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

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Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
Atlanta: Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, 2017.
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, February 9–May 20, 2017
For her new body of work, almost entirely composed of, or engaging with, durational media, such as video and film, Mickalene Thomas has re-created the same intimate, female domestic spaces of communion and solidarity as she sets up in her studio for her photo shoots. Islands of patterned carpet with ottomans covered by the familiar 1970s textiles invite the viewer to sit and interact with versions of her personal library, comprising books by Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Alice Walker, and... Full Review
March 26, 2018
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James Meyer
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016. 384 pp.; 325 color ills.; 90 b/w ills. Hardcover $60.00 (9780226425108)
Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971. Exhibition schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, September 30, 2016–January 29, 2017; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, March 19–September 10, 2017
Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971, the first museum exhibition to chronicle the eleven-year run of Virginia Dwan’s bicoastal gallery, anticipates the promised gift of the art dealer’s collection to the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC. During a period of incredible transformation in American and European art, Dwan was at the forefront, mounting... Full Review
March 23, 2018
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The Print Center, Philadelphia, May 12–August 5, 2017
Yoonmi Nam's Still was a simple, direct exhibition: three lithographs, three sculptures, and three Japanese woodblock prints (mokuhanga) displayed a single white room. While the sculptures rested on white perimeter plinths, Nam's lithographs and woodblocks held the walls, delivering spare, nearly diagrammatic flora composed swimmingly on creamy paper. The presentation was elegant and normcore basic, except that the sculptures were facsimiles of throwaways, appearing to be... Full Review
March 20, 2018
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Ana Clara Silva and Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, eds.
Exh. cat. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2017. 404 pp.; 250 ills. $95.00 (9780692820735)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 5–May 21, 2017; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, November 11, 2017–March 18, 2018
A series of international flags stripped of their color by Wilfredo Prieto framed the entrance to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s presentation of Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950. Titled Apolítico (Apolitical, 2001), Prieto’s gray-scale flags guarded the balcony of the second-floor gallery where the exhibition was on view, as if demarcating neutral ground for the oft-contested field of Cuban art. Visible just beyond Prieto’s... Full Review
March 16, 2018
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Bernard Herman
Eds. Mark Sloan and Lizz Biswell. Exh. cat. Charleston: Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, 2016. 214 pp.; 114 color ills.; 3 b/w ills. Hardcover $39.95 (9781467574488)
Exhibition schedule: Something to Take My Place: The Art of Lonnie Hollie, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts, South Carolina, August 22–October 10, 2015.

Exhibition schedule: Lonnie Holley: I Snuck Off a Slave Ship, Atlanta Contemporary, January 12–April 2, 2017

A central (and not uncommon) problem confronts the curator of a white-box gallery who wishes to exhibit the work of Lonnie Holley, an Alabama-born artist and musician typically described as self-taught or vernacular: how to present the work within the conventions established by this type of institution while also acknowledging that the artist’s animating presence is necessary to the artworks’ significance. As Bernard L. Herman argues in a persuasive essay in Something to Take My Place:... Full Review
March 9, 2018
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Agustín Arteaga
Exh. cat. Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 2017. 360 pp.; 209 color ills.; 87 b/w ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780300229950)
Grand Palais, Paris, October 5, 2016–January 23, 2017; Dallas Museum of Art, March 12–July 16, 2017
“The narrative of this exhibition is a journey that sheds new light and permits new reflections on what has come to be oversimplified in the figures of ‘The Big Three’—Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros—and in the ubiquitous phenomenon of Frida Kahlo” (20), writes Agustín Arteaga, the newly appointed Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (<span... Full Review
March 6, 2018
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Nicole R. Myers, ed.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. 136 pp.; 115 color ills. Paper $35.00 (9780300227055)
Dallas Museum of Art, December 4, 2016–March 19, 2017
The title to the exhibition Art and Nature in the Middle Ages at the Dallas Museum of Art appeared in large gilded letters set upon a forest-green wall and framed by a lush foliate border similar to those gracing late-medieval manuscripts. The glittering composition signaled that something beautiful waited around the corner. A small creature, outlined in gold and similarly lifted from lively Gothic illuminations, playfully peeked from a lower corner of the same wall, imparting a... Full Review
February 15, 2018
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The Museum of the City of New York, January 14–May 21, 2017
The lights went out in New York City for two days in the summer of 1977, a summer marred also by more murders by the Son of Sam killer and a continuing fiscal crisis. In that time of crisis, privately funded arts groups stepped forward to enrich the city’s public-school programs with art classes taught by working artists. Forty years later, The City and the Young Imagination at the Museum of the City of New York looked back over the work of children in classes sponsored by one such... Full Review
February 14, 2018
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Jonathan P. Binstock and Malick Gaines
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2014. 119 pp. Cloth $92.00 (9780991635696)
UCLA Hammer Museum, June 2–September 2, 2012; Grand Gallery at Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY, February 19–May 7, 2017; Rochester Contemporary Art Center, February 3–March 19, 2017
The exhibition Meleko Mokgosi: Pax Kaffraria consisted of a series of mural-size paintings that interwove historical narratives of postcolonial southern African countries with cinematic contemporary scenes from the daily lives of the individuals who uphold, live within, resist, define, and embody the nation-states. Mokgosi, born in Francistown, Botswana, and living in New York City, presented the project in eight nonlinear chapters, each one composed of three to eight canvases, with... Full Review
February 13, 2018
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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.... Full Review
February 8, 2018
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