s, word of a new palace in Mantua, begun in the middle of the previous decade, had already spread north to Bavaria and south to Rome, where it figured in the dialogues of Francisco de Hollanda. But by the eighteenth century, the Palazzo Te, created by Giulio Romano for Federico II Gonzaga, was abandoned, abused, and in disrepair. Miraculously, this suburban complex has survived relatively intact (even after several restorations, some more drastic than others), and its slipping... Full Review
May 2, 2002
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Hui-Shu Lee
New York: China Institute, 2000. 160 pp.; app. 40 color ills. Paper (0965427056)
China Institute Gallery, New York, September 13-December 9, 2001
Published to accompany an exhibition at New York's China Institute Gallery, this lavishly illustrated catalogue deftly contextualizes a group of extremely appealing small-scale works of painting and calligraphy that were made by or for the Southern Song court in Hangzhou (called Lin'an at the time) during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Situated in a fertile and temperate region near the center of China's east coast, Hangzhou was a beauty spot famed for its West Lake and scenic... Full Review
April 18, 2002
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Bert Winther-Tamaki
Honolulu: University Of Hawai'i Press, 2000. 222 pp.; 45 b/w ills. Paper $32.95 (0824824008)
Following the crushing defeat of Japan in World War II and the devastating destruction of its major cities by conventional and atomic bombing, the United States occupied the country for many years. It had a prolonged presence and deep effect on Japanese culture; at the same time, Japanese culture became prominent in the U.S., partially as a result of servicemen and women returning home after the war. Bert Winther-Tamaki's Art in the Encounter of Nations: Japanese and American Artists in... Full Review
April 4, 2002
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Annette L. Juliano and Judith A. Lerner, eds.
New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000. 320 pp.; 260 color ills.; 160 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0810934787)
Asia Society Museum, New York, November 13, 2001-January 6, 2002; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL, February 9-April 21, 2002; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, June 15-September 10, 2002.
The idea of viewing the art and culture of the Silk Road by focusing on archaeological finds from the northwestern region of China (the Gansu and Ningxia provinces) offers an excellent opportunity to consider the process of cultural and ethnic interaction between the Han-Chinese and other cultures. As the only section of the Silk Road within China proper in the early medieval period from the fourth to seventh century, Gansu and Ningxia played an important role as a melting pot where exotic... Full Review
April 3, 2002
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Herman Rapaport
New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. 188 pp. Paper $17.50 (0231121350)
Sylvère Lotringer and Sande Cohen, eds.
London: Routledge, 2000. 327 pp. Paper $22.95 (0415925371)
1. Theory Something called "theory" has been a leading feature of American intellectual and academic life for some thirty years now, and it would no doubt be a great comfort if we had some strongly shared sense of what theory is, what its prominence means, and what difference it makes. Both of these books argue, correctly I believe, that we are more or less hopelessly muddled on all of these questions. Since the history of art, at least in the United States, is a relatively late... Full Review
April 3, 2002
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Robert L. Thorp and Richard Ellis Vinograd
New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000. 440 pp.; 128 color ills.; 230 b/w ills. Cloth $85.00 (0810941457)
The publication of Chinese Art and Culture should be welcomed by anyone who has an interest in Chinese art, whether or not one also teaches it. Both of the scholars who wrote this book are old enough to have each devoted more than three decades to thinking and practicing in their respective areas (early Chinese art through the Tang dynasty for Robert Thorp, later Chinese art from Song to the present for Richard Vinograd), but are young enough to have spent the bulk of their careers... Full Review
April 2, 2002
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