TOC Jun 13, 2002

New reviews at CAA.Reviews

CAA Reviews

Listed below are the most recent book reviews published at
CAA.Reviews. All reviews posted since April 2002 can be found at the
journal's New Reviews page,, and all past reviews are located
in the Archived Reviews pages. A new Books Received list has also
been posted to Thank you all for
your readership and your support.

6/11/02 Anne Rorimer. New Art in the 60s and 70s: Redefining Reality,
Michael Newman and Jon Bird, eds. Rewriting Conceptual Art, and
Rosalind Krauss. "A Voyage on the North Sea": Art in the Age of the
Post-Medium Condition, reviewed by Claudia Mesch.

The current explosion of critical and art-historical writing on
"Conceptual Art," like the discursive production of "postmodernism"
of the 1980s and early 1990s that preceded it, posits that the art
production of a particular group of artists, by means of critical
attack and strategic engagement, extended the development of visual
modernism into what has been termed a "critical postmodernism" of the
late twentieth century. Therefore, we are at this moment witnesses to
the slow process of canonization that often characterizes the
discourse of art history. It comes chronologically on the heels
of American and European exhibitions that have attempted to
encapsulate Conceptual art.
It is clear that the "postmodern," a term which can compete with
"Conceptual art" in the expansive flabbiness of its content, is also
being historicized in this process and is finding a home within
Conceptual art--in fact, in some cases, is being subsumed by it.

6/11/02 Mary Rogers. Fashioning Identities in Renaissance Art,
reviewed by Bruce L. Edelstein.

Although more than twenty years have passed since the publication of Stephen
Greenblatt's Renaissance Self-Fashioning from More to Shakespeare
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), the ability of that
groundbreaking study to stimulate new ways of considering monumental
works of Renaissance culture has hardly diminished. Fashioning
Identities in Renaissance Art is a collection of essays inspired by
Greenblatt's work that attempts to extend his concept of literary
self-fashioning to a wide array of examples in the visual arts.

6/7/02 Leo Steinberg. Leonardo's Incessant Last Supper, reviewed by
James Elkins.

This book advertises itself as a simple republication of the book-length essay,
"Leonardo's Last Supper," that first appeared in the Art Quarterly in 1973 (Art
Quarterly 36, no. 4 [1973]: 297-410). Steinberg interlards the
introduction with
italicized passages; the first mentions Jonathan Crary's invitation,
in 1997, to
republish the essay as a book, and another begins: "At this point, I
might as well reprint the rest" (13). But the book is far from a
reprint: The majority of paragraphs are revised, there are wholly new
pages, the notes altered and the chapters renumbered and rearranged,
and the catalogue of copies is now a small monograph in its own
right. I lost count of Steinberg's emendations midway through the
second chapter, at which point I had noted 120 changes.

6/5/02 Peter Brooke. Albert Gleizes: For and Against the Twentieth
Century, reviewed by Bruce Adams.

Introducing himself as an "ardent searcher after the purest form in
art," a young Parisian artist, Robert Pouyaud, wrote in 1924 to the
Cubist painter Albert Gleizes, asking him to correct the "error" of
his art education. Gleizes responded by inviting Pouyaud to join in
the collective exploration of his compositional exercises with his
two Irish pupils, Evie Hone and Mainie Jellett. Thus commenced a
master-disciple relationship that soon had other consequences. In
1927, Pouyaud was a founding member of Moly-Sabata, a quasimonastic,
rural art community established by Gleizes to unite urban artists
with the soil. As Peter Brooke observes in this book, Moly-Sabata
became an intrinsic part of the artist's history. It accompanied him
"like an alter ego--the practical application of his ideas, the proof
or otherwise that they were viable" (128).

5/31/02 Annabel Jane Wharton. Building the Cold War: Hilton
International Hotels and Modern Architecture, reviewed by Kerr

"The great advantage of a hotel," states the waiter in George Bernard
Shaw's You Never Can Tell, "is that it's a refuge from home life." In
the 1950s, however, as an increasingly wealthy American middle class
began to travel a world whose boundaries were largely defined by the
Cold War, hotels could find considerable advantages in open links to
the familiarity of home life. Consider, for example, the seventeen
massive Hilton hotels built on foreign soil between 1949 and 1966. By
piping ice water into each air-conditioned room, by serving
milkshakes at a lobby soda fountain, or by setting swimming pools
into an expanse of lawn in downtown Istanbul, Hilton hotels offered
Americans traveling in countries such as Turkey or Germany some of
the basic physical pleasures of suburban American homes.

5/30/02 Mark Clarke. The Art of All Colours: Mediaeval Recipe Books
for Painters and Illuminators, reviewed by Kerr Houston.

While broad art-historical interest in the conditions of artistic
production and the use of specific materials can now be said to date
back more than a generation, there exists a rich body of literature
describing detailed artistic practices that is much older still.
Indeed, hundreds of surviving medieval manuscripts contain
instructions, sometimes hasty and at other times meticulously
detailed, relating to the preparation of pigments, inks, and
varnishes. And yet, as Mark Clarke notes in this useful volume,
there is no extant index that fully surveys the technologies of
medieval painting, illumination, and related crafts. His aim is to
fill that lacuna by offering a list of published and unpublished
manuscripts that "attempts to be as complete as possible by including
any manuscript containing any relevant text, however fragmentary"
(53). Accompanied by a forty-page essay on medieval artists'
treatises and characterized by something of the simple generosity of
the recipe books that form his subject, Clarke's index achieves its
goal and will surely find a niche as a valuable research tool.

Christopher Howard
Managing Editor
College Art Association
275 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
ph: 212/691-1051, ext. 220
fax: 212/627-2381

As the largest association for visual arts professionals,
College Art Association promotes the highest levels of
creativity and scholarship in the practice, teaching, and
interpretation of the visual arts.


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