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

Reviews in caa.reviews are published continuously by CAA and Taylor & Francis, with the most recently published reviews listed below. Browse reviews based on geographic region, period or cultural sphere, or specialty (from 1998 to the present) using Review Categories in the sidebar, or by entering terms in the search bar above.

Recently Published Reviews

Donna De Salvo
Exh. cat. New Haven and New York: Yale University Press in association with The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2018. 384 pp.; 350 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (9780300236989)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 12, 2018–March 31, 2019; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May 19–September 2, 2019; The Art Institute of Chicago, October 20, 2019–January 26, 2020.
As curator Donna De Salvo readied Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again, the revelatory retrospective exhibition recently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, she plainly understood that a return to Warhol at this moment and in this venue would need to land with maximum impact. In the nearly three decades since the last such retrospective was mounted in New York, the late Kynaston McShine’s landmark show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1989, general consciousness of the... Full Review
May 6, 2019
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Sébastien Allard, Côme Fabre, Dominique de Font-Réaulx, Michèle Hannoosh, Mehdi Korchane, and Asher Miller
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018. 328 pp.; 288 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781588396518)
Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, March 29–July 23, 2018; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 17, 2018–January 6, 2019
On June 22, 1863—less than two months before his death—Delacroix concluded his Journal with a maxim that had guided his hand for some four decades: “The chief merit of a painting is to be a feast for the eye.” Entwined with this pursuit of visual delight was an insatiable appetite for pathos to which he had earlier confessed in a letter to Baron Charles Rivet (February 15, 1838): “My tragic inclinations always dominate me, and the Graces rarely smile on me.” The fertility of this... Full Review
May 2, 2019
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Morrison H. Heckscher
Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 75, no. 4 (Spring 2018). 2018. 48 pp.; 55 color ills. Paperback $14.95 (9781588396471)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 14, 2018–January 27, 2019
The year 2018 marked the three-hundredth birthday of London cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale (1718–1779), whose legacy embodies an international style as much as actual designs and examples of furniture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent exhibition celebrated the master while also reflecting on the cultural relevance of antique furniture today. Tucked into the American Wing’s Virginia and Leonard Marx Gallery, the two-room exhibition offered a brief examination of Chippendale’s... Full Review
May 1, 2019
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David J. Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams, eds.
Exh. cat. Cambridge, MA and New Haven, CT: Harvard Art Museums in association with Yale University Press, 2017. 192 pp.; 232 ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780300229196)
Harvard Art Museums, August 26, 2017–January 7, 2018
To say that arts of the Qajar dynasty (r. 1779–1925) are, without a doubt, en vogue in recent exhibition circuits is not an overstatement. In the last few years alone, one could see any number of shows featuring these Iranian imperial arts, ranging from The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past (NYU’s Institute for Study of the Ancient World, New York), Qajar Women: Images of Women in 19th-Century Iran (Museum of Islamic Art, Doha), and... Full Review
April 29, 2019
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Martha H. Kennedy
Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2018. 255 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9781496815927)
In 1915 artist Cecilia Beaux wrote, “I very earnestly believe . . . that there should be no sex in Art. . . . I am pointing, I know, to a millennium at least . . . when the term ‘Women in Art’ will be as strange sounding a topic as the title ‘Men in Art’ would be now” (xi). This quote becomes a rallying cry for Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists at the Library of Congress. Prominently displayed in the exhibition and reiterated on the first page of the... Full Review
April 26, 2019
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Milette Gaifman
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. 196 pp.; 127 color ills.; 5 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300192278)
Milette Gaifman’s The Art of Libation in Classical Athens focuses on the ritual practice of offering liquids, commonly depicted on Athenian vases. Depictions of Greek animal sacrifice have been the focus of several research projects, broaching the topic from the textual and pictorial sources. The less prominent libation rituals have been approached in the study of visual culture only for specific cases, e.g., deities offering libations. With her study, Gaifman aims to “explore . . .... Full Review
April 24, 2019
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James Grantham Turner
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. 464 pp.; 340 ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300219951)
Can sex be a muse, a creative stimulus for art? This question forms the basis of James Grantham Turner’s evocative Eros Visible: Art, Sexuality and Antiquity, a book that examines the erotic revolution that swept across the Italian art world between 1500 and 1563. The leaders of this movement are a group of well-known artists, writers, and patrons who sought pleasure in variety, delighted in matters of the flesh, and broke traditional boundaries for the sake of novelty. Rather than... Full Review
April 22, 2019
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San San May and Jana Igunma
London and Seattle: British Library and University of Washington Press, 2018. 256 pp.; 198 color ills. Cloth $64.95 (9780295743783)
The British Library is home to one of the world’s most important collections of manuscripts from Southeast Asia. Buddhism Illuminated focuses on the library’s holdings from the Buddhist traditions of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in the area that is today Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. The book presents nearly two hundred high-quality reproductions from this deep and varied collection and describes Buddhist teachings, values, and practices in the region. This book is a... Full Review
April 5, 2019
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Justin Jennings and Adam T. Sellen, eds.
Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2018. 270 pp.; 181 color ills.; 92 b/w ills. EBook $0.00 (9780888545237)
Fakes, pastiches, deceptive restorations, and outright forgeries have been a persistent problem in the study of art and antiquities since the Renaissance. Understandably, few museums are willing to release the number of such false pieces in their collections, but conservative estimates have long suggested 40 percent of works in museums are not what they claim to be. However, recent investigation at San... Full Review
April 2, 2019
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Conor Lucey
Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2018. 264 pp.; 16 color ills.; 90 b/w ills. Cloth £ 75.00 (9781526119940)
From the middle of the eighteenth century through the 1830s, the brick row house became one of the most common urban building forms in the British Atlantic world. Artisan builders erected thousands of these rows of classically proportioned and ornamented town houses in the new streets, squares, and crescents of expanding cities as well as in smaller market and port towns in Great Britain, Ireland, and America. Built for a speculative market, town houses with broad frontages and elaborate... Full Review
March 29, 2019
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