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

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Bastian Eclercy
Exh. cat. New York: Prestel, 2016. 304 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9783791355061)
Exhibition schedule: Städel Museum, Frankfurt, February 24–June 5, 2016
Until recently, extensive thematic exhibitions on the Florentine maniera have been confined to Italian and, more specifically, Tuscan institutions. Elsewhere in Europe, however, the last few years have seen a reanimated interest in Mannerism: the latest, in the spring of 2016, was the large-scale exhibition Maniera: Pontormo, Bronzino and Medici Florence at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt. Organized by Bastian Eclercy—chief curator of Italian, French, and Spanish painting at the... Full Review
June 22, 2017
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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
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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
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Per Rumberg and Holm Bevers
Exh. cat. New York: Morgan Library and Museum, 2016. 78 pp.; 55 color ills. Paper $24.95 (9780875981765)
Exhibition schedule: Morgan Library and Museum, June 3–September 18, 2016
Rembrandt’s First Masterpiece offered visitors a rare opportunity to engage with Rembrandt’s painted Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver (1629) and the three surviving sheets of preparatory drawings associated with it. The exhibition marked the first time that the painting, long held in an English private collection and, as the exhibition’s title suggested, regarded as a decisive work for the artist’s subsequent development, was shown in the United States. For context,... Full Review
May 11, 2017
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Exhibition schedule: Guayanilla-Peñuelas region, Puerto Rico, September 23, 2015–September 23, 2017
Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), a site-specific installation created by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, is a post-colonial inversion and commentary on the complicated state of U.S.-Puerto Rican relations. This iteration of what appears to be an ongoing project also develops one of their consistent themes: light as illumination, energy, and power. Dan Flavin’s iconic Minimalist, fluorescent-light sculpture Puerto Rican Light (to Jeanie Blake) made in 1965 was... Full Review
May 11, 2017
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Massimiliano Gioni and Margot Norton, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: New Museum in association with Phaidon, 2016. 192 pp.; 114 color ills. Cloth $59.95 (9780714871783)
Exhibition schedule: New Museum, New York, February 3–April 10, 2016
Anri Sala: Answer Me, organized by the New Museum’s artistic director Massimiliano Gioni and associate curators Margot Norton and Natalie Bell, is the artist’s first comprehensive survey exhibition in the United States. Sala (b. 1974) is an Albanian artist who lives and works in Berlin and uses primarily video to investigate the underlying structure of music and sound. Many of his works deal with emotional histories of architectural spaces as told by live and recorded musical... Full Review
April 27, 2017
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Kristen Gresh and Michket Krifa
Exh. cat. Boston: MFA Publications, 2015. 168 pp.; 100 color ills. Cloth $40.00 (9780878468041)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 27, 2013–January 12, 2014; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford, January 28–May 4, 2015; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, May 30–September 28, 2015; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, April 8–July 31, 2016
Taking its title from rawiya, the Arabic noun for a storyteller (feminine) and the eponymous name of an all-women photography collective in the Middle East, She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, organized by Kristen Gresh, the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exhibits the photographs and, in two cases, the videos of twelve artists. (The title page for the catalogue includes... Full Review
April 5, 2017
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Centre Pompidou, Paris, February 26–March 6, 2016
[See the multimedia media review on Scalar.] This review of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Work/Travail/Arbeid (2015–17) enlists the interactive, multimedia capabilities of the Scalar platform to evoke the dance exhibition’s ten-day run at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The exhibition brought together several components of the Belgian choreographer and dancer’s broader project, including investigating choreography... Full Review
March 23, 2017
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Austen Barron Bailly, ed.
Exh. cat. London and New York: Prestel and DelMonico Books, 2015. 256 pp.; 200 color ills. Cloth $60.00 (9783791354224)
Exhibition schedule: Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, June 6–September 7, 2015; Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO, October 10, 2015–January 3, 2016; Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, February 6–May 1, 2016; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, June 10–September 5, 2016
Touted in museum press releases as the “first major exhibition in more than twenty-five years to feature the life and works of the renowned American painter Thomas Hart Benton,” American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood explores the complex intersections between the work of one of the United States’ most revered Regionalists and the American feature film industry. In its staging at Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum of American Art (the third stop on a four-city tour), American... Full Review
March 23, 2017
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Exhibition schedule: Printed Matter, New York, June 18–July 31, 2016
We live in a country divided. Americans today are struggling to have frank, productive dialogues about politics, civil liberties, and social issues. Thanks to livestreaming and social media, our impassioned reactions, firsthand accounts, and official statements catalog each day’s debates in real time and on a vast public scale. While it is tempting to attribute our current state of the union to uniquely twenty-first-century problems—terrorism, technology, or globalization, to name a few—it is... Full Review
March 22, 2017
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