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

Ellsworth Kelly
2018.
Blanton Museum of Art, February 18–April 29, 2017
Seldom is an artist offered the opportunity of creating a complete space. Seldom is an artist offered complete control of the architecture, lighting, and contents of a venue, or given complete control of the experience of the spectator. More seldom still does a public museum afford such an occasion to an artist, allowing for the creation of a truly permanent installation. With the realization of Austin, the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin accomplishes this... Full Review
June 11, 2018
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Guy Hedreen
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. 408 pp.; 25 color ills.; 65 b/w ills. Hardcover $120.00 (9781107118256)
In describing Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini wedding portrait, signed and dated by the artist in 1434, Ernst Gombrich wrote: “For the first time in history the artist became the perfect eye-witness in the truest sense of the term.” But is this actually the first instance? In the late sixth century BCE an Athenian vase painter signed his name “Smikros egrapsen” (Smikros painted it) on a... Full Review
June 8, 2018
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Anne McCauley
Exh. cat. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017. 408 pp.; 364 ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780300229080)
Princeton University Art Museum, October 7, 2017–January 7, 2018; Davis Museum, Wellesley College, February 7–June 3, 2018; Portland Museum of Art, Maine, June 22–September 16, 2018; Cleveland Museum of Art, October 21, 2018–January 21, 2019
Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895–1925 boldly rethinks the established histories of fine art photography’s development in America, a topic foundational to the history of photography’s origins as a discipline. Clarence H. White (1871–1925) was one of the leading photographers of the American Pictorialist movement, which advocated the practice of photography as a fine art medium. His life and work were conducted in surroundings as varied as the... Full Review
June 7, 2018
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Catherine Walworth
Series: Refiguring Modernism. University Park: Penn State University Press, 2017. 248 pp.; 34 color ills.; 66 b/w ills. Hardcover $94.95 (9780271077697)
Catherine Walworth’s Soviet Salvage: Imperial Debris, Revolutionary Reuse, and Russian Constructivism is an unusual entry in the literature on early Soviet art, which is sure to puzzle many readers and (in all likelihood) infuriate at least a few. Readers of academic books are familiar enough with such responses, immersed as we are in the unceasing drive for self-criticism and revision that dulls the polemical sting to a tickle. Walworth’s book is no argument for argument’s sake,... Full Review
June 4, 2018
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Jane Taylor
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. 165 pp.; 71 color ills.; 6 b/w ills. Hardcover $35.00 (9780226791203)
Jane Taylor, friend and longtime collaborator of William Kentridge, examines the artistic process behind Kentridge’s 2010 production of the Russian opera The Nose, which was based on Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 short story of the same name and composed by Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich in 1928. As Taylor tells us, the book is less about the production of the opera and more about the making of it. In other words, she is interested in examining how the artist deals with... Full Review
May 31, 2018
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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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