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

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Elizabeth Angelicoussis
2 vols. Munich: Hirmer, 2017. 728 pp.; 548 ills. Cloth $80.00 (9783777428178)

Elizabeth Angelicoussis’s new book is a work of extraordinary worth and of great interest for the field of ancient sculpture and the history of collections. Its focus is one of the most important eighteenth-century British collections, initiated in 1771 by William Petty-Fitzmaurice, the first Marquess of Lansdowne (1737–1805), and inspired by Gavin Hamilton (1723–1798), whose position as a brilliant art dealer and antiquities connoisseur is well-known. Angelicoussis’s detailed and... Full Review

July 1, 2019
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Campbell Price
New York: Thames & Hudson, 2018. 288 pp.; 250 color ills. Paper $17.95 (9780500294086)

Pocket Museum: Ancient Egypt by Campbell Price is the fourth book of Thames & Hudson’s series Pocket Museum, preceded by volumes devoted respectively to ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and the Vikings. The book brings together nearly two hundred ancient Egyptian artifacts, spanning more than five thousand years (ca. 5300 BCE–395 CE), scattered in museum collections all over the world. The volume attempts to outline and reconstruct the history, system of beliefs, and social... Full Review

June 27, 2019
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Peter Fane-Saunders
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 510 pp.; 8 color ills.; 74 b/w ills. Hardcover $142.00 (9781107079861)

Peter Fane-Saunders’s book is an indispensable guide to the reception of Pliny’s Naturalis historia within the architectural theory and practice of Renaissance Italy. As a systematic exploration of antiquarian literature and treatises as well as drawn and built architecture, this volume aims to compensate for a chronic lack of attention to Pliny’s treatise (77–79 CE) by architectural historians, largely due to the dominant position occupied by another ancient authority, Vitruvius’s... Full Review

June 26, 2019
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Moya Carey
London: V&A Publishing, 2017. 272 pp.; 250 color ills. Cloth $74.99 (9781851779338)

In this meticulously researched and thoughtfully organized book, Moya Carey tells the story of the collection of art objects from Iran held at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. Established in 1857 and known as the South Kensington Museum until 1899, the V&A has a particular institutional character—its founding mission was to improve the quality of industrial production by engaging worldwide visual cultures—that turns this museum into an ideal case study for... Full Review

June 21, 2019
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Wil Haygood, Carole Genshaft, Nannette V. Maciejunes, Anastasia Kinigopoulo, and Drew Sawyer
Exh. cat. New York and Columbus, OH: Rizzoli Electa in association with Columbus Museum of Art, 2018. 248 pp. Cloth $55.00 (9780847863129)
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, October 19, 2018–January 20, 2019

Published on the occasion of an exhibition of the same name, the catalogue I Too Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 offers its general and scholarly readership a biographically rich and visually remarkable book. The Columbus Museum of Art approached the established biographer of African American life and culture Wil Haygood with the opportunity to consider the lives of Harlem Renaissance visual artists, politicians, and authors through the organization of the show and his... Full Review

June 17, 2019
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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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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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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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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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