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

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, May 11, 2018–March 17, 2019
Organized at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, by Susan Brown, associate curator of textiles, and Jennifer Cohlman Bracchi, reference librarian, Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color showcased a broad range of objects, predominantly from the Smithsonian Institution’s impressive collections. Beginning with a selection of rare handbooks dating back to as early as the seventeenth century (e.g., Athanasius Kircher’s 1671 Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae), the exhibition... Full Review
June 24, 2019
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Moya Carey
London: V&A Publishing, 2017. 272 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $74.99 (9781851779338)
In this meticulously researched and thoughtfully organized book, Moya Carey tells the story of the collection of art objects from Iran held at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. Established in 1857 and known as the South Kensington Museum until 1899, the V&A has a particular institutional character—its founding mission was to improve the quality of industrial production by engaging worldwide visual cultures—that turns this museum into an ideal case study for... Full Review
June 21, 2019
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Adriaan E. Waiboer, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., and Blaise Ducos
Exh. cat. New Haven, CT and Dublin: Yale University Press in association with National Gallery of Ireland, 2017. 320 pp.; 180 color ills. Hardcover $60.00 (9780300222937)
Musée du Louvre, Paris, February 22–May 22, 2017; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, June 17–September 17, 2017; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 22, 2017–January 21, 2018
The exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry, on Vermeer and “other” Dutch genre painters of his era, was easily one of the most significant international events of last year. Conceived by Adriaan E. Waiboer of the National Gallery of Ireland and developed in close collaboration with two museum colleagues—Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and Blaise Ducos from the Musée du Louvre in... Full Review
June 19, 2019
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Wil Haygood, Carole Genshaft, Nannette V. Maciejunes, Anastasia Kinigopoulo, and Drew Sawyer
Exh. cat. New York and Columbus, OH: Rizzoli Electa in association with Columbus Museum of Art, 2018. 248 pp. Cloth $55.00 (9780847863129)
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, October 19, 2018–January 20, 2019
Published on the occasion of an exhibition of the same name, the catalogue I Too Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 offers its general and scholarly readership a biographically rich and visually remarkable book. The Columbus Museum of Art approached the established biographer of African American life and culture Wil Haygood with the opportunity to consider the lives of Harlem Renaissance visual artists, politicians, and authors through the organization of the show and his... Full Review
June 17, 2019
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Roald Nasgaard and Gwendolyn Owens
Fredericton, New Brunswick and Kleinburg, Ontario: Goose Lane Editions and McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 2017. 204 pp.; 82 color ills.; 13 b/w ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780864929655)
The aim of Higher States, as explained in the preface, is “to be a richly illustrated resource on the first half of [Lawren] Harris’s abstract painting career within a transnational context,” and the essays by Roald Nasgaard and Gwendolyn Owens describe “the social, intellectual, and aesthetic milieu in which Harris immersed himself, in both Canada and the United States, from the mid to late 1920s up to and about the end of World War II.” In “Harris’s Modernity: The Engineering... Full Review
June 14, 2019
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Robert Brown, Tushara Bindu Gude, Donald Stadtner, and Lakshika Senarath Gamage
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: LACMA Collator, 2018. 106 pp.; 53 ills. Paperback $50.00 (9781943042128)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 9, 2018–July 7, 2019
Palm-size bronze figures of Buddhas and bodhisattvas from ancient Anuradhapura. Lion-shaped stone stair balustrades from the fourteenth century. Black-and-white photographs of tropical plants by colonial British photographers. A painted ivory comb decorated with a sword-wielding goddess. And a twenty-six-foot inflatable reclining Buddha made in California. These are just a handful of works from a special exhibition showcasing the art and culture of Sri Lanka at the Los Angeles County... Full Review
June 11, 2019
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B. Alexandra Szerlip
Brooklyn: Melville House Books, 2017. 368 pp. Cloth $27.99 (9781612195629)
Nicolas P. Maffei
Cultural Histories of Design. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. 256 pp.; 150 b/w ills. Paperback £ 21.99 (9781474284615)
In the 1950s Norman Bel Geddes drafted his autobiography, I Designed My Life. His story covered the entirety of his vast career in one million words. Miracle in the Evening, the edited version published in 1960 two years following his death, focused solely on Bel Geddes’s theater work, simplifying his legacy to only one area of design. But in fact, there was hardly an area of design that Bel Geddes did not influence. As his point of view oscillated between futurist and... Full Review
June 10, 2019
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Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, October 5, 2018–February 17, 2019
For her exhibition Poorly Watched Girls at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Suzanne Bocanegra installed four artworks that repurpose numerous precedent works: Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera Dialogues des Carmélites; Mark Robson’s 1967 film Valley of the Dolls; Jan Brueghel the Elder’s circa 1620 painting Flowers in a Ceramic Vase; Thomas P. McCarthy’s 1955 Guide to the Catholic Sisterhoods in the United States; Jean Dauberval’s 1789 ballet,... Full Review
June 7, 2019
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Henry Taylor, Zadie Smith, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, Charles Gaines, and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah
New York and Los Angeles: Rizzoli Electa and Blum & Poe, 2018. 320 pp.; 198 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780847863105)
Henry Taylor: The Only Portrait I Ever Painted of My Momma Was Stolen, the first monograph on Henry Taylor, offers a near-encyclopedic visual record of his work. It is filled with almost two hundred large, glossy, full-color plates that feature carefully photographed gallery installations among beautiful reproductions of the paintings for which Taylor is best known. Paging through this record, readers will find that Taylor’s decades of practice have yielded a distinct form of... Full Review
June 3, 2019
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Jennifer L. Shaw
London: Reaktion Books, 2017. 256 pp.; 100 color ills.; 80 b/w ills. Cloth £ 30.00 (9781780237282)
“I’m obsessed with the exception. I see it as bigger than nature. It’s all I see. The rule interests me only for its leftovers with which I make my swill. In this way, I deliberately downgrade myself. Too bad for me” (102). This quote from Claude Cahun, drawn from Cahun and Marcel Moore’s 1930 publication, Aveux non avenus (Disavowals), appears about three-quarters of the way through Jennifer L. Shaw’s Exist Otherwise: The Life and Works of Claude Cahun. However, its... Full Review
May 31, 2019
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