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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

John T. Hill and Heinz Liesbrock, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Prestel, 2015. 408 pp.; 50 color ills.; 350 b/w ills. Cloth $85.00 (9783791382234)
Exhibition schedule: Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop, Germany, September 27, 2015–January 10, 2016; High Museum of Art, June 11–September 11, 2016; Vancouver Art Gallery, October 29, 2016–January 22, 2017

Walking into the Walker Evans: Depth of Field exhibition at the High Museum, one encountered three distinct gallery spaces that effectively chart the path of Walker Evans’s (1903–1975) career from his early work to his last images. Although his Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographs form the core of the exhibition—pictures that document the effect of the Great Depression across the United States... Full Review

October 6, 2017
Alexandra Schwartz
Exh. cat. Oakland: University of California Press, 2015. 176 pp.; Many color ills. Cloth $44.95 (9780520282889)
Exhibition schedule: Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, February 8–May 17, 2015; Telfair Museums, Savannah, June 12–September 20, 2015; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, October 16, 2015–January 31, 2016; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, February 21–May 15, 2016

In asking how best to characterize and periodize the 1990s, Philip Wegner proposes the “counterintuitive asymmetry” of beginning the decade with the fall of the Berlin wall, an event “which is in fact an ending,” and ending with 9/11, an event which he positions as “the opening of the true post-Cold War global situation” (Life Between Two Deaths, 1989–2001: U.S. Culture in the Long Nineties, Durham: Duke University Press, 2009: 28). The “long 1990s” (1989–2001), Wegner surmises, was... Full Review

September 28, 2017
Sol Henaro, Mónica Mayer, Karen Cordero, Griselda Pollock, and et. al.
Exh. cat. Mexico City and Barcelona: MUAC-UNAM, Alumnos 47 and Editorial RM and RM Verlag, 2016. 272 pp. Paper Mex$300.00 (9786070251757)
Exhibition schedule: Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City February 6, 2015—July 31, 2016

It is rare when a retrospective exhibition centers on collective artistic production rather than the traditional focus on a singular (and most frequently male) artist. Si tiene dudas . . . pregunte: Una exposición retrocolectiva de Mónica Mayer / When in Doubt . . . Ask: A Retrocollective of Mónica Mayer, held at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, successfully worked to highlight a pioneering figure in feminist art practice in... Full Review

September 20, 2017
Christine Van Assche and Clarrie Wallis, eds.
Exh. cat. London: Tate Publishing, 2016. 196 pp.; 250 color ills. Paper $47.00 (9781849763608)
Exhibition schedule: Centre Pompidou, Paris, June 24–September 28, 2015; Tate Modern, London, May 4–August 21, 2016; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, October 7, 2016–February 26, 2017

Mona Hatoum is a potentially paradoxical example of the contemporary artist working on the international scene today: On the one hand, she embraces various media and aesthetics in a pared-down, Duchampian approach to material and conceptual-based practices. On the other hand, she is a Palestinian woman who was forced into exile in London due to civil unrest in the Middle East in the 1970s, and thus an artist whose life experience is anything but clean and neat. It might be easy to... Full Review

September 15, 2017
Emily Braun
Exh. cat. New York: Guggenheim Museum, 2015. 250 ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780892075232)
Exhibition schedule: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 9, 2015–January 6, 2016; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf, March 5–July 3, 2016

Alberto Burri (1915–1995) had an extremely successful career almost from the get go, and his work was widely exhibited during most of it. However, if over the past thirty or so years one wished to see work by Burri in the flesh, one needed to make strenuous efforts to do so, for example by going to the artist’s native Città di Castello in Italy where Burri established the Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri in 1978, and subsequently placed late work on permanent display in the Ex... Full Review

September 15, 2017
Stephen Gilchrist, ed.
Exh. cat. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Art Museums, 2016. 228 pp.; 122 color ills.; 2 b/w ills. Cloth (9780300214703)
Exhibition schedule: Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA, February 5–September 18, 2016
Near the entrance to Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia, a group of framed works on paper, all modestly scaled and dating from 1971–72, hang in a line. For some viewers, their distinctive disposition of spirals, striations, lines, networks, and circles will immediately call up traditions of Indigenous mark-making and design in Australia. The media used are less familiar, though. Here it is not a case of the materials most often identified with Indigenous... Full Review
August 24, 2017
Joan Marter, ed.
Exh. cat. Denver: Denver Art Museum in association with Yale University Press, 2016. 216 pp.; 138 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300208429)
Exhibition schedule: Denver Art Museum, Denver, June 12–September 25, 2016; Mint Museum, Charlotte, October 22–January 22, 2017; Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, February 18–May 28, 2017
There is much to celebrate about the exhibition Women of Abstract Expressionism curated by Gwen Chanzit for the Denver Art Museum (DAM), and indeed the mood of the show was decidedly exuberant in its design and content. From the breathtaking views of Helen Frankenthaler’s towering Jacobs Ladder (1957), Lee Krasner’s ebullient The Seasons (1957), or Elaine de Kooning’s explosive Bullfight (1959) to the reading room lined with archival photographs of laughing artists... Full Review
August 10, 2017
Exhibition schedule: Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, July 23–November 13, 2016
Josh Kline: Freedom, curated by Sara Krajewski for the Portland Art Museum, is the title of the first work in a projected five-work cycle by the artist. Each will imagine a future that extends out from the present’s particular techno-economic landscapes. Less a single work than an evolving cluster of works, Freedom has been previously exhibited at the New Museum (2015) and Modern Art Oxford (2015). The Portland Art Museum show marks its completion (public conversation between... Full Review
July 26, 2017
Adam Pendleton
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and New Orleans: Siglio and Contemporary Art Center, 2016. 144 pp.; Many b/w ills. Paper $29.95 (9781938221132)
Exhibition schedule: Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA, April 1–June 16, 2016; Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Denver, July 15–September 25, 2016; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, January 27–May 14, 2017
Installed in a city many consider ground zero for Black Lives Matter at a particularly volatile moment in U.S. race relations, Adam Pendleton: Becoming Imperceptible at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in New Orleans is charged with a political urgency at odds with the artist’s restrained forms, prosaic typography, and cryptic citations. Yet the triumph—and challenge—of Pendleton’s language-based enquiries reside in their capacity to interrogate system and process as provocatively as... Full Review
July 19, 2017
The third incarnation of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) opened to great fanfare in May 2016. The new building more than doubles SFMOMA’s galleries, increases by over ten times the educational facilities, and multiples by four the spaces devoted to cinema and performance. Despite the expanded potential, reactions were mixed. Much of the criticism focused on the architecture, notably the rippling facade of fiberglass-reinforced polymer panels. The sheathing incorporates white... Full Review
July 18, 2017