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

Roald Nasgaard and Gwendolyn Owens
Fredericton, New Brunswick and Kleinburg, Ontario: Goose Lane Editions and McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 2017. 204 pp.; 82 color ills.; 13 b/w ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780864929655)
The aim of Higher States, as explained in the preface, is “to be a richly illustrated resource on the first half of [Lawren] Harris’s abstract painting career within a transnational context,” and the essays by Roald Nasgaard and Gwendolyn Owens describe “the social, intellectual, and aesthetic milieu in which Harris immersed himself, in both Canada and the United States, from the mid to late 1920s up to and about the end of World War II.” In “Harris’s Modernity: The Engineering... Full Review
June 14, 2019
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Robert Brown, Tushara Bindu Gude, Donald Stadtner, and Lakshika Senarath Gamage
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: LACMA Collator, 2018. 106 pp.; 53 ills. Paperback $50.00 (9781943042128)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 9, 2018–July 7, 2019
Palm-size bronze figures of Buddhas and bodhisattvas from ancient Anuradhapura. Lion-shaped stone stair balustrades from the fourteenth century. Black-and-white photographs of tropical plants by colonial British photographers. A painted ivory comb decorated with a sword-wielding goddess. And a twenty-six-foot inflatable reclining Buddha made in California. These are just a handful of works from a special exhibition showcasing the art and culture of Sri Lanka at the Los Angeles County... Full Review
June 11, 2019
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B. Alexandra Szerlip
Brooklyn: Melville House Books, 2017. 368 pp. Cloth $27.99 (9781612195629)
Nicolas P. Maffei
Cultural Histories of Design. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. 256 pp.; 150 b/w ills. Paperback £ 21.99 (9781474284615)
In the 1950s Norman Bel Geddes drafted his autobiography, I Designed My Life. His story covered the entirety of his vast career in one million words. Miracle in the Evening, the edited version published in 1960 two years following his death, focused solely on Bel Geddes’s theater work, simplifying his legacy to only one area of design. But in fact, there was hardly an area of design that Bel Geddes did not influence. As his point of view oscillated between futurist and... Full Review
June 10, 2019
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Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, October 5, 2018–February 17, 2019
For her exhibition Poorly Watched Girls at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Suzanne Bocanegra installed four artworks that repurpose numerous precedent works: Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera Dialogues des Carmélites; Mark Robson’s 1967 film Valley of the Dolls; Jan Brueghel the Elder’s circa 1620 painting Flowers in a Ceramic Vase; Thomas P. McCarthy’s 1955 Guide to the Catholic Sisterhoods in the United States; Jean Dauberval’s 1789 ballet,... Full Review
June 7, 2019
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Henry Taylor, Zadie Smith, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, Charles Gaines, and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah
New York and Los Angeles: Rizzoli Electa and Blum & Poe, 2018. 320 pp.; 198 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780847863105)
Henry Taylor: The Only Portrait I Ever Painted of My Momma Was Stolen, the first monograph on Henry Taylor, offers a near-encyclopedic visual record of his work. It is filled with almost two hundred large, glossy, full-color plates that feature carefully photographed gallery installations among beautiful reproductions of the paintings for which Taylor is best known. Paging through this record, readers will find that Taylor’s decades of practice have yielded a distinct form of... Full Review
June 3, 2019
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Jennifer L. Shaw
London: Reaktion Books, 2017. 256 pp.; 100 color ills.; 80 b/w ills. Cloth £ 30.00 (9781780237282)
“I’m obsessed with the exception. I see it as bigger than nature. It’s all I see. The rule interests me only for its leftovers with which I make my swill. In this way, I deliberately downgrade myself. Too bad for me” (102). This quote from Claude Cahun, drawn from Cahun and Marcel Moore’s 1930 publication, Aveux non avenus (Disavowals), appears about three-quarters of the way through Jennifer L. Shaw’s Exist Otherwise: The Life and Works of Claude Cahun. However, its... Full Review
May 31, 2019
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Valerie Steele
Exh. cat. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2018. 208 pp.; 120 color ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780500022269)
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, September 7, 2018–January 5, 2019
Coined “the most divisive of colors,” pink has been worn very fashionably across the world since at least the eighteenth century. It is a color more fascinating and controversial than most when used for clothing, according to a recent exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (<span... Full Review
May 30, 2019
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Michael Marrinan
Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2017. 400 pp.; 136 color ills.; 59 b/w ills. Hardcover $69.95 (9781606065075)
Gustave Caillebotte has long presented historians of nineteenth-century art with contradictions: here was a champion of and participant in the Impressionist movement who grew up with privilege and became, by dint of his father’s business acumen, a millionaire. Accounts of his artistic production (working from a scant archive) must always contend with how Caillebotte could produce paintings that look more naturalist than Impressionist and would seem to presage social critiques more common... Full Review
May 29, 2019
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Cynthia Burlingham and Allegra Pesenti, eds.
Exh. cat. Los Angeles and New York: Hammer Museum, UCLA in association with DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2018. 208 pp.; 120 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9783791357645)
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 27–December 30, 2018
Few nineteenth-century figures are as towering as the French poet, novelist, playwright, critic, and politician Victor Hugo (1802–1885). Though he is remembered mostly for his literary achievements, particularly The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862), he excelled at drawing. From September 27 to December 30, 2018, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles exhibited over seventy of his haunting works on paper (he made more than four thousand of them), as well as a... Full Review
May 28, 2019
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Denise Murrell
Exh. cat. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018. 224 pp.; 177 color ills. Cloth $ 50.00 (9780300229066)
Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, October 24, 2018–February 10, 2019; Musée d’Orsay, Paris, March 25–July 14, 2019
Scholars are continually engaged in reassessing evidence, and if they are diligent and perceptive enough they discover new ways of seeing our world. Such is the achievement of Denise Murrell’s 2013 dissertation, “Seeing Laure: Race and Modernity from Manet’s Olympia to Matisse, Bearden and Beyond,” written for the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University under the supervision of Professor Anne Higonnet. Three of Murrell’s other committee members—Alexander... Full Review
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