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

Browse Recent Book Reviews

Jill Beaulieu, Mary Roberts, and Toni Ross, eds.
Sydney: Power Institute Publications, 2000. 407 pp.; 4 b/w ills. Paper (1864870249)
Michael Fried wrote a number of essays about contemporary painting and sculpture in the 1960s to which arguments about these topics still return. Some will think it ironic that it should be an essay about sculpture which has become the most widely read and influential, as Fried has mostly concerned himself with painting. Since the sixties Fried has devoted himself almost exclusively to historical subjects, but this has not meant that he has become less influential—only that when people gather... Full Review
February 19, 2001
Thumbnail
Marjorie Welish
Cambridge University Press, 1999. 321 pp.; 43 b/w ills. Paper $27.95 (0521633931)
Marjorie Welish has done an admirable job of identifying key issues that have occupied artists during postmodern times. Her essays "investigate the fate of the concept of the brushstroke" during a period when the boundary conditions of art were being aggressively re-evaluated. The various approaches taken by the major members of the New York School—Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, and Barnett Newman, among others—are constantly in the background of her... Full Review
February 19, 2001
Thumbnail
Milly Heyd
Rutgers University Press, 1999. 272 pp.; 112 b/w ills. Paper $24.00 (0813526183)
Milly Heyd's Mutual Reflections is a fascinating study of the ways that African Americans and Jewish Americans have depicted each other in the visual arts over the last century. While this distinctive, complex relationship has been explored in cultural, social, religious, and political areas, this book is the first to analyze that linkage through its visual dimension in a substantive way. Heyd investigates how these artists have viewed each other in ways ranging from symbiosis to... Full Review
February 19, 2001
Thumbnail
William J. Mitchell
MIT Press, 1996. 225 pp.; 16 b/w ills. Paper $15.95 (0262631768)
Originally published—in print and entirely online—in 1995, William J. Mitchell's City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn resembles a relic of early cyberculture scholarship, going back and forth between visionary insight and embarrassing naiveté. As one of the earliest attempts to reimagine and reconceptualize architecture and urbanism in an age of digital information, City of Bits provides a thought-provoking and generous glimpse into the cities—and citizens—of tomorrow.... Full Review
February 13, 2001
Thumbnail
Luminita Machedon and Ernie Scoffham
Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998. 407 pp.; 306 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0262133482)
With each passing year, the geographic area of modernism seems to increase. Similar to the expansion of NATO, but lacking the political strife, modernism's boundary gradually moves eastward to include lands that were abandoned to their own sphere of influence following the Second World War. In recent years though, Western art and architectural historians have begun to rediscover what was, in fact, the heartland of modernism: Central Europe. However Central Europe is defined—whether... Full Review
February 9, 2001
Thumbnail
Tom Edensor
Routledge, 1998. 223 pp.; 9 b/w ills. Cloth $25.99 (0415167132)
With recent works such as Lucy Lippard's On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art and Place (New York: The New Press, 1999), the intersection between the academic discipline of art history and the study of tourism has received increased attention from art historians and art critics. One of the roles of art history within the cultural practice of tourism is, for example, to establish and authenticate a canon of monuments that serves as a resource for tourism as well as to provide the etiquette... Full Review
February 6, 2001
Thumbnail
Stanford Anderson
MIT Press, 2000. 429 pp.; 251 b/w ills. Cloth $59.95 (026201176X)
During his lifetime, Peter Behrens was able to enjoy a great deal of press--thanks to his extensive activity in typography, design, and architecture. In addition to the numerous articles that accompanied his published projects, Behrens became the subject of a monograph by Fritz Hoeber in 1913, while still in the midst of his career. Behrens died in 1940, but remained respected even after World War II, although his achievement was considered to be the work of an early proponent of modernism,... Full Review
February 1, 2001
Thumbnail
Alexander Alberro and Blake Stimson
MIT Press, 1999. 569 pp.; 36 b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (0262511177)
This century's second great period of artistic invention lasted from around 1944 to around 1972—from Abstract Expressionism, that is, to Conceptual art. Artists since then have basically been involved in digesting the implications of that earlier period—a serious task for work that remains unfinished. Art historians have been at it too, at least as far as revisiting the '40s and '50s. Now we're starting to see the '60s and early '70s in historical perspective as well, and part of the... Full Review
February 1, 2001
Thumbnail
Pierre Rosenberg
Princeton University Press in association with National Gallery of Art, 2000. 244 pp.; 265 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (069100918X)
For a series of six Andrew W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Pierre Rosenberg chose as his subject the drawings of five French artists—Nicolas Poussin, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jacques-Louis David, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres—who worked over the span of years when France was transformed politically and socially, but understood their contributions within an unbroken cultural lineage. Rosenberg, along with his collaborator,... Full Review
February 1, 2001
Thumbnail
Paul Hills
Yale University Press, 1998. 248 pp.; 239 color ills.; 15 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0300081359)
Paul Hills's book deals with the aesthetics of color and its social history in Venice. These two ostensibly diverse agendas are interwoven through the author's examination of the cognitive skills of the patronal classes (Hills owes a great deal to Michael Baxandall's concept of the "period eye"), and the materials and processes involved in fashioning the visual environment of the city. As the title informs us, Hills deals with color in marble, mosaic, and glass in addition to painting. He... Full Review
January 31, 2001
Thumbnail