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

Massumeh Farhad and Simon Rettig, eds.
Exh. cat. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2016. 384 pp.; 260 ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9781588345783)
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC, October 22, 2016–February 20, 2017
The exhibition The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, on view just a few steps from the White House in Washington, DC, was the first major exhibition of Qur’an manuscripts in the United States, and timely in countering the fast-growing anti-Muslim rhetoric even though it was not envisioned with such an aim. Along with its publication, under review here, the exhibition offered a nuanced understanding of the Qur’an’s role in Islamic societies and... Full Review
April 19, 2018
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Bissera V. Pentcheva
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2017. 304 pp.; 50 color ills.; 42 b/w ills. Cloth $64.95 (9780271077253)
Although much researched, the Justinian church of Hagia Sophia (532–37 and 562) proves to be a still unfathomable well of architectural revelations that bear on the building’s significance as a monument of Byzantine spirituality. This book is a welcome contribution that offers conceptual vistas through which to understand the metaphysical effects of the building’s material and artistic fabric.Hagia Sophia: Sound, Space, and Spirit in Byzantium centers on... Full Review
April 18, 2018
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Rice University’s 300-acre campus is a bucolic enclave situated between the Museum District and the Texas Medical Center, all to the south of downtown Houston. The bulk of its academic buildings are clustered at its axial and planned core. Its north edge and east edge along Main Street are tree lined, well groomed and park-like. Its south and west edges are less tidy, however, and are lined with more functional structures—sports fields and surface parking lots. The Moody Center for the... Full Review
April 17, 2018
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Angela Ho
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017. 272 pp. Hardcover €105.00 (9789462982970)
Angela Ho’s Creating Distinctions in Dutch Genre Painting: Repetition and Invention is a groundbreaking book that explores the phenomena of repetition and invention as they pertain to the work of the most outstanding genre painters active in the Dutch Republic during the third quarter of the seventeenth century. Ho focuses on three of the leading masters during this period: Gerrit Dou, Gerard ter Borch, and Frans van Mieris, who collectively helped to raise this art to an... Full Review
April 17, 2018
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David M. Lubin
New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. 384 pp.; 149 ills. Cloth $39.95 (9780190218614)
Published to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the US entry into World War I in 1917, David Lubin’s Grand Illusions: American Art and World War I offers its reader much more than the book’s straightforward title suggests. Lubin’s foreign, filmic, postwar touchstone, Jean Renoir’s 1937 film La grande illusion, signals an unconventional history of American art of the period regarding media, chronological scope, and well-worn definitions of “American” art. In fact, the... Full Review
April 17, 2018
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Amy Bryzgel
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017. 360 pp.; 67 color ills.; 87 b/w ills. Paperback $34.95 (9781784994228)
1986, Sarajevo. Zvono rushes the field during a soccer match. For this performance, entitled Sport and Art, the band of artists sets up easels and begins to paint. They wear the colors of the opposing team. Once the paintings are complete, they run across the field and showcase them.1986, Turgovishte. In northern Bulgaria, three groups of artists perform parallel actions called The Road. Members of Dobrudzha, Turgovishte, and Ma paint their bodies and engage in... Full Review
April 16, 2018
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Ralph Ubl
Trans. Elizabeth Tucker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 260 pp.; 5 color ills.; 60 b/w ills. Cloth $48.00 (9780226823720)
Ralph Ubl takes Max Ernst very seriously in unforeseen ways, not as a pasticheur of fashionable lines of thought—the fire bringer of Freud to Paris—and not as a great painter. This Ernst is more a dark mechanic dismantling the parts of painting (perspective, ground, picture plane, rectangle, contour), which then persist as a “repressed power” (7) in his painting, enigmatically but powerfully generating “effects of the unavailable” (6). What is at stake in the “unavailable” is... Full Review
April 16, 2018
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Mary-Dailey Desmarais and Thomas Brent Smith, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Abrams, 2017. 304 pp.; 300 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9788874397655)
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, October 14, 2017–February 4, 2018
Denver Art Museum, May 27–September 10, 2017
“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” This quote from John Ford’s film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) illustrates the blurred line between fact and fiction in the American story of nation building. The exhibition Once Upon a Time . . . The Western: A New Frontier in Art and Film, cocurated by Mary-Dailey Desmarais of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (<span... Full Review
April 13, 2018
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Darby English
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. 312 pp.; 47 color ills.; 26 b/w ills. Cloth $40.00 (9780226131054)
Darby English’s book 1971: A Year in the Life of Color hinges on two pairs of jarring pictures. One of the images is well known: a black-and-white photograph showing members of the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC) protesting in front of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in January 1971. The sandwich boards atop their overcoats brand an upcoming survey of contemporary art by black... Full Review
April 12, 2018
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Michael Gaudio
Visual Culture in Early Modernity. New York: Routledge, 2016. 196 pp.; 16 color ills.; 85 b/w ills. Hardcover $128.00 (9781472460462)
In his latest engagement with print culture, Michael Gaudio demonstrates just how productive print culture’s modes of analysis continue to be. Given its rather predictable art-historical title, it may not be immediately evident that this is virtually the first full-length art-historical study of the Bible concordances produced at Little Gidding in England, unusual for deploying a process of collage in which fragments of printed images were reassembled into unconventional and puzzling... Full Review
April 12, 2018
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