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

Reviews in caa.reviews are published continuously by CAA and Taylor & Francis, with the most recently published reviews listed below. Browse reviews based on geographic region, period or cultural sphere, or specialty (from 1998 to the present) using Review Categories in the sidebar, or by entering terms in the search bar above.

Recently Published Reviews

When SmartHistory.org, the online scholarly resource for art history students and instructors, debuted in 2007, it was a radical proposition. Instead of purchasing expensive textbooks, students could access videos modeling in-depth visual analysis of well-known works of art and architecture, robustly researched essays on single works and overarching themes, and images that articulate a global art history survey, free through their web browser. Both... Full Review
May 23, 2018
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Heidi C. Gearhart
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2017. 236 pp.; 30 color ills.; 37 b/w ills. Cloth $94.95 (9780271077154)
Through the pages of Heidi Gearhart’s book, Theophilus and the Theory and Practice of Medieval Art, readers are introduced to the surviving medieval copies of Theophilus’s text, On Diverse Arts, and are provided the opportunity to reframe the academy’s classification of this celebrated treatise. Gearhart makes a convincing argument that based on physical evidence, along with the prologues and instructions of On Diverse Arts (often described as a practical handbook or a... Full Review
May 21, 2018
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Robert Williams
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 314 pp.; 113 b/w ills. Cloth £75.00 (9781107131507)
In Raphael and the Redefinition of Art in Renaissance Italy, Robert Williams has three aims. First, he wants to offer a new account of the achievement of Raphael, emphasizing his expansion of painting’s expressive and conceptual range. Second, he seeks to redefine the Renaissance in Raphael’s image, arguing that Raphael transformed Renaissance art in essential ways that he thinks have been misplaced by recent art historians. Third, he argues for the reorientation of the whole of art... Full Review
May 17, 2018
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Iveta Manasherova and Elena Kamenskaya
Moscow: ABC Design and the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, 2016. 376 pp.; 315 color ills.; 29 b/w ills. Hardcover $59.01 (9785433000810)
Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia, December 8, 2016–March 12, 2017
Georgia is a country in the Caucasus with a strong tradition of Eastern Christian art. Secular visual art developed here in the early twentieth century. Although it had been part of the Russian Empire since the early nineteenth century, Georgia enjoyed a brief period of independence as a democratic republic from 1918 to 1921. The capital, Tbilisi—or Tiflis, as it was then widely known—became an important destination for intellectuals fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian Civil... Full Review
May 16, 2018
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Leon Wainwright
Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017. 240 pp.; 45 color ills.; 5 b/w ills. Paperback $34.95 (9781781384176)
With the objective of freeing the art of British artists of African, Asian, and Caribbean descent, known as “black British artists,” from its historically racialized silo, Leon Wainwright’s new book, Phenomenal Difference: A Philosophy of Black British Art, sets out the author’s ambitious project: to bring the philosophy of phenomenology to bear upon these artworks. This book is theoretically well-grounded, and Wainwright has clearly spent a great deal of time contemplating Martin... Full Review
May 14, 2018
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Heinrich Wölfflin
Trans. Jonathan Blower. 100th Anniversary Edition. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2015. 368 pp.; 122 b/w ills. Paperback $34.95 (9781606064528)
Wölfflin and the Promise of Anonymity From a certain perspective, it is unclear why art history needs a new translation of Heinrich Wölfflin’s The Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Early Modern Art. There are a range of other foundational documents of the discipline that have yet to receive even a first hearing. Moreover, the M. D. Hottinger translation of the text is in print and widely available, and retains much of the elegance,... Full Review
May 11, 2018
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Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael-Hernandez, eds.
Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017. 392 pp.; 21 color ills.; 64 b/w ills. Hardcover $30.00 (9780295999579)
Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael-Hernandez have done a great service to the field of visual culture studies with the publication of Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture. They have brought together an important collection of recent essays on the eponymous themes and topics, but they have also produced with this volume (stemming from a 2014 VolkswagenStiftung-sponsored symposium in Hanover, Germany) a nodal point in the broadening network of intellectual... Full Review
May 9, 2018
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Jacqueline Jung
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 282 pp.; 30 color ills.; 180 b/w ills. Cloth $113.00 (9781107022959)
The Gothic Screen contributes to the body of integrative studies of Gothic art and architecture with an examination of the monumental choir screen that stood between the liturgical choir and the nave and ambulatory. Not a comprehensive catalogue of Gothic screens, the book seeks to “expand our sense of what screens accomplished in their ecclesiastical setting,” which is here understood as “both the physical setting of the Gothic church and the social environment that the... Full Review
May 8, 2018
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Sarah Williams Goldhagen
New York: HarperCollins, 2017. 384 pp. Cloth $40.00 (9780061957802)
Critics lamenting the sorry state of today’s built environment are legion. Only a few recognize that many of those responsible for this situation are members of a professional and academic establishment that emerged during the past quarter century, virtually controlling the discourse in the design professions throughout the world. Sarah Williams Goldhagen, a distinguished architectural historian who taught at Harvard for ten years and was the architecture critic at the New Republic... Full Review
May 3, 2018
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Keely Orgeman
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. 172 pp.; 161 color ills.; 8 b/w ills. Paper over board $45.00 (9780300215182)
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, February 17–July 23, 2017; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, October 6, 2017–January 7, 2018.
The Danish-born immigrant, inventor, performer, and artist Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968) made art on his own terms, literally. He dubbed his brand of work Lumia, a neologism designed to break with the past and establish a new artistic genre consisting solely of moving electric-light displays. Fifteen of Wilfred’s works, dating from the 1920s to the 1960s, were painstakingly restored for this luminous, and illuminating, exhibition. Accompanied by a beautifully produced and informative... Full Review
May 3, 2018
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