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

Reviews in are published continuously by CAA and Taylor & Francis, with the most recently published reviews listed below. Browse reviews based on geographic region, period or cultural sphere, or specialty (from 1998 to the present) using Review Categories in the sidebar or by entering terms in the search bar above.

Recently Published Reviews

Adam Jasienski
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2023. 232 pp.; 50 color ills.; 15 b/w ills. $119.00 (9780271093444)
Charles V never rode his horse into the 1547 battle of Mühlberg. Instead, he spent his time during that conflict on a litter suffering from gout. But Titian’s triumphal equestrian portrait of the king betrays no hint of weakness—physical or otherwise. The monarch sits aloft on a decorous steed, clad in armor, serenely looking beyond the picture plane. He exerts complete control over his horse, his body, and, of course, the spiritual purity of his kingdom (Mühlberg was a decisive victory over Protestant rebels). Politics and religion obliquely congeal in this homage to the king’s might. Nevertheless, it remains a… Full Review
February 22, 2024
Pérez Art Museum Miami, March 23, 2023–July 28, 2024.
The South American Dream at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami (PAMM) is a dynamic and colorful exhibition that explores history, memory, and the South American identity through the lens of Brazilian artist Marcela Cantuária’s work. Through five immersive, multimedia artworks, which seamlessly blend painting, textiles, and ceramics, Cantuária examines the multifaceted concept of the South American dream, including environmental consciousness, political struggle, and faith. This installation curated by Jennifer Inacio, was commissioned by PAMM, challenging Cantuária to adapt her work to the high ceilings of the exhibition space and to consider her work in relation to… Full Review
February 7, 2024
Florence Alexis
Exh. cat. Paris: Heritage Editions, 2024. 182 pp. GPB40.00
Pantheon Center for National Monuments November 9, 2023–February 11, 2024
Oser La Liberté, translated as “Dare Freedom,” is an extraordinary exhibition on the centuries-long fight against slavery in France and its colonies. Sponsored by the Centre des monuments nationaux (CMN) and the Fondation pour la mémoire de l’esclavage, and organized by Florence Alexis, a curator, activist, and daughter of Haitian novelist Jacques Stephen Alexis, it is installed in the crypt of Paris’s Panthéon, a building that was conceived as a church but transformed during the Revolution into a “temple of liberty” and a burial ground for “great men.” The most extraordinary thing about Oser La Liberté may… Full Review
February 1, 2024
Yeon Shim Chung, Sunjung Kim, Kimberly Chung, and Keith B. Wagner
Phaidon, 2020. 360 pp.; 410 color ills. Cloth $79.95 ('9780714878331)
Virginia Moon, ed.
Exh. cat. DelMonico Books in association with Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2024. 328 pp.; 228 color ills. Cloth $75.00 (9781636810584)
Amidst the international recognition of South Korean art since the 1990s, scholars have devoted increasing attention to Korean modernism and contemporary practices. Following pioneering studies such as Youngna Kim’s Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea (2005) and Charlotte Horlyck’s Korean Art from the 19th century to the Present (2017), two recent publications present English readership with additional insights into the styles, mediums, and subjects of Korean art from the past century: Korean Art From 1953: Collision, Innovation and Interaction (Phaidon, 2020) and the exhibition catalog The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art (2022). The year 1953, marking the beginning… Full Review
January 24, 2024
Amanda Wangwright
Brill, 2020. 168 pp. Cloth $63.00 (9789004441903 )
As the latest addition to Brill’s Modern Asian Art and Visual Culture series, Amanda Wangwright’s The Golden Key: Modern Women Artists and Gender Negotiations in Republican China (1911–1949) complicates our understanding of the agency of women in the making of art in late imperial and modern China alongside Yuhuang Li’s Becoming Guanyin: Artistic Devotion of Buddhist Women in Late Imperial China (Columbia University Press, 2020) and Ying-chen Peng’s Artful Subversion: Empress Dowager Cixi’s Image Making (Yale University Press, 2023). The Golden Key excavates the long-forgotten history of women artists (nühuajia), which Wangwright regards as “a distinctly modernized social… Full Review
January 17, 2024
Holley Moyes, Allen J. Christenson, and Frauke Sachse, eds.
Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2021. 348 pp.; 89 b/w ills. Cloth $108.00 (9781607323389)
The Popol Vuh is a record of the mythology and history of the K’iche’ Maya people dating to the mid-1500s. Its authors—members of the local Maya elite—wrote down their most valuable stories to preserve them from the destruction inflicted by the European colonizers upon the Maya people, including the burning of their pre-Hispanic manuscripts. The book was hidden and miraculously survived, becoming the only surviving Maya text from that period and region. Many of the stories told in its pages can also be seen in images depicted on ancient Maya stelae and ceramic vases, and even in the built environment… Full Review
January 10, 2024
Xiaojin Wu
Exh. cat. Seattle Art Museum, 2023. 104 pp.; 70 color ills. $30.00 (9780932216076)
Seatle Art Museum July 21–December 3, 2023
Renegade Edo and Paris: Japanese Prints and Toulouse-Lautrec is a focused gem of an exhibition at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, accompanied by a slim catalog of the same name. This is the first time the museum has compared Japanese and French art in a single exhibition. The majority of the Japanese prints in the show are part of the museum’s permanent collection alongside works on loan specifically for this exhibition, mostly prints by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The show opens with a room dominated by two large mid-seventeenth-century six-panel Japanese screens depicting Edo inhabitants enjoying spring and summer activities that… Full Review
January 3, 2024
Ross Barrett
Oakland, CA: University of Califoria Press, 2022. 256 pp.; 85 color ills. Cloth $65.00 (9780520343917)
Years ago, as a graduate student researching Winslow Homer, I drove a rental car to Prouts Neck to get a better sense of the views the artist painted when living on the Maine coast. What I found was a single road leading to a mile-wide promontory well marked with signs accusing me of trespassing. Reluctant to turn back, I parked along the last stretch of public road and walked furtively past manicured gardens and stately summer residences towards Homer’s studio (which at the time had not yet opened to the public). As I walked, it became increasingly clear that I… Full Review
December 20, 2023
Jasmina Tumbas
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2022. 344 pp. Hardcover £70.00 (9781526156471)
Both embodied and conceptual, bridge and barricade, “Jugoslovenka”—the name for a Yugoslav woman—is the complex prism through which Jasmina Tumbas offers her rich transnational history of performance art from the formation through the fall of socialist Yugoslavia. The history of performative politics that Tumbas has written is structured by paradox and contradiction, as illustrated by her comparative look at two photographs of Dragana Milojević, a woman attending a demonstration against Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade on March 9, 1991. In the first photograph, Milojević appears to stand defiantly in front of a crowd, with her arm above her head and her… Full Review
December 18, 2023
Samuli Simelius
Routledge, 2022. 268 pp.; 28 b/w ills. Hardback $128.00 (9780367649951)
Ever since the influential book by Wilhelmina Jashemski, The Gardens of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Villas destroyed by Vesuvius (‎Aristide D. Caratzas, 1979), the gardens of Pompeii have been in the spotlight of archaeological research. Besides questions about the cultivation and use of garden areas, the often lavishly decorated peristyles, in particular, attracted attention. In the Book Pompeian Peristyle Gardens: Studies in Roman Space and Urbanism, Samuli Simelius has now, for the first time, undertaken a compelling comparative analysis of all two hundred fifty-two Pompeian peristyle gardens excavated in Pompeii, which were visible in 79 CE. The analysis examines how… Full Review
December 13, 2023
Claudia Brittenham
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2023. 184 pp.; 114 color ills.; 13 b/w ills. $60.00 (9781477325964)
Surviving works of art created by Indigenous Mesoamerican artists seem to challenge paradigms of art history developed for the study of European traditions. Claudia Brittenham’s Unseen Art: Making, Vision, and Power in Ancient Mesoamerica tackles one of the paradoxes central to the study of ancient Mesoamerican material culture: works of art with restricted visibility. The works considered in this volume were meant to be seen briefly, or only by certain people, or for only certain moments in time. Brittenham’s premise is that understanding how such works operated allows us a new approach to questions of visibility, power, and inequality—and… Full Review
December 11, 2023
Miryam Sas
Durham: Duke University Press, 2022. 320 pp.; 53 b/w ills. Paperback $27.95 (9781478018490)
In the introduction to their edited volume Media Theory in Japan (Duke University Press, 2017), Marc Steinberg and Alexander Zahlten ask “What happens if the very conditions of thinking mediation arise from the particular media and media cultural forms with which we interact?” (6). For them, the answer was to “resist the universal language of theory in favor of a contextual and unstable practice of theory, without giving up on the belief that theorization—of media or anything else for that matter—is an indispensable tool with which to grapple with our times” (6). Steinberg and Zahlten look to media praxis, or… Full Review
December 6, 2023
Mary Ann Calo
University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2023. 216 pp.; 15 b/w ills. $74.95 (9780271094939)
As the first dedicated monograph to Black artists’ involvement in the federal projects of the 1930s and 1940s, Mary Ann Calo’s African American Artists and the New Deal Art Programs: Opportunity, Access, and Community constitutes a major intervention. Existing scholarship on Black artists in the New Deal is few and far between; outside of exhibitions with small catalogs, like Lehman College Art Gallery’s 1989 Black Printmakers and the W.P.A., material is mainly dispersed across survey texts on the federal projects or on twentieth-century African American artmaking. These publications have sought mainly to interrogate the extent to which federal employment enhanced… Full Review
December 4, 2023
Eileen Rubery, Giulia Bordi, and John Osborne, eds.
Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers and Harvey Miller Publishers, 2021. 125 color ills.; 50 b/w ills.; 175 ills. Cloth €200.00 (9781909400535)
In the format of a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book, the twenty-two articles of this weighty volume inform an expert public about the very complex site of Santa Maria Antiqua (henceforth SMA), a Roman imperial first-century construction inside the Forum that at some point, probably in the fourth century, became a church. The volume showcases the latest results from technical, iconographical, and historical research stemming from the recent restoration work on the monument (2001–13), presented at a conference at the British School at Rome in 2013. Authors include the recent restoration team and their director, Maria Andaloro, as well as… Full Review
November 27, 2023
Ignacio A. Adriasola Muñoz
University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2023. 262 pp.; 16 color ills.; 48 b/w ills. Cloth (9780271092904)
Ignacio A. Adriasola Muñoz’s Fragment, Image, and Absence in 1960s Japan is one of the latest contributions to the study of radical Japanese art in the 1960s—the era marked by rapid economic growth and tumultuous political events. The book provides a look at a wide range of radical artistic practices that challenged the social and cultural status quo of the period. The author’s focus is at once specific and broad as he couples detailed analyses of individual artists and artworks with discussions of general trends characterizing the art of the period. While the artists discussed in the book are more… Full Review
November 22, 2023