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

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Pamela Fletcher
Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections, College Art Association.
Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections With “Reflections on Digital Art History,” inaugurates a new field of coverage, since our future is now. In fact, immediately prior to drafting these remarks, I noticed a headline on asking, “Can an algorithm determine art history’s most creative paintings?” I was only curious enough to skim a paragraph or two, yet surely many of us sympathize with the convergence it represents. On the one hand, popular imagination and political rhetoric have increasingly figured the humanities as superfluous to the needs of civilization. On the other, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and… Full Review
June 18, 2015
Conference at the University of Vermont, Burlington, October 18, 2013.
In the time since Sarah Blake McHam lamented the relative dearth of scholarship on Italian Renaissance sculpture in her introduction to Looking at Italian Renaissance Sculpture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998) (click here for review), the field has been enriched by a number of voices and publications, as well as the application of new interpretive methodologies. The same period has also seen a striking number of international exhibitions devoted to Italian sculpture in marble, bronze, and terra cotta, so these extraordinarily heavy and unwieldy works have been transported and recontextualized, at least temporarily, as indeed frequently happened… Full Review
October 17, 2014
Pamela Jones
Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections, College Art Association.
Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections What a long way has come in fifteen years. The journal has published nearly twenty-four hundred reviews since 1998, more than four hundred of them in the broad category known as Renaissance/Baroque Art, which includes the more specific designation Early Modern Southern European Art, among others. One great achievement of is that it records the changing ways in which scholars approach their fields. The second installment of “Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections” is “Reflections on Early Modern Southern European Art” by Pamela M. Jones (University of Massachusetts Boston), and it follows upon… Full Review
September 3, 2014
In the fall of 2013, scholars, artists, collectors, and art aficionados gathered in Washington, DC, for a two-day symposium to consider the role of Africa and its diaspora in the development of art in the United States (available as a webcast). Welcomed by Elizabeth Broun of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Johnnetta Cole of the National Museum of African Art, the event consisted of two days of panels interspersed with comments from respondents and complemented by the insightful opening remarks of the eminent art historian David Driskell. In short, the seventeen distinct papers reflected the breadth and depth… Full Review
May 15, 2014
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, April 20, 2013
The publication of Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell’s The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000) marked the rebirth of the Mediterranean, both as an object of study and as the space characterizing a given object of study. Since then, the sea and its many corruptions, from antiquity to early modernity, has fallen under the lens of historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists, as well as art and architectural historians. Mediterranean Studies became increasingly multi- and interdisciplinary, with a growing number of scholars interested in cross-cultural interaction and exchange. Indeed, it has grown so exponentially that one can… Full Review
November 29, 2013
Tanya Sheehan
Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections, College Art Association.
Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections On the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of, it is my great pleasure to introduce a new series of review essays authored by members of the journal’s Council of Field Editors under the rubric “Re-Views: Field Editors’ Reflections.” For some time, members of the editorial board have expressed their desire to increase the number of essays we publish. At the CAA Publications Committee session I organized and chaired at the annual conference in February of this year titled “Book Reviews and Beyond: at 15,” the panel (consisting of past… Full Review
October 1, 2013
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Online workshop. Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 9:00–10:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT); Thursday, November 3, 2011, 10:00–11:30 AM Japan Time (JST)
In 2009, the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, acquired an important tea storage jar at auction. The deep brown stoneware jar has an asymmetric glaze and stands 41.6 centimeters tall. Named “Chigusa,” the jar is believed to have been made in China during the thirteenth or fourteenth century before it was imported to Japan, where it became a prized object for practitioners of the Japanese tea culture (chanoyu). At purchase, the jar was accompanied by extensive documentary material, including inscribed storage boxes and letters. To celebrate the acquisition of this object, the museum organized an online… Full Review
September 19, 2012
The Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference (CABC), organized by the CABC committee of art library professionals, was held free of charge and open to the public on September 30 and October 1, 2011, during Printed Matter’s sixth annual NY Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 ( The conference consisted of six panel sessions lasting ninety minutes each, along with an hour-long lightning round of ten presenters discussing and showing images of their favorite zines, books, or multiples within a five-minute time frame. The well-attended sessions were held in a conference room on the first floor of the MoMA PS1… Full Review
The disciplinary diversity of this conference, including contributions from scholars of art, archaeology, literature, history, and others, proved to be more than just a veneer. Organizers Andrew Marsham and Alain George (both from the University Edinburgh), together with fourteen other scholars, applied their wide-ranging expertise to various dimensions of the Umayyad period. The work of these scholars was divided into eight panels of two papers each: “Rulership in the Late Antique Context,” “Sacred Art,” “Christians and Muslims,” “Papyri and Social History,” “Historiography,” “Land Tenure and the Economy,” “The ‘Desert Castles,’” and “The Umayyads in Modern Times.” By and large, the… Full Review
May 24, 2012
The 2009 American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) conference on “New Darshans: Seeing Southern Asian Religiosity and Visuality Across Disciplines” was wide in scope and interest: it featured thirty-five papers; covered periods from the second century B.C.E. to today; and focused on geographic areas from Rajasthan to Bengal, from Tibet and Himachal Pradesh to Tamilnad, and included Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chattisgarh, and even areas outside the subcontinent like Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, and the United States. “New darshans” were investigated through a stunning array of media: stūpa slabs; caves; temples, and their walls and pillars; relics; images; ivories; pilgrimage… Full Review
March 10, 2011