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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

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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Dimitrios Pandermalis, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Onassis Foundation, 2016. 159 pp.; 164 color ills.; 9 b/w ills. Paper $30.00 (9780990614227)
Exhibition schedule: Onassis Cultural Center, New York, March 24–June 18, 2016
From first glance, it was clear that the exhibition Gods and Mortals at Olympus: Ancient Dion, City of Zeus was more than an impressive collection of ancient sculpture. It was a show with a clear didactic objective: to illuminate the accomplishments of the archaeologists and conservators who had worked for forty-five years to systematically unearth and preserve the rugged ancient city of Dion. The exhibition illustrated the potential of scientific and systematic excavations, with every... Full Review
March 16, 2017
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Jennifer Blessing
Exh. cat. New York: Guggenheim Museum, 2015. 148 pp.; 135 color ills. Paper $50.00 (9780892075218)
Exhibition Schedule: Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, July 10–August 30, 2015; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, November 20, 2015–March 23, 2016
“How many minutes would you invest in looking at a particularly striking photograph?” I asked this of my History of Photography students last year, and the response came not in minutes but in seconds. They largely used Instagram as their default experience: “six seconds” answered one of the more thoughtful students. “No,” argued another, “maybe three seconds, if it’s attached to text on a blog.” Thus the understandable motivation of undertaking an exhibition like Photo-Poetics: An... Full Review
March 15, 2017
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Lawrence Rinder
Exh. cat. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2016. 349 pp.; 280 color ills. Paper $39.95 (9780983881315)
Exhibition schedule: University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, January 31–May 29, 2016
Architecture of Life, the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive’s (BAMPFA) inaugural exhibition in its new building, opens with something of a self-portrait. A photograph, taken four years before the museum itself would open to the public, shows a hand holding an early architect’s model of the new building. In the black-and-white image, the wood model is a small, abstracted form that has been sanded, blackened, and polished to a fine sheen. The hand... Full Review
February 22, 2017
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