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

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Catherine Chevillot and Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, eds.
Exh. cat. Paris: Les éditions Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais, 2017. 400 pp.; 420 ills. Hardcover € 49.00 (9782711863730)
Musée Rodin/RMN Rodin, Grand Palais, Paris, France, March 22–July 31, 2017
To mark the centenary of the death of Auguste Rodin, the Musée Rodin organized a range of events and acted as communication hub for celebratory happenings around the world, which included this weighty (in every sense) and lavishly illustrated book. Its appendices alone comprise an invaluable, clear record of the exhibition, with a detailed catalogue of works exhibited (332 entries), an extensive bibliography, and a list of works alphabetically by sculptor. But the bulk of the book... Full Review
February 1, 2019
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Jeffrey Spier, Timothy F. Potts, and Sara E. Cole
Exh. cat. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018. 360 pp.; 322 color ills.; 18 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781606065518)
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, March 27–September 9, 2018
Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World of Greece and Rome was the first in a series of exhibitions organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum that put the art and history of ancient Greece and Rome in context by elucidating their relationships with neighboring civilizations of the Mediterranean and Near East. This approach of viewing pre-modern civilizations as part of a global network, in this case interconnected via trade, diplomacy, warfare, and religion, is part of a larger... Full Review
January 25, 2019
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Linda Borean and Stefania Mason Rinaldi, eds.
Exh. cat. Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2018. 285 pp.; 170 color ills. Cloth $47.50 (9788836638734)
Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-Arts, Ajaccio, Corsica, France, June 29–October 1, 2018
Rencontres à Venise was visually sumptuous and intellectually stimulating while manageable in size, graced by the superb quality of the loans and accompanied by an excellent catalogue, coedited by the curators Stefania Mason and Linda Borean, two distinguished Italian scholars of Venetian art. Whereas Mason’s catalogue essay provides a fresh analysis of the renewal of Venetian painting in the seventeenth century, weaving together its many threads, Borean’s contribution traces... Full Review
January 25, 2019
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Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, June 30–August 26, 2018
From the Page to the Street: Latin American Conceptualism, curated by Julia Detchon, the 2017–2018 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum, draws from its collection of prints and drawings to reconsider the role of paper in translating the concerns of artists into political protest in Latin America during the 1960s and early 1980s. Whether designed to evade the censorship of regional dictators or to bind the concerns of art to the conditions of daily... Full Review
January 18, 2019
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Andrew Bolton
Exh. cat. Two volumes. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018. 335 pp.; 330 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9781588396457)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 10–October 7, 2018
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, the latest exhibition from the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, explored the influence of Catholicism on fashion. As curator Andrew Bolton writes in the exhibition catalogue, it examined “how the Catholic imagination has shaped the creativity of designers and how it is conveyed through their fashions” (96). The exhibition design, by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, capitalized on light and height... Full Review
January 2, 2019
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Jane Munro, ed.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. 269 pp.; 250 color ills. Hardcover $50.00 (9780300228236)
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, October 3, 2017–January 14, 2018; Denver Art Museum, February 18–May 20, 2018
Leïla Jarbouai and Marine Kisiel, eds.
Exh. cat. Paris, France: Gallimard, 2017. 255 pp. Cloth (9782072751974)
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, November 28, 2017–February 25, 2018
In 2017, the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge, United Kingdom) and the Musée d’Orsay (Paris) marked the centenary of Edgar Degas’s death with exhibitions that explored different aspects of the painter’s legacy. Each exhibition drew attention to myths that developed about Degas and his art in the years after his death, highlighting approaches that dealers and collectors took to the marketing and acquisition of his works. The subtitle of the Fitzwilliam exhibition—“a passion for... Full Review
December 14, 2018
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Naoko Takahatake
Exh. cat. Los Angeles, New York, and Munich: Los Angeles County Museum of Art in association with DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2018. 288 pp.; 295 color ills. Hardcover $60.00 (9783791357393)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 3–September 16, 2018; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 14, 2018–January 20, 2019
The chiaroscuro woodcut has always occupied an awkward and somewhat uncertain place in the history of prints. The technique employs multiple superimposed woodblock impressions in different colors to create printed images with tonal variation. Although the technique was developed by Lucas Cranach, Hans Burgkmair, and Hans Baldung Grien in Germany in the early years of the sixteenth century, most chiaroscuro woodcuts were produced in Italy. Between ca. 1516 and 1610, it is estimated that... Full Review
December 5, 2018
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Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 20, 2015–January 2, 2017; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, September 10–December 18, 2016; National Museum of African Art, May 18, 2016–January 21, 2018
The exhibition Senses of Time: Video- and Film-Based Works of Africa focused on temporality shaped through the body. The exhibition was co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) in Washington, DC, under the curation of Karen E. Milborne, Mary Nooter Roberts, and Allen F. Roberts. The genesis and development of the show began as a colloquium on time, which took place... Full Review
November 30, 2018
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Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, September 8–October 29, 2017
Divine Violence, the fall 2017 exhibition at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, centered on disruption—political and otherwise. The show was defined by a percussive assault of moving images, sounds, and associated ideas. Curated by Yesomi Umolu, it featured four works coproduced by the artist Cinthia Marcelle and the filmmaker Tiago Mata Machado: the single-channel videos Buraco Negro (Black Hole) (2008), O Século (The Century)... Full Review
November 26, 2018
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Exh. cat. Ekaterinburg, Russia: Ural University Press, 2017. 488 pp.; many color ills. Hardcover (9785799622442)
Ekaterinburg, Russia, September 14–November 12, 2017
The theme of the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art was “New Literacy.” The biennial’s curatorial team conceptualized this theme based on interventions into global communication that have arisen from the current “industrial” revolution in the field of information technology. The curator of the Main Project, João Ribas, deputy director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal, described the theme as having been built around three key aspects: image... Full Review
November 8, 2018
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