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

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Jens Hoffmann and Claudia J. Nahson
Exh. cat. New York: Jewish Museum in association with Yale University Press, 2016. 224 pp.; 185 color ills.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780300212150)
Exhibition schedule: The Jewish Museum, New York, May 6–September 18, 2016; Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, July 7–October 8, 2017; Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, November 2017–March 2018
In presenting the work of Roberto Burle Marx (1909–1994), curators Jens Hoffmann and Claudia J. Nahson (with Rebecca Shaykin) and the Jewish Museum have expanded the range of exhibitions on architecture and design to include not only a designer from Latin America but one whose primary medium is the most difficult to capture and express museographically: modern landscape architecture. While the focus is on the landscapes he designed, Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist shows that his production was multidisciplinary and included everything from paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and maquettes, to decorative objects and jewelry. Works by international contemporary artists influenced by… Full Review
November 10, 2017
Henri Loyrette
Exh. cat. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2016. 255 pp.; 309 ills. Cloth $55.00 (9780890901915)
Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, June 24–September 18, 2016; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, October 16, 2016–January 16, 2017
Degas: A New Vision offered a rare, broad, and true career-spanning retrospective of Edgar Degas (1834–1917), whose body of work was produced over the course of half a century, in a trajectory that made many twists and turns. Degas was an artist deeply rooted in the traditions of the Renaissance and the Academy yet also one of the most avant-garde artists of his era. His innovations in monoprint, for example, both as a unique medium and in conjunction with pastel, show an experimental sensitivity to materials more commonly associated with modernists of the twentieth century. His interest in color theory… Full Review
October 20, 2017
Edward H. Wouk, ed.
Exh. cat. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016. 240 pp.; 55 ills. Cloth £25.00 (9781526109569)
Exhibition schedule: The Whitworth, University of Manchester, UK, September 30, 2016–May 29, 2017
The exhibition Marcantonio Raimondi and Raphael celebrates the collaboration between the celebrated papal court painter Raphael Sanzio (1483–1520) and the lesser-known but respected Bolognese metal engraver and goldsmith Marcantonio Raimondi (ca. 1480–ca. 1534). Tracing the development of the close working partnership shared between artist and craftsman, the exhibition reveals how this unique relationship benefited both men in their chosen artistic fields. Marcantonio Raimondi and Raphael centers on a number of exquisitely executed engravings in which the vision presented through Raphael’s drawings is transposed through the mastery of Marcantonio’s burin. Borrowed from collections throughout England, most notably from Manchester’s own… Full Review
October 13, 2017
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 and especially in the American South—the impact of Depth of Field is that it demonstrates the development of a highly personalized and exacting style over the course of Evans’s lifetime. He skillfully captured people and places… 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 a time caught “between two deaths,” a time during which certain kinds of histories (U.S./European geopolitics) were centralized and others… 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 Mexico while it simultaneously destabilized expectations of the retrospective format by emphasizing the role of collective artistic practice in Mayer’s work. Since the… 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 presume, then, that Hatoum’s artistic agenda is strongly political, and yet her art almost uniformly (and cleverly) toys… 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 Seccatoi del Tabacco. Otherwise, this artist’s work is difficult to find in museum and… 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 Australian art—natural pigments on bark, for example, or acrylics on linen or canvas. Nor is it a question of media that are… 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 reveling in their 1950s studios, there was an air of excitement conjured throughout. This feeling was matched in the critical reception for the exhibition which has received much… Full Review
August 10, 2017