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

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Michelle White, ed.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. 192 pp.; 289 ills. Paper $50.00 (9780300233148)
The Menil Collection, Houston, October 13, 2017–February 25, 2018; Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, April 6–August 11, 2018
Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma at the Menil Collection, the artist’s first major solo exhibition in the United States in about two decades, presents an overview of Hatoum’s career in a nuanced yet direct manner. Hatoum’s work benefits from its quick metaphorical wit; however, this initial, deceptively easy clarity lingers and transforms into something else entirely, an experience underscored by the work’s placement throughout various rooms of the Menil Collection. Both artist and space... Full Review
May 2, 2018
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Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins, eds.
Exh. cat. Munich: Hirmer Publishers, 2017. 160 pp.; 200 color ills. Hardcover $39.95 (9783777428567)
Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, September 11, 2017–January 1, 2018; Museum of the City of New York, New York, June 22–October 28, 2018
On the occasion of the milestone exhibition Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art, organized by MoMA in 1940, critic, anthropologist, and cultural promoter Anita Brenner stated that the brilliant artistic scene that arose in Mexico in the early 1920s had reached its eclipse. For Brenner, as well as other influential voices from the arts field, the show at MoMA did not embody the true richness and complexity of two decades of intense artistic exploration in Mexico. Instead, it demonstrated... Full Review
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James Romaine and Phoebe Wolfskill, eds.
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2017. 204 pp.; 33 color ills.; 22 b/w ills. Hardcover $79.95 (9780271077741)
Beholding Christ and Christianity in African American Art, edited by James Romaine and Phoebe Wolfskill, offers a unified and underexamined perspective on artwork by late nineteenth- to mid-twentieth-century African American artists. Each of the fourteen chapters showcases a selected artwork by an individual artist, highlighting how “engagement with religious subjects, symbols, or themes can be an expression of an array of concerns related to racial, political, and socioeconomic... Full Review
May 2, 2018
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Pellom McDaniels III, ed.
Exh. cat. Atlanta: Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University, 2017. 98 pp. Paperback
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, September 15, 2016–May 28, 2017
Camille Billops and James V. Hatch are artists, educators, archivists, and activists who dedicate their lives to creating, teaching, collecting, and preserving art that reflects the experiences of the African diaspora. Pellom McDaniels III, curator of African American Collections at the Stuart A. Rose... Full Review
May 2, 2018
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Robert Storr
Exh. cat. New York: David Zwirner Books, 2015. 112 pp.; 74 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781941701089)
David Zwirner Gallery, London, October 11–November 22, 2014
In Untitled (Mirror Girl) (2014), a young woman, voluptuous, luxuriating in her nudity, strikes a pose in front of her star-trimmed mirror. She holds her breasts in her hands to emulate a magazine spread, and she is stunning. An assortment of clothes and shoes decorate the floor beneath her, their colors and textures rhyming with the geometrical patterns across the rug and wallpaper. A cat sits quietly in the background, creating a collage effect—a technique Kerry James Marshall has... Full Review
May 1, 2018
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Anna Dezeuze
Rethinking Art's Histories. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017. 344 pp.; 72 b/w ills. Paperback €19.99 (9781526112903)
Anna Dezeuze’s ambitious book Almost Nothing: Observations on Precarious Practices in Contemporary Art establishes a lineage for work from the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s that engages with the issue of precariousness. Dezeuze compellingly argues that, beginning in the late 1950s, artists began to mine a conceptually fertile vein of lived experiences at the margins—whether actual or assumed. She understands the term “precarious” as established by the... Full Review
May 1, 2018
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Tamar Garb and Fiona Bradley, eds.
Edinburgh: The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2017. 192 pp.; 120 color ills. Hardcover $45.00 (9781908612410 )
Rosalind E. Krauss, ed.
Cambridge: MIT Press, 2017. 208 pp.; 53 b/w ills. Paperback $22.95 (9780262533454)
Last year saw the publication of two excellent books about William Kentridge, the first of which accompanied an exhibition of his work, paired with that of fellow South African artist Vivienne Koorland, curated by Tamar Garb at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. The three met in Cape Town the mid-1970s (Koorland painted Garb’s portrait in 1977), and it was Garb’s long relationship with Kentridge and Koorland that inspired her to curate the show.In the catalogue’s introductory... Full Review
May 1, 2018
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Adrienne L. Childs and Susan H. Libby, eds.
Exh. cat. Giles, 2017. 80 pp.; 55 color ills. Paperback $30.00 (9781907804496)
Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, January 14–May 14, 2017
This catalogue of a relatively small but important exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College is devoted to depictions of black Africans and people of the African diaspora produced by Western European artists (British, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Danish) between the mid-eighteenth century and the 1890s. The volume begins with a short, pithy introduction by David Bindman, the general editor of Harvard University Press’s Image of the Black in Western Art series.... Full Review
April 30, 2018
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Orianna Cacchione, Li Pi, Robyn Farrell, and Katherine Grube
Exh. cat. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2017. 96 pp.; 60 color ills. Hardcover $25.00 (9780300226225)
The Art Institute of Chicago, March 30–July 9, 2017
Zhang Peili: Record. Repeat. represents a significant scholarly work on Zhang Peili, the multimedia artist often acknowledged as China’s first video artist. The exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) featured twelve video works made between 1988 and 2007, including five large, multichannel installations. It opened with 30 × 30 (1988), considered the first... Full Review
April 30, 2018
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Melissa Barton
New Haven: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 2017. 144 pp.; 140 color ills. Paper over Board $25.00 (9780300225617)
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (01/13/17–04/17/17)
In Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, Jacques Derrida theorizes the archive in terms of two conflicting forces: the pleasure principle (eros) and the death drive (thanatos). Through these antithetical terms, he suggests that archives are defined by a struggle over what they preserve or save and what they forget or destroy. This leads Derrida to define the “archivization”&nbsp;process as that which “produces as much as it records the event.”<a... Full Review
April 30, 2018
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