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

Reviews in are published continuously by the College Art Association (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

Tom Wolf
Exh. cat. London: D Giles Limited, 2015. 176 pp.; 155 color ills. Cloth $59.95 (9781907804632)
Exhibition schedule: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, April 3–August 30, 2015
Enigmatic and engaging, the work of figurative artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953) combines American folk and Surrealist art with dreamlike perspectives (exhibition catalogue; 16). Influenced by early American art, modernism, and Japanese artistic expressions—such as flatness of form—his pictures are simultaneously rooted in tradition and the avant-garde and often underscore his proclivity toward contradictions (33). An artist frequently overlooked, Kuniyoshi immigrated to the United States... Full Review
June 15, 2017
Marnin Young
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 272 pp.; 60 color ills.; 75 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300208320)
In Realism in the Age of Impressionism: Painting and the Politics of Time, Marnin Young provides an original, compelling argument about how transformations in the perception of temporality fueled a reengagement with Realist painting in France during the late 1870s and 1880s. He charts a range of ways in which time was newly conceptualized in this period, including the move from pre-modern natural cycles to the measured clock of the modern workday; the invention of photographic... Full Review
June 14, 2017
Steven M. Reiss
Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014. 216 pp.; 80 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (9780813934976)
What is it about a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house that inspires some owners to endure hardship to see it built and overcome obstacles to prevent its destruction? It is a question implicitly asked and answered by Steven M. Reiss in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, a skillful retelling of the complex history of a 1,200-square-foot Usonian house (originally known as the Pope House) built in 1941 in Falls Church, Virginia. The book, which is organized into three chronological... Full Review
June 13, 2017
Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson, eds.
Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. 512 pp. Paper $50.95 (9781444338669)
The last decade has seen a profusion of anthologies reckoning with “contemporary art”—a contested term. Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present, edited by Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson, is the latest one, but certainly not the last. Their desire is to expand the discussion on contemporary art to include a multiplicity of voices. In the process, Dumbadze and Hudson bring together forty-six international writers. The writings are grouped into fourteen “fluid rubrics,” which are... Full Review
June 9, 2017
Lawrence Berman
Boston: MFA Publications, 2015. 208 pp.; 52 color ills. Cloth $24.95 (9780878467969)
What is it about antiquities that so compels us to collect them? This is the central question Lawrence Berman asks in The Priest, the Prince, and the Pasha: The Life and Afterlife of an Ancient Egyptian Sculpture. To answer this question, Berman focuses on a single object, the so-called Boston Green Head. Approximately four inches in height, broken off from a standing or kneeling statue, the Green Head is a centerpiece in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA).... Full Review
June 8, 2017
Mark Hinchman
Early Modern Cultural Studies Series. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015. 420 pp.; 78 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (9780803254138)
More than any other media, architecture has played a fundamental role in the organization of physical reality according to various social, cultural, and ideological templates. As both a product and producer of identity, architectural forms have inscribed the texture of human life onto the natural environment. Thus, Mark Hinchman’s Portrait of an Island: The Architecture and Material Culture of Gorée, Sénégal, 1758–1837 is a welcome addition to contemporary studies of the history of the... Full Review
June 8, 2017
Dushko Petrovich, ed.
New York: Dushko Petrovich, 2015. 20 pp. Paper $20.00
Think of a professor and the clichés tumble out: houndstooth blazer, tortoiseshell glasses, air of aloof superiority. The professor, insulated from worldly concerns by tenure, is an icon of the traditional university, a selling point for students willing to take on debt in exchange for wisdom, and a target of right-wing reformers who scorn the leisurely pace of scholarship. While the professor can’t be described as wealthy in this age of hedge funds, she is at least free from anything... Full Review
June 7, 2017
Jean Hélion
New York: Arcade, 2014. 464 pp. Paper $19.95 (9781628723762)
On August 18, 1939, the French abstract painter Jean Hélion wrote to Raymond Queneau from his studio in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia, to say that he was ready to return to France and throw himself back into what he called the “torment of Europe” (Lettres d’Amérique: Correspondance avec Raymond Queneau 1934–1967, Paris: IMEC, 1996, 146). In leaving Paris for New York in 1936 in the aftermath of the collapse of the Popular Front, Hélion had left behind the aesthetic and political... Full Review
June 1, 2017
Sheila R. Canby, Deniz Beyazit, Martina Rugiadi, and A. C. S. Peacock
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. 380 pp.; 462 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781588395894)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, April 27–July 24, 2016
The Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art set out to elucidate how the orders of this world and the next were conceptualized and represented in the Seljuq Empire and its successor states. To a certain extent, Met curators Sheila R. Canby, Deniz Beyazit, and Martina Rugiadi delivered. With over 270 objects, Court and Cosmos is the first major exhibition on the Seljuqs in the United States, and according to Met Director Thomas... Full Review
May 31, 2017
Gretchen E. Henderson
London: Reaktion Books, 2015. 240 pp.; 67 b/w ills. Cloth $25.00 (9781780235240)
In Ugliness: A Cultural History, Gretchen E. Henderson ventures on a critical journey through the history of ugliness, viewing the concept through the lens of culture and corporeality. Henderson packs an abundance of fascinating case studies and thought-provoking insights into a stimulating conceptual framework, all in the service of her argument about past and contemporary relationships with ugliness. Her aim is not to redefine ugliness but to trace the use and perceptions of it from... Full Review
May 31, 2017