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

Linda Safran
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. 496 pp.; 20 color ills.; 149 b/w ills. Cloth $95.00 (9780812245547)
Italy, a relatively recently unified country, is often described as a patchwork of idiosyncratic regions. Even to this day, the food, customs, dialects, architecture, and terrain shift dramatically between neighboring villages, cities, and regions, Italians themselves proclaiming “campanilismo,” a competitive pride in their birthplace. By focusing on one particular region, Linda Safran gains a valuable insight into how one such distinctive identity emerged and developed in the Middle... Full Review
October 19, 2018
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Ellen Y. Tani
Exh. cat. Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 2018. 112 pp.; 35 color ills.; 19 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9781785511653)
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine, March 1–June 3, 2018.
Ellen Tani’s Second Sight: The Paradox of Vision in Contemporary Art at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art was a striking exhibition that brought together a diverse array of artworks engaging issues of visibility and invisibility in poetic and literal ways. Works by Robert Morris, Bill Anastasi, Richard Serra, Félix González-Torres, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, Nyeema Morgan, and Shaun Leonardo (to name just some of the contemporary artists of various generations in the show)... Full Review
October 17, 2018
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Ezra Shales
London: Reaktion Books, 2017. 272 pp.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth $29.95 (9781780238227)
Ezra Shales’s The Shape of Craft derives its name as a pointed homage to George Kubler’s influential treatise, The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things (1962). Though he was an eminent Mesoamericanist, Kubler’s book had unusual reach and scope and was widely admired by modernists and practicing artists alike, including his former students at Yale, Sheila Hicks and Richard Serra. Clearly the work of an adroit and poetic storyteller, Shales’s book seeks to extend the... Full Review
October 15, 2018
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Valerie J. Mercer
Exh. cat. Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 2017. 80 pp. Cloth $19.95 (9780895581754)
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, July 23–October 22, 2017
Museum of African American History
Detroit: Museum of African American History, 2017.
Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI, July 23, 2017–January 2, 2018
At 3:15 a.m. in the early morning of July 23, 1967, members of the vice squad of the Detroit police department raided the second-floor apartment located at 9125 Twelfth Street. This after-hours drinking parlor, or “blind pig,” was a well-known establishment to patrons and police alike. As a familiar watering hole, the site served its black middle-class patrons when other segregated spaces in downtown Detroit would not, yet its illicit status provoked many raids, including nine in the... Full Review
October 10, 2018
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Emma Acker, ed.
Exh. cat. San Francisco and New Haven: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in association with Yale University Press, 2018. 244 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300234022)
de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, March 24–August 12, 2018; Dallas Museum of Art, September 16, 2018–January 6, 2019
Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art is one of the year’s major exhibitions. It was organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to be shown at the de Young Museum before traveling to the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition takes a new look at the American painters who, in the years after World War I, developed an art expressive of American modern life by making use of the flattened, geometric, simplified forms of European modernism. Cult of the Machine... Full Review
October 5, 2018
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516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM, August 11–October 20, 2018.
At the independent museum 516 Arts in downtown Albuquerque, an exhibition looks at Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria through themes of climate change, global weather patterns, colonial essentialism, Caribbean commodification, nationalism, Afro-Caribbean identity, bankruptcy, and local resiliency on the unincorporated US territory. Puerto Rico: Defying Darkness collects paintings, installations, videos, photographs, and multimedia works by sixteen Puerto... Full Review
October 3, 2018
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Patricia J. Fay
Series: Latin American and Caribbean Arts and Culture. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2017. 376 pp.; 122 color ills.; 16 b/w ills. Cloth $90.00 (9780813054582)
Patricia J. Fay’s book, Creole Clay: Heritage Ceramics in the Contemporary Caribbean, fills a void in the broad and diverse history of world ceramics. She does this by focusing our attention on an area of the world generally thought of as a vacation destination instead of a region rich in culture with complicated histories of colonialism, the African diaspora, slavery, hard-won independence, culture, and art, specifically ceramics. Fay deftly weaves the history of this region with... Full Review
October 1, 2018
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Mireille M. Lee
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 382 pp.; 110 b/w ills. Hardcover $99.00 (9781107055360)
The study of the role of dress in ancient societies has seen a boom in recent years, absorbing new techniques in archaeology and approaches from “new dress history,” cultural studies, and theories of the body. Mireille Lee’s previous work has already been influential in putting Greek dress on the agenda, and this current volume offers new insights into dress as a communicative medium as well as synthesizing scholarship across a number of related subfields (gender, identity, ethnicity,... Full Review
September 28, 2018
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David Adjaye and Peter Allison
New York: Thames & Hudson, 2016. 400 pp.; 700 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780500343166)
This compact edition of David Adjaye’s exploration of Africa brings together in one volume the fruits of his eleven-year-long project to visit and visually document the capitals of the continent’s fifty-four countries. The front cover image of Adjaye, Africa, Architecture: A Photographic Survey of Metropolitan Architecture serves as a key to the intellectual and conceptual approach of the book: a map of Africa’s six climatic zones. This map, credited to his architectural practice... Full Review
September 26, 2018
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D. Medina Lasansky, ed.
Pittsburgh: Periscope, 2014. 640 pp.; 126 ills. Paperback $35.00 (9781934772256)
This collection of essays has attracted little attention since its publication in 2014, an oversight that should be remedied. Through nineteen essays and nine photo essays edited by D. Medina Lasansky, The Renaissance: Revised, Expanded, Unexpurgated places the early modern past and the postmodern present in dialogue with one another and examines the ways in which the Renaissance has been appropriated and received in Anglo-American popular culture. As Lasansky notes in the... Full Review
September 24, 2018
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