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

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Sharon Hecker
Oakland: University of California Press, 2017. 328 pp.; 20 color ills.; 80 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780520294486)
Sharon Hecker’s recent monograph on Medardo Rosso (1858–1928) situates this all-too-often marginalized sculptor within the field of the international avant-garde. Often considered as either a slightly mysterious three-dimensional Impressionist or as an inspiration to movements such as Futurism, Rosso has rarely received sustained attention as a figure in his own right. Hecker makes a significant effort to counter this by placing him at the center of a key modernist concern:... Full Review
March 20, 2019
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Diana Gisolfi
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. 352 pp.; 293 color ills.; 54 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300225822)
In recent years, scholarship has shown a growing interest in the art and person of Paolo Caliari, called Veronese (1528–1588), who for too long was considered essentially a mere decorator, a lesser figure compared to the more intellectual Titian and the volcanic Jacopo Tintoretto. Between 2013 and 2014, a few international exhibitions (Sarasota, London, Verona) honored this artist from Verona. Recent publications have likewise begun to change our perception of the master,... Full Review
March 13, 2019
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Paul Stephenson
Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. 304 pp.; 92 b/w ills. Hardcover $82.00 (9780190209063)
The idea of writing a “cultural biography” of the Serpent Column is brilliant. Over the 2500 years of its history, this monument stood in the center of two of the most significant environments of the ancient world: the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi and the Circus of Constantinople. It witnessed their transformations, and it underwent important alterations itself, both in its physical appearance and in the meanings associated to it.After a first chapter dealing with the history of... Full Review
March 11, 2019
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Craig Clunas
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017. 320 pp.; 200 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Hardcover $60.00 (9780691171937)
Craig Clunas opens the introduction to Chinese Painting and Its Audiences with a monumental understatement: it is a book that some might feel has “a narrow focus, but it has somewhat wider aims” (1). The published form of the 2012 A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Chinese Painting and Its Audiences is neatly structured into six chapters. It starts with an introductory “Beginning and Ending” that confronts the reader with the prospect that Chinese painting, as an... Full Review
March 8, 2019
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Mey-Yen Moriuchi
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2018. 180 pp.; 31 color ills.; 29 b/w ills. Cloth $99.95 (9780271079073)
Of the principal areas of study constituting Latin American art history, i.e., ancient, colonial, modern, and contemporary, the nineteenth century remains under examined. Situated precariously between the Spanish viceregal period and modern nationhood, this turbulent yet pivotal stage in Mexico’s history has lagged in terms of scholarly attention, particularly in art history. Art historians in Mexico, such as Jean Charlot, Justino Fernández, Fausto Ramírez Rojas, Esther Acevedo, and... Full Review
March 7, 2019
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Nancy E. Green and Christopher Reed, eds.
Exh. cat. Ithaca, NY: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, 2016. 296 pp.; 246 color ills.; 30 b/w ills. Cloth $ 35.00 (9781934260258)
Herbert E. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, August 27–December 18, 2016; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, February 12–May 21, 2017
In recent decades, specialists of both American and Japanese arts have turned their attention to the history of these two countries’ artistic interactions from the nineteenth century through the present. Scholars of Japan have also explored twentieth-century avant-garde Japanese arts. Concurrently, art history has increasingly expanded to embrace a field more aptly termed “visual culture studies,” which incorporates the analysis of mass-market commercial products. These efforts have... Full Review
March 6, 2019
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Katie Hornstein
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. 208 pp.; 100 color ills.; 46 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (9780300228267)
Representations of war and soldierly actions have assuredly fascinated entire generations, especially during fragile political contexts such as revolutions and governmental changes. Rarely, however, has military imagery been dealt with from a critical art historical perspective. Military imagery has typically been understood in terms of its official ideological role and its capacity as a tool for the state to guide public opinion. Katie Hornstein has managed to invert this... Full Review
March 1, 2019
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Earnestine Lovelle Jenkins
London: Routledge, 2016. 320 pp.; 122 b/w ills. Cloth $140.25 (9781409468196)
In the past three decades, there has been a welcome increase in literature on nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American photography. While much pathbreaking scholarship has been produced, art historians have acknowledged only a fraction of black photographers active in the pre–Civil Rights era. Taking the city of Memphis as her case study, Earnestine Lovelle Jenkins contributes a much-needed and richly researched monograph to the history of African American... Full Review
February 22, 2019
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Stephen Houston
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018. 256 pp.; 56 color ills.; 49 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (9780300228960)
With this book, one of the more prolific Maya archaeologists makes a significant art historical contribution, providing evidence of the impact of adolescent males in ancient Maya society as preeminent subjects and patrons of art and texts, particularly during the Classic period (300–850 CE). Indeed, according to the author, young males “energized and reinforced courtly societies” of the ancient Maya realm (6). Over six chapters, plus extensive and detailed endnotes, the work fully combines... Full Review
February 20, 2019
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Joanna Zylinska
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017. 272 pp.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (9780262037020)
24 HRS in Photos (2011), an art installation by Dutch photographer, curator, and designer Erik Kessels, gives us a means of looking at the contemporary state of photography. To create it, Kessels printed out every picture uploaded to Flickr, the image-sharing website, on a single day. The resulting mountains of photos reached to... Full Review
February 11, 2019
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