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

Browse Recent Exhibition Reviews

Kathy Halbreich, ed.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014. 320 pp.; 545 color ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780870708893)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 19–August 3, 2014; Tate Modern, London, October 1, 2014–February 8, 2015; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, March 14–July 5, 2015
This major survey of Sigmar Polke’s vast body of work completed its three-city tour with a fitting last stop in Cologne, the artist’s long-time studio base. In putting together the first retrospective to cover all phases of his highly prolific career, Kathy Halbreich, with co-curators Mark Godfrey and Lanka Tattersall, faced an enormous task. The scale of the show was a constant theme in the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) press materials and in the many exhibition reviews published as it... Full Review
March 10, 2016
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Dieter Buchhart and Tricia Laughlin Bloom, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2015. 246 pp. Cloth $50.00 (9780847845828)
Exhibition schedule: Brooklyn Museum, New York, April 3–August 23, 2015
Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, organized by guest curator Dieter Buchhart and former Associate Curator of Exhibitions Tricia Laughlin Bloom, is an important milestone for the Brooklyn Museum: its opening marks ten years since the museum’s survey of Jean-Michel Basquiat in 2005. The exhibition includes 160 pages from 8 notebooks borrowed from the collection of Larry Warsh and around 30 accompanying paintings and drawings. It is worth noting that the artist has not lacked in shows in... Full Review
March 3, 2016
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José Luis Barrios and Alesha Mercado Mercado
Exh. cat. Mexico City: MUAC-UNAM, 2014. 48 pp. Paper MXN 120.00 (6070261251)
Exhibition schedule: Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, November 22, 2014–April 5, 2015
The excellent exhibition El derrumbe de la estatua: hacia una crítica del arte público (1952–2014) (The Falling of the Statue: Toward a Critique of Public Art [1952–2014]) examined developments and shifts in public art practice in Mexico across the last half-century. As the title of the show suggests, the driving premise was to dismantle or topple its traditional definitions. Skillfully curated by José Luis Barrios and Alesha Mercado, the exhibition featured sculptures, models... Full Review
February 18, 2016
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Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. 392 pp.; 280 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300208078)
Exhibition schedule: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 20, 2014–February 16, 2015
Cubism constitutes one of the greatest revolutions in the history of Western art, on a par with the one launched at the beginning of the fifteenth century by two other young artists, in another booming economic and cultural center permitting radical innovations within the realms of the arts and sciences—though Florence, at the time that Filippo Brunelleschi and Donatello reached their first heights in the early quattrocento, was an undoubtedly quieter place than was early twentieth-century... Full Review
February 11, 2016
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Mark Rosenthal, ed.
Exh. cat. Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 2015. 248 pp.; 125 color ills.; 48 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780300211603)
Exhibition schedule: Detroit Institute of Arts, March 15–July 12, 2015
The story told through this exhibition begins and ends in the Garden Court of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) where in 1932 the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera executed a monumental set of wall paintings to celebrate the city’s industrial spirit against the backdrop of the devastating Great Depression. Just months before the arrival of the muralist and his wife, Frida Kahlo, the city had considered closing the museum and selling its artworks, but this commission was part of a larger set of... Full Review
February 4, 2016
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David Blayney Brown, Amy Concannon, and Sam Smiles, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and London: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with Tate Publishing, 2014. 256 pp.; 130 color ills. Cloth $49.95 (9781606064276)
Exhibition schedule: Tate Britain, London, September 10, 2014–January 25, 2015 (under the title Late Turner: Painting Set Free); J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, February 24–May 24, 2015; de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, June 20–September 20, 2015; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, October 31, 2015–January 31, 2016
J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free is the first exhibition to focus on the artist’s works produced from 1835 to 1851, from the time he was sixty years old until his death at seventy-six—the period when Turner was consciously shaping his legacy and producing the mature oils and watercolors that have so heavily influenced modern art concerned with light and color. Sam Smiles, Tate Research Fellow and associate professor of Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter, took... Full Review
February 4, 2016
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Seattle: Henry Art Gallery, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, October 11, 2014–April 26, 2015
Unlike many of Ann Hamilton’s exhibitions with their patient interest in the singular object or action accumulated as increment, the common S E N S E contains a disorienting array of objects, actions, and modes of address: flatbed scans of dead animals printed in multiples on newsprint, hung salon-style; artifacts such as books and toys that document the ubiquity of animal imagery in various cultures’ childhood imaginaries; wool blankets hung low on wooden rods that one is invited to... Full Review
January 21, 2016
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National Art Museum of Ukraine, 2015.
Exhibition schedule: National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kiev, January 23–April 26, 2015
The Great Purge carried out by the Stalinist authorities between 1936 and 1938 resulted in a widespread hunt for so-called enemies of the people. The People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs, the secret police organization best known by its Soviet acronym, NKVD, persecuted hundreds of thousands of individuals for their alleged involvement in anti-Soviet activities. The reverberations of the purge were felt throughout the Soviet Union. Museum personnel were instructed to collect the works of... Full Review
January 21, 2016
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Massimiliano Gioni
Exh. cat. New York: Skira Rizzoli in association with New Museum, 2014. 224 pp.; 140 color ills.; 8 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780847844562)
Exhibition schedule: New Museum, New York, October 29, 2014–February 1, 2015
Very few artists become targets of a public controversy or scandal over a work of art. But for those who do find themselves in such a predicament, it can have a lasting impact on their careers. In this media-dominated age, a public outcry over someone’s art usually becomes an identifying marker for that artist, if not of the artist’s own identity. And if the incident occurs in one’s formative years, then the artist faces an especially arduous task of ensuring that her or his work from then on... Full Review
January 14, 2016
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Barry Bergdoll, Carlos Comas, Jorge Francisco Liernur, and Patricio del Real, eds.
Exh. cat. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2015. 320 pp.; 559 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780870709630)
In 1955, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) held a show entitled Latin American Architecture since 1945 that defined the parameters of how modern architecture in Latin America would be read. In the accompanying catalogue, curator Henry Russell-Hitchcock highlighted important points concerning architecture produced over the past decade in the region, addressing its protagonists, relationship to history and the visual arts, construction and use of reinforced concrete, and influences... Full Review
January 7, 2016
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