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

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“Public history” is a well-established and familiar sub-discipline to students of history. Many universities offer degrees and concentrations in this or a related field. Historians who train in public scholarship expect to pursue work in places where a relatively broad audience encounters the past, including national parks and monuments, historic houses, and museums. As public historians, they pursue research and author historical materials. They may be involved in curating exhibitions,... Full Review
November 27, 2007
On April 22, 2007, the Metropolitan Museum of Art sponsored a symposium to discuss issues surrounding the exhibition Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797. The symposium brought together a group of experts on the interactions between Venice and Islam. In his introduction to the symposium, Stefano Carboni, curator of the exhibition and administrator of the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum, emphasized the three concepts governing the exhibition: to show the... Full Review
September 12, 2007
The ninth Clark Art Institute spring conference was organized by Marq Smith, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Visual Culture, along with Michael Ann Holly and Mark Ledbury, director and associate director, respectively, of the Clark’s Research and Academic Programs. In her opening remarks, Holly noted that a handful of those initially invited to speak declined on the grounds that research was simply what they did and there was really nothing much more they could imagine saying about... Full Review
August 8, 2007
Stephanie S. Dickey
College Art Association
By most accounts, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn was born in Leiden on July 15, 1606, as stated by the Leiden chronicler Jan Jansz Orlers in 1641. Recently, a few close reviews of the documentation have suggested that the date should be moved to 1607, but this revelation failed to stop the juggernaut already set in motion by museums eager to celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of the artist’s birth. The “Rembrandt Year” of 2006 witnessed the staging of dozens of exhibitions across the... Full Review
July 26, 2007
What do we mean when we say “the nineteenth century”? Where does it begin? Where does it end? What does it contain or exclude? How do we make such choices—on what basis? Surveying four major textbooks, this review offers a look back at the ways these questions have been answered over the past two decades, beginning with the first publication of Robert Rosenblum and H.W. Janson’s 19th-Century Art in 1984 and ending with the second edition of Petra ten-Doesschate Chu’s... Full Review
June 21, 2007
Rediscovering Venetian Renaissance Painting was the closing event of several associated with the exhibition Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, June 18–September 17, 2006. Previous events included a Robert H. Smith Curatorial/Conservation Colloquy entitled Venetian Underdrawing at the National Gallery’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Among the participants were Paolo Spezzani,... Full Review
January 24, 2007
My work for the last few years has gone beyond defining modernity in Asian art to looking at the circuits for the recognition and distribution of contemporary art in Asia. In particular these involve two simultaneous phenomena.[1] The first is the arrival of contemporary Asian artists on the international stage, chiefly at major cross-national exhibitions, including the Venice and São Paolo Biennales. This occurrence may be conveniently dated to Japanese participation at Venice in the... Full Review
September 7, 2006
John Paoletti
College Art Association
These comments were originally prepared to provoke discussion in a session at the annual College Art Association meetings on Thursday, February 23, 2006, about the needs for a comprehensive textbook for introductory courses in the history of art. They should be read in that light and in tandem with a comprehensive review of ten currently available examples of such textbooks presented by Larry Silver and David A. Levine, Quo Vadis, Hagia Sophia? Art History’s Survey... Full Review
May 19, 2006
David A. Levine and Larry Silver
College Art Association
H. W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson, History of Art: The Western Tradition, 6th rev. ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2004). 1032 pages; 1326 illustrations, 976 in color. Cloth $95.00 Fred S. Kleiner and Christin J. Mamiya, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, 12th ed; 2 vols. (Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005). 1150 pages; 1306 illustrations, almost all in color, Paper w/CD-ROM $189.90 Marilyn Stokstad et al., Art History, 2nd rev. ed. (Upper Saddle... Full Review
January 25, 2006
Billboards and advertisements all over New York declare that “Manhattan is Modern Again,” often showing an image of angled sunlight raking an elegant building interior. The subscript directs you to the locus of this statement: “The new Museum of Modern Art reopens in Midtown on November 20.” These messages formed a long and careful campaign that generated breathless prepublicity in all media, secured a largely reverential art-world response, brought in twenty thousand visitors on opening day,... Full Review
February 14, 2005