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

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Jonathan M. Reynolds
Berkeley: University of California Press 337 pp.; 8 color ills.; 154 b/w ills. Cloth (0520214951)
The present work is a much awaited study of the architect Kunio Maekawa (1905-86), one of the three principal Japanese who worked with Le Corbusier (from April 1928 to April 1930). Maekawa has long been recognized both in Japan and the West as a key figure in the evolution of Japanese modernism. While Maekawa himself published accounts of his work (from the 1930s through the late 1960s), his writings are not numerous if judged by the standard of his peers nor by those of later contemporaries.... Full Review
September 19, 2001
Meyer Schapiro
New York: George Braziller, 1996. 359 pp.; 139 color ills. Cloth $38.00 (9780807614204)
Meyer Schapiro’s contribution to our understanding of Impressionism has had an importance that goes well beyond his actual written contribution to its study. If we exclude his work on Cézanne, that contribution has consisted of scattered passages in articles and published lectures and, more focally, less than a dozen paragraphs written in the 1937 essay "The Nature of Abstract Art" (Marxist Quarterly 1 (1937); reprinted in Schapiro, Modern Art: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries:... Full Review
September 15, 2001
Lawrence J. Vale
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999. 460 pp. Cloth $45.00 (0674002865)
Those of us who live in Massachusetts are fortunate that Lawrence Vale settled here to apply his considerable intellectual and writing talents to the study of public housing in Boston, rather than, say, in Chicago, San Francisco, or St. Louis. The rest of you, don't despair: From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors is not just a parochial story about Boston, but an insightful historical analysis of the relationship between the cultural meanings of land and... Full Review
September 14, 2001
Herbert L. Kessler
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. 265 pp. Cloth (0812235606)
Many an undergraduate lecture hall still furnishes a home for the Icoelacanth of medieval studies—hat is, for the historian who shows slides of medieval images as mere illustrations of daily life, or as nothing more than a graphic adjunct to the words of medieval sources. In an episode of habitat encroachment that none need lament, this collection of Herbert Kessler's recent essays makes life more difficult for the living fossil. Again and again the author shows how early medieval... Full Review
September 14, 2001
Jan Baetens, ed.
Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2001. 212 pp.; few b/w ills. Paper $20.81 (9058671097)
The graphic novel, a story presented as a fully illustrated narrative, is a high-art version of the comic strip. Like the true novel, the graphic novel treats serious subjects, but using images together with words combined with pictures. The proceedings of a conference on the graphic novel held at the University of Leuven, May 2000, The Graphic Novel contains studies of such well-known graphic novels as Art Spiegelman's Maus, Jacques Tardi's visual narratives, and some... Full Review
September 7, 2001
Elizabeth J. Milleker, ed.
New Haven and New York: Yale University Press in association with Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. 232 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780300085143)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 3, 2000-January 14, 2001.
The idea of viewing systematically world art from a single moment in time offers an extraordinary opportunity to consider the prospect of a world art history that parallels an emerging subdiscipline of history that has come to be called world history. It looks at systems in an interlocked world, for example trade in sugar or slaves. Recognizing that even in ancient times people moved over vast distances and carried with them ideas that influenced the production of art, the discipline of art... Full Review
September 5, 2001
Elizabeth Valdez Del Alamo and Carol Stamatis Pendergast, eds.
Aldershot, UK and Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 2000. 317 pp.; 93 b/w ills. Cloth $59.95 (0754600769)
Memory and the Medieval Tomb gathers together eleven essays that explore the commemorative function of the tomb, from the early Christian catacombs to the fifteenth century, in England, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and France. It is a valuable collection that offers a wide range of themes and approaches. Some papers are about the way in which the design and location of tombs were carefully contrived to keep alive the memory of the deceased, so that his or her soul might enjoy the benefits of... Full Review
September 5, 2001
Robin Jaffee Frank
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. 362 pp.; 100 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (0300087241)
Yale University Art Gallery, October 3-December 30, 2000; Gibbes Museum of Art, February 10-April 8, 2001; and Addison Gallery of American Art, April 27-July 31, 2001.
Significant collections of American miniatures are owned by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, the Yale University Art Museum in New Haven, CT, and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC. While some of these institutions have produced catalogues, relatively few publications exist that discuss the portrait and mourning miniatures in their own and others'... Full Review
August 31, 2001
Laurie Schneider Adams
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001. 210 pp.; 29 color ills.; 83 b/w ills. Paper $26.00 (0813334268)
Laurie Schneider Adams
Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2001. 420 pp. Cloth $75.00 (0813336902)
The publication of these two intellectually engaging and visually appealing textbooks by Laurie Schneider Adams provides a good opportunity to reconsider the main options available for surveys of Italian Renaissance art. Art historians, like most academics, tend to argue the relative merits of different textbooks with great gravity, finding fault for reasons of coverage, method, or quality of reproductions. In this age of interactive web syllabi, these problems are relatively surmountable; we... Full Review
August 30, 2001
C.R. Dodwell
Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 171 pp. Cloth $69.95 (0521661889)
The publication of Anglo-Saxon Gestures and the Roman Stage posthumously honors C. R. Dodwell's lifelong work on early medieval art. Timothy Graham, formerly Dodwell's research assistant, considerately saw the book through to press. In this volume, Dodwell considers the origins of the illustrations in Carolingian Terence manuscripts and their possible relationship to illuminations produced at Canterbury or under Canterbury's influence in the eleventh century. Although its deductions... Full Review
August 29, 2001