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

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Peter Brooke
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. 320 pp.; 34 color ills.; 127 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0300089643)
Introducing himself as an "ardent searcher after the purest form in art," a young Parisian artist, Robert Pouyaud, wrote in 1924 to the Cubist painter Albert Gleizes, asking him to correct the "error" of his art education. Gleizes responded by inviting Pouyaud to join in the collective exploration of his compositional exercises with his two Irish pupils, Evie Hone and Mainie Jellett. Thus commenced a master-disciple relationship that soon had other consequences. In 1927, Pouyaud was a... Full Review
June 5, 2002
Annabel Jane Wharton
University of Chicago Press, 2004. 272 pp.; 1 color ills.; 90 b/w ills. Paper $27.50 (0226894207)
"The great advantage of a hotel," states the waiter in George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell, "is that it's a refuge from home life." In the 1950s, however, as an increasingly wealthy American middle class began to travel a world whose boundaries were largely defined by the Cold War, hotels could find considerable advantages in open links to the familiarity of home life. Consider, for example, the seventeen massive Hilton hotels built on foreign soil between 1949 and 1966. By piping... Full Review
May 31, 2002
Mark Clarke
London: Archetype Publications, 2000. 152 pp. Paper $37.50 (1873132727)
While broad art-historical interest in the conditions of artistic production and the use of specific materials can now be said to date back more than a generation, there exists a rich body of literature describing detailed artistic practices that is much older still. Indeed, hundreds of surviving medieval manuscripts contain instructions, sometimes hasty and at other times meticulously detailed, relating to the preparation of pigments, inks, and varnishes. And yet, as Mark Clarke notes in... Full Review
May 30, 2002
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
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
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
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
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
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