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

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Clare Robertson
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. 460 pp.; 80 color ills.; 220 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300215298)
The reign of Clement VIII (1592–1605) witnessed a confluence of extraordinary circumstances culminating in the Jubilee of 1600, when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims descended upon Rome. The aftermath of the Council of Trent and the founding of several new religious orders led to a growing understanding that art could be used as a valuable vehicle for disseminating the church’s message, prompting, in part, a flurry of church construction and renovation. Meanwhile, the city experienced an... Full Review
January 10, 2017
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Thijs Weststeijn
Leiden: Brill, 2015. 452 pp.; 178 ills. Cloth $161.00 (9789004283619)
Thijs Weststeijn’s Art and Antiquity in the Netherlands and Britain: The Vernacular Arcadia of Franciscus Junius (1591–1677) is a well-researched, thoughtful, and timely argument for the seminal role played by the various versions of Franciscus Junius’s The Painting of the Ancients in Three Books or, in Latin, De pictura veterum libri tres (1637) within the history of early modern Netherlandish art theory and also in the broader European tradition. As Weststeijn shows,... Full Review
January 10, 2017
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Kathryn M. Rudy
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. 362 pp.; 80 color ills.; 140 b/w ills. Cloth $85.00 (9780300209891)
Kathryn M. Rudy’s Postcards on Parchment: The Social Lives of Medieval Books is an exuberant study. The title of the volume draws from its opening vignette, in which, sometime toward the end of the fifteenth century, Sister Kerstyne Vetters sent a “postcard” to her (biological) Sister Lijsbet Vetters, housed at a different convent. This postcard—a painted image of St. Barbara on a rectangle of parchment, with an inscription on its back—survives today in a small prayer book now in the... Full Review
January 5, 2017
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Alessandra Russo
Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2014. 368 pp.; 35 color ills.; 153 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780292754133)
Combining long-standing research interests in three distinct areas of sixteenth-century Mexican art—feather mosaics, geographic maps, and graffiti—Alessandra Russo’s latest major publication continues to exude the adventurous spirit of a personal scholarly quest in which she invites the reader to participate. Although exploring graffiti is an original undertaking, the first two topics have been treated in earlier books: one authored on maps, El realismo circular: Tierras, espacios y... Full Review
January 4, 2017
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David Grubbs
Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. 248 pp.; 19 ills. Paper $23.95 (9780822355908)
In 1982, after eating a macrobiotic lunch with John Cage in his West 18th Street loft, I brandished my Sony TC-D5M cassette recorder. “I have one just like it,” he said, “David [Tudor] told me to get it—I’ve never turned it on.” Everyone who knew Cage heard him proclaim at least once, “I don’t use records . . . unless I do something else with them” (as in Credo in US; 1942). I was unaware of any composer who accepted these as words to live by, let alone anyone who resisted the... Full Review
January 4, 2017
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Christine Guth
Honolulu: University Of Hawai'i Press, 2015. 272 pp.; 70 color ills.; 5 b/w ills. Paper $20.00 (9780824839604)
Christine Guth’s Hokusai’s Great Wave: Biography of a Global Icon is a landmark in multidisciplinary scholarly sophistication. It examines the long and storied history of one Japanese artwork as it has circulated around the world being imagined, reimagined, and reimaged, thereby fusing the local and global across time. Methodologically, the book offers the field of art history dynamic intersecting modes of critical inquiry for revisiting questions of global flow and cultural... Full Review
January 3, 2017
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Miriam M. Basilio
New York: Routledge, 2013. 340 pp.; 20 color ills.; 51 b/w ills. Cloth $130.05 (9781409464815)
Miriam M. Basilio’s excellent monograph, Visual Propaganda, Exhibitions, and the Spanish Civil War, provides an in-depth study of images that were in visual circulation both during and immediately after the conflict that tore Spain apart. That Basilio concludes her work with a broad look at how different artists have engaged with historical memory through the interrogation of museums, archives, and testimony shows how the Spanish Civil War continues to influence the collective... Full Review
December 29, 2016
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Christina M. Anderson
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 256 pp.; 40 color ills.; 15 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300209686)
Art historians have long known Daniel Nijs (or Nys) as the merchant who arranged the sale of a large part of the collection of the dukes of Mantua to Charles I of England in the single “greatest art deal of the seventeenth century” (1). Although documents relating to the transaction were published long ago by Noel Sainsbury and Alessandro Luzio, Nijs himself has remained a fairly obscure figure. Based on a fresh examination of manuscript sources, Christina M. Anderson’s The Flemish... Full Review
December 28, 2016
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Alexa Sand
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 423 pp.; 7 color ills.; 95 b/w ills. Cloth $125.00 (9781107032224)
Alexa Sand’s study of owner portraits in Francophone women’s devotional manuscripts, primarily from 1200 to 1350, presents a theoretically aware discussion of essential themes associated with illuminated Books of Hours: individual and family, public and private, space and time. Visual cues for devotion, defined as “striving for transformation through vision” (81), inspire Sand’s analysis of the spaces activated while performing prayer with self-reflexive images and texts. These devotional... Full Review
December 28, 2016
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Ian Berry and Michael Duncan, eds.
Exh. cat. Saratoga Springs, NY: The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in association with DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2014. 254 pp. Cloth $49.95 (9783791352336)
Exhibition schedule: Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, January 19–July 29, 2014; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, June 6–September 14, 2014; Baker Museum, Naples, FL, September 27, 2014–January 4, 2015; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, January 31–April 18, 2015; Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, June 14–November 11, 2015
Corita Kent is having a moment. Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, the 2013 exhibition organized by Skidmore College’s Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, was followed in 2015 by Corita Kent and the Language of Pop at Harvard Art Museums; Sister Corita’s Summer of Love at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand; and love is here to stay (and that’s enough): Prints by Sister Corita Kent at the University of San Diego’s... Full Review
December 22, 2016
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