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

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Veronica Roberts, ed.
Exh. cat. Austin: Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, 2017. 144 pp.; 138 ills. Hardcover $34.95 (9781477311516)
Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, March 12–June 11, 2017; Stanford University Cantor Arts Center, September 15, 2017–January 7, 2018
Nina Katchadourian: Curiouser is the first mid-career survey of the work of California-born New York–based Conceptual artist Nina Katchadourian (b. 1968). The exhibition explores ten major bodies of her work that include video, photography, sculpture, and sound art, addressing themes such as language, translation and interpretation, mapping and classificatory systems, sound and silence, awkwardness and the absurd, with a serious playfulness that has become the artist’s trademark. Organized by Veronica Roberts, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, the exhibition is both intellectually stimulating and aesthetically powerful, displaying… Full Review
February 8, 2018
Jeffrey Weiss, Daniel Buren, and Whitney Davis
Exh. cat. New York: Guggenheim Museum, 2015. 264 pp.; 436 color ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780892075195)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, February 6–May 3, 2015
I first saw On Kawara’s work in person in 1998 at the retrospective exhibition Whole and Parts 1964–1995 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. At the time I was a graduate student in that city, and my memory of the show is marked by the architecture of the museum, with its rectangular spaces and high ceilings, where each of his bodies of work was assigned a separate space, objectivizing them and creating a sense of preciousness. Overall, the symmetric configuration of the spaces gave the impression that his work had arrived at a final destination, where it was… Full Review
February 1, 2018
Exhibition schedule: Queens Museum, March 8, 2015—September 13, 2015
Queens Museum, March 8–September 13, 2015
After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997 looks at Indian and diasporic art from the last seventy years. Occupying much of the Queens Museum’s capacious ground floor, the exhibition, curated by art historian Arshiya Lokhandwala, is spatially as well as thematically organized along two now-axiomatic fault lines of recent Indian history: India’s independence in 1947 and the opening of India’s markets to international commercial interests under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the 1990s. The year 1997 marked the fiftieth anniversary of India’s independence, which has spurred critical inquiry into the state of the nation and figures as one… Full Review
January 23, 2018
Miranda Wallace, Robert Leonard, and Betsy Berne
Brisbane: Gallery of Modern Art, 2016. 144 pp. Cloth AU$39.95 (9781921503801)
Exhibition schedule: Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, May 28–October 3, 2016
In the decades since Cindy Sherman established her photographic practice as part of the Pictures Generation of the 1970s and early 1980s, her work has provoked polarized opinions. Her relationship with feminism in particular has been hotly debated, with some insisting that her work reveals and subverts the patriarchal nature of the gaze, and others suggesting that Sherman’s use of masquerade merely reinforces the visual dynamics of fetishism. As Jui-Ch’i Liu has suggested, Sherman’s own ambiguous position regarding feminism has only added fuel to these debates (Jui-Ch’i Liu, “Female Spectatorship and the Masquerade: Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills,” History… Full Review
December 15, 2017
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art
New York: The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, 2016.
The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA), a nonprofit institution located in midtown Manhattan that is devoted to “advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts,” has recently opened a plaster-cast gallery. A selection of highlights from 120 plaster casts donated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as casts and wood moldings from the ICAA’s Dick Reid Teaching Collection, are on display in a single room on the building’s top floor. The casts re-create freestanding sculptures, reliefs, and architectural elements that date from the fifth century BCE… Full Review
December 14, 2017
Byzantine Fresco Chapel, Menil Collection, Houston, TX, May 21, 2016 – Oct 28, 2018
Installed at the Menil Collection’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel in Houston, Texas, more than four hundred handmade images of the fourth-century saint Fabiola comprise Francis Alÿs’s latest version of The Fabiola Project. Except for a few small objects displayed in an adjoining room, the pictures are hung on a single wall 24 feet tall by 40.5 feet wide. The lower one-third of the works can be inspected closely, but the rest reside too high for such pursuits and are subsequently absorbed into a field of color dominated by the figures’ red veils. Adorning the left-facing profile of a woman, the… Full Review
December 12, 2017
Sarah Kate Gillespie, Janice Simon, Meredith E. Ward, and Kimberly Orcutt
Exh. cat. Athens: Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, 2016. 126 pp.; 42 color ills.; 40 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (9780915977956)
Exhibition schedule: Georgia Museum of Art, September 17–December 11, 2016
The forty works featured in Icon of Modernism: Representing the Brooklyn Bridge, 1883–1950 illustrate the influence that the imposing New York architectural landmark has had on modernist artists of varying stripes since its completion in 1883 to just after the Second World War. Included are a mix of paintings, works on paper, and photographs executed in several modernist styles from American Impressionism to Surrealism that depict the bridge from key vantage points. In fact, in the accompanying exhibition catalogue curator Sarah Kate Gillespie identifies three distinct categories of bridge imagery, the first being “views of the long sweep of the… Full Review
December 6, 2017
Victoria Lynn and Helen Hughes
Exh. cat. Healesville, Australia: TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2016. 120 pp.; 110 ills. AU$15.00 (9780994455222)
Exhibition schedule: TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Australia, August 19–November 6, 2016
The 2016 TarraWarra Biennial was conceptualized as an exchange between two influential modes within contemporary art today: the recurring “biennial” exhibition format and the prevalence of contemporary art journals. The exhibition’s curatorial premise, its catalogue, and its associated program of talks and publications were envisaged by curators Victoria Lynn (director of TarraWarra Museum of Art) and Helen Hughes (co-founder of Discipline journal) as being not simply in dialogue with each other, but constructing an interconnected project not bounded by gallery walls or catalogue pages. The biennial’s theme, “Endless Circulation,” suggested a feeling of perpetual movement and flux that occurs… Full Review
December 5, 2017
Matthew Affron, Mark A. Castro, Dafne Cruz Porchini, and Renato González Mello, eds.
Exh. cat. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2016. 432 pp.; 350 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300215229)
Exhibition schedule: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, October 25, 2016–January 8, 2017; Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, February 3–April 30, 2017; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 25–October 1, 2017
Marking the centenary of the Mexican Constitution (and some argue the end of the Mexican Revolution), the year 2017 is the occasion for many celebrations of Mexican art and culture. Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950 offers a rare opportunity to see numerous exceptional examples of Mexican modern art, many loaned from private collections. The exhibition and its accompanying lavishly illustrated catalogue are collaborations between the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) and the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Curators Matthew Affron, Mark A. Castro, Dafne Cruz Porchini, and Renato González Mello’s welcome transnational perspective… Full Review
December 5, 2017
Pilar Silva Maroto, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2016. 400 pp. Paper $45.00 (9780500970799)
Exhibition schedule: Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. May 31–September 25, 2016
In summer 2016, on the five hundredth anniversary of Jheronimus Bosch’s death (ca. 1450–1516), the Museo Nacional del Prado staged an impressive, well-researched monographic exhibition on the highly original and imaginative Netherlandish artist. Curated by Pilar Silva Maroto, head of the departments of Flemish and early Spanish painting at the Prado, who also edited the hefty scholarly catalogue that accompanied the show, the exhibition provided a unique opportunity to view the majority of Bosch’s works together for the first time. Its emphasis on the works themselves, on their materiality and technique, provided a fresh insight into Bosch’s oeuvre, which has… Full Review
November 10, 2017