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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts, July 2, 2019–May 15, 2020
Dutch and Flemish marine paintings have tended to be a niche subject, often subsumed within landscapes, left to specialists, or referenced with a few stars, such as Jan Porcellis, Simon de Vlieger, and Willem van de Velde the Younger. In Seymour Slive’s still-standard survey Dutch Painting 1600–1800 (Yale University Press, 1995), the chapter on landscape is three times longer than that on marine subjects. Such an imbalance contrasts with the large number of prestigious... Full Review
October 17, 2019
Thumbnail
Ittai Weinryb, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Bard Graduate Center, 2018. 372 pp.; 250 color ills.; 60 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300222968)
Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York, September 14, 2018–January 6, 2019
The exhibition Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place revealed the moving, sometimes playful yearning that accompanies a primal desire to be in the company of the supernatural. Curated by Ittai Weinryb, the Bard Graduate Center Gallery exhibition posited that this desire to visualize or materialize the miraculous is a practice that has existed in all periods and places. It featured objects ranging from Etruscan terra-cottas to Mexican votive paintings to Bavarian and... Full Review
October 3, 2019
Thumbnail
Wolfgang Drechsler, ed.
Exh. cat. Livorno, Italy: Sillabe, 2017. 152 pp. € 20.00 (9788883479465)
Palazzo Pitti, Florence, March 25–June 25, 2017
Maria Lassnig: Woman Power, curated by Wolfgang Drechsler and displayed in the Andito degli Angiolini at Palazzo Pitti, showcased twenty-five artworks by the Austrian painter Maria Lassnig (1914–2014). The paintings that were in the exhibition, which are either self-portraits or still-life pictures, examine the complex phenomenology of the material relationships between human flesh, animals such as tigers and birds, and diverse objects including scissors, musical instruments,... Full Review
September 19, 2019
Thumbnail
Martino Stierli and Vladimir Kulić, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2018. 228 pp.; 150 color ills.; 85 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781633450516)
Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 15, 2018–January 13, 2019
Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia 1948–1980 was an archive of radical potential. The highly anticipated architecture exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) included over four hundred drawings, plans, photographs, models, and film reels related to the construction, ideological and physical, of the second Yugoslavia (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). Unlike in MoMA’s previous architecture exhibition Latin America in Construction: Architecture... Full Review
September 13, 2019
Thumbnail
Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti, eds.
Exh. cat. Warsaw: Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, 2018. 330 pp.; 16 color ills.; 52 b/w ills. Paper $29.00 (9788364177446)
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, February 20–June 1, 2015; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, March 18–May 9, 2016; Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile, April 7–August 12, 2018; Sursock Museum, Beirut, July 27–October 1, 2018
Kristine Khouri and Rasha Salti’s exhibition Past Disquiet and its accompanying catalog of essays and documents is the result of ten years of research into neglected histories of international solidarity. Their research brings to light a dynamic, sprawling network of Cold War “grassroots cultural diplomacy” projects (57) that often developed independently or at arm’s length from the state. During the 1960s–90s, cultural workers found common cause in anti-imperialist struggles and... Full Review
September 9, 2019
Thumbnail
Gilbert Vicario, ed.
Exh. cat. Phoenix and Munich: Phoenix Art Museum in association with Hirmer Publishers, 2019. 248 pp.; 132 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9783777431925)
Steele Gallery, Phoenix Art Museum, March 9–September 8, 2019; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, October 5, 2019–January 5, 2020; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 13–June 21, 2020; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA, August 1–November 29, 2020
North Wing, American Galleries, Phoenix Art Museum, March 30–December 15, 2019
“The Art-form which is form-of-power does not say anything, it Does something to you,” wrote modernist composer, astrologer, and painter Dane Rudhyar nearly a decade before he joined the Transcendental Painting Group (TPG) in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Art as Release of Power, Hamsa, 1929). Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist is the latest ambitious example of a growing fascination with esoterically inspired art that attempted to compel an active, dynamic spirituality... Full Review
August 30, 2019
Thumbnail
In 1980, artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude were invited to Miami to consider completing a work for the New World Festival of the Arts, a large-scale festival spanning the visual and performing arts during the summer of 1982. Their visit would connect them to Miami’s nascent art scene and inspire their self-funded project Surrounded Islands, completed in May 1983, for which the artists transformed Biscayne Bay by surrounding eleven islands with a pink polyethylene fabric. Bridging... Full Review
August 29, 2019
Thumbnail
Stephen F. Eisenman
Exh. cat. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017. 248 pp.; 137 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780691175256)
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, September 23, 2017–March 11, 2018
William Blake and the Age of Aquarius at Northwestern University’s Block Museum, curated by Stephen F. Eisenman, is a both learned and highly accessible look at the surprisingly broad influence that William Blake exerted on American artists in the 1960s. By focusing on Blake’s impact, Eisenman manages to present the sixties in a critical light, largely free of the tired nostalgia that usually accompanies the turbulent era. As Eisenman notes in the accompanying catalogue, the term... Full Review
August 16, 2019
Thumbnail
John P. Jacob and Luke Skrebowski
Exh. cat. London: D. Giles Limited in association with Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2018. 252 pp.; 174 ills. Cloth $59.95 (9781911282334)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, June 21, 2018–January 6, 2019; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA, February 22–June 2, 2019
For over two decades the artist and experimental geographer Trevor Paglen has given form to visually elusive subjects, from black-op military bases hidden in Nevada deserts and spy satellites encircling the earth to NSA-tapped fiber optic cables on the Pacific Ocean floor. The Smithsonian American Art Museum... Full Review
August 15, 2019
Thumbnail
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, April 29, 2016–May 12, 2019
“I need my space” proclaims the slogan on today’s ubiquitous NASA-themed T-shirts and hoodies, seen at popular stores like Target, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21. This catchy phrase also adorns lunch boxes, coffee mugs, stickers,... Full Review
August 8, 2019
Thumbnail