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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

Carmen C. Bambach, ed.
Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2003. 800 pp.; 333 color ills.; 182 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300098782)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, January 22–March 30, 2003
Of all artists, Leonardo da Vinci is best understood through study of his drawings, as previous scholars such as Bernard Berenson, Kenneth Clark, Carlo Pedretti, Martin Kemp, and David Brown have amply demonstrated. Berenson went to the heart of the matter in The Drawings of the Florentine Painters (2 vols. [New York: E. P. Dutton, 1903]) when he wrote: The quality of qualities, then, in Leonardo’s drawing is the feeling it gives of unimpeded, untroubled, unaltered... Full Review
May 23, 2003
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Duncan Bull, ed.
Waanders, 2002. 192 pp.; 68 color ills.; 159 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (9040086761)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, March 9–May 20, 2002; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, June 15–August 25, 2002; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, September 20–December 1, 2002
History has not been kind to the Brussels-born genre painter and portraitist Michael Sweerts. Despite having enjoyed patrician patronage in Rome and founding one of the earliest academies of art in his native city, Sweerts was disregarded by contemporary chroniclers of painting, and upon his death his name and achievements were quickly forgotten. When at the start of the last century the artist began to interest scholars and modern collectors, he was wrongly taken for Dutch. Later historians... Full Review
May 13, 2003
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Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY, on permanent view
In recent decades, scholars have expanded the definition of American art in a wide variety of directions. Some have been motivated to rethink the exceptionalism so often behind the early collecting and study of art from the United States. Others have worked to document the creative expressions of women and members of diverse ethnic, religious, and class backgrounds into a new “canon” of American visual culture. Still, others have explored the meanings of popular forms of material and visual... Full Review
April 11, 2003
Xavier Barral, ed.
Paris: Centre Pompidou et du Musée National d’Art Moderne in association with Editions de la Martinière, 2001. 576 pp.; 900 ills. Cloth $75.00 (2732429023)
Centre Pompidou et du Musée National d'art Modern, Paris, June 26–September 23, 2002
For almost forty years, Daniel Buren has challenged the dominant systems of cultural production and reception, mounting a two-pronged attack consisting of an ongoing series of in situ works that reveal the often-invisible institutional framework that structures cultural experience, and his voluminous body of writings, an independent project of theory, philosophy, and commentary on art. The rigor of his project is exemplified by his continual employment of what he terms his... Full Review
March 11, 2003
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Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art in association with Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002. 297 pp.; many color ills.; some b/w ills. Paper $35.00 (0271022353)
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, October 6, 2002–January 5, 2003; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, February 14–May 18, 2003
Who knew? Certainly there were documents from the sixteenth century around the publishing house of Christopher Plantin in Antwerp that mentioned payments to artists who added color to intaglio prints. At the same time in Germany, a quite respectable living was made in the print trade by individuals known as Briefmaler, or print colorists, who were included among the depicted professions in Jost Amman’s Book of Trades (Frankfurt, 1568). Not to mention all those surviving woodcuts... Full Review
December 31, 2002
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Allison Smith
Watson-Guptill, 2002. 288 pp.; 170 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0823016331)
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, October 6, 2002–January 5, 2003; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, February 14–May 18, 2003
Tate Britain, London, November 1, 2001–January 27, 2002; Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, March 1–June 2, 2002; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, September 6, 2002–January 5, 2003; Kobe City Museum, Kobe, Japan, February–May 2003; Geidai Museum (University Art Museum), Tokyo, Japan, June–August 2003.
The Victorian Nude was an unusual choice for the inaugural exhibition at Tate Britain since it treated a subject rarely identified with nineteenth-century British culture. After all, despite a pile of books in recent years revealing the scope of Victorian sexuality, the popular correlation between prudery and the Victorian age remains strong. By choosing the saucy word “Exposed” for the exhibition’s title, the museum drew attention to the subject’s previously neglected character and to... Full Review
November 7, 2002
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Karen Wilkin and Bruce Guenther
Princeton University Press, 2000. 180 pp.; 220 b/w ills. Cloth $49.95 (0691090491)
Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, July 14–September 16, 2001; Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, January 26–February 23, 2003; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC, March 15–June 17, 2003
Time always takes revenge on a critic. Any writer with an acute sense of the contemporary in art is bound to appear dated eventually, so the recent exhibition and catalogue of Clement Greenberg's private collection at the Portland Art Museum necessarily raises the question of taste: Here it is the critic who is up for judgment. It is easy to notice the fallibility of Greenberg's choices, and in a way too obvious. Would Charles Baudelaire or Denis Diderot come off any better if we saw a show... Full Review
July 23, 2002
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Mariët Westermann
Exh. cat. Zwolle, Netherlands: Waanders in association with Denver Art Museum and The Newark Museum, 2000. 240 pp.; many color ills.; many b/w ills. $29.95 (0914738461)
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ, October 17, 2001–January 20, 2002; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO, March 2–May 26, 2002
According to Witold Rybczynski's Home: A Short History of an Idea (New York: Viking, 1986), private spaces in households are a Dutch seventeenth-century invention, despite their commonplace nature today. A serious new exhibition and a handsomely produced accompanying catalogue set out to explore this premise by showing Dutch representations of household interiors, as well as actual period furnishings. The exhibition organizer and catalogue supervisor, Mariët Westermann, is far from... Full Review
May 8, 2002
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Nadine M. Orenstein, ed.
Exh. cat. Yale University Press in association with Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. 336 pp.; 108 color ills.; 166 b/w ills. $60.00 (0300090145)
Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May 24–August 5, 2001; and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 25–December 2, 2001
See also: Hans Mielke, "Pieter Bruegel: Die Zeichnungen":http://caareviews.org/reviews/250, reviewed by Dorothy Limouze As the European Cultural Capital of the year 2001, Rotterdam had something quite special to offer—a sensational exhibition, the likes of which will scarcely, if ever, occur again. Almost all of the total graphic work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525–69) was on view this past summer at the Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum in the Netherlands. This splendid show... Full Review
September 19, 2001
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Walter Liedtke, Michiel C. Plomp, and Axel Ruger
Exh. cat. Yale University Press in association with Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001. 640 pp.; 225 color ills.; 526 b/w ills. $75.00 (0870999737)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March 8–May 27, 2001; The National Gallery, London, June 20–September 16, 2001
By invoking the name of this well-known Dutch cultural idol in the title of their magnificent exhibition and catalogue, the organizers of Vermeer and the Delft School assured historically packed houses for both of the museums that hosted this show. As visitors realized upon entering, however, the show did not focus narrowly upon the genius Vermeer, who produced only about sixteen of the 159 works on display. Rather, its scope was broadly historical, examining the rise of Vermeer's... Full Review
July 16, 2001
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