The Art History Newsletter

Modern Category Archives

Obit: Justine Price, 42

1 June 2012 | Contemporary, Modern

From Despina Stratigakos at the University at Buffalo: Justine Price, associate professor of art history at Canisius College, died unexpectedly of natural causes on October 24, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. She recently had been tenured and named director of the college’s art history program. Price’s knowledge and love of art were limitless, and her [...]


A Trip across France with Matisse’s Brain

17 May 2012 | Modern, Museums

Now at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Matisse. Paires et séries is a small jewel box of an exhibition, studded with fifty-four paintings, thirty-four drawings, and five collages. Rich, intelligent, and uncluttered, it is that rare understated blockbuster that encourages close looking and deep thinking about the creative process. I left it inspired to view [...]


Paris Between the Wars 1919-1939: Art, Life and Culture.

4 May 2012 | Books, Modern, Photography

Book Review: Bouvet, Vincent and Gérard Durozoi. Paris Between the Wars 1919-1939: Art, Life and Culture. Trans. Ruth Sharman. New York: Vendome Press. Print. 2010. Art is neither created nor viewed in a vacuum. It is this notion perhaps that helped to inspire Vincent Bouvet and Gérard Durozoi in the organization of their recent book [...]


Snapped Shut

26 April 2012 | Modern, Photography

The term “snapshot” predates the invention of photography. From 1808, the term has meant “a quick or hurried shot taken without deliberate aim, esp. one at a rising bird or quickly moving animal.” It is strange to think that this hunting term for a spontaneous and haphazard reaction would ever be associated with the Nabis [...]


Curating CAA

20 March 2012 | CAA2012, Conferences, Modern, Photography

As I headed out to Los Angeles from New York last month, a remark by Mary Anne Staniszewski kept coming back to me. I spent a stimulating evening last winter at a small alternative art space on Ludlow Street listening to her, Martin Beck, and Ken Saylor talk about the practice of putting together exhibitions [...]


The Past Has A Future in 19th Century Studies

2 March 2012 | CAA2012, Conferences, Modern

The CAA panel “Future Directions in Nineteenth-Century Art History,” chaired by Getty curator Scott Allan, raised very interesting and thought-provoking questions about the relation of the nineteenth-century to the art of the past. Typically, nineteenth-century artistic production – especially in the second half of the century – is discussed in terms of the “future” and [...]


‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’

1 March 2012 | CAA2012, Conferences, Modern

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the College Art Association’s yearly conference. It also marks, by a rather happy coincidence, the 100th anniversary of the publication of Kandinsky’s influential text, Concerning the Spiritual in Art—a perfect opportunity for not only celebrating Kandinsky’s work, but also reconsidering it.  To that end Susan J. Baker, University [...]


RIP: Dorothea Tanning, 101

11 February 2012 | Modern

I belatedly note the sad passing of Dorothea Tanning, 101. There’s little I can add at this point to all that’s been said, though I knew her briefly, when in 2004 I fact-checked Jane Kramer’s New Yorker profile of the artist. Tanning’s aversion to phones and email necessitated that I twice trek to her apartment [...]


RIP: John House, 66

9 February 2012 | Modern, News

The Courtauld Institute has announced the sudden and entirely unexpected death yesterday, at the age of 66, of John House, Emeritus Professor of the Institute. One of the pre-eminent scholars of nineteenth-century French art of his generation, John served The Courtauld with great distinction from his appointment in 1980 up until his retirement as the [...]


The Degas Debacle

21 January 2012 | Awards, Modern

The National Gallery’s Edgar Degas Sculpture may look like your average permanent-collection catalogue, of the kind that well-funded museums are perpetually issuing and re-issuing for the sake of scholarship (and self-promotion). However, details of provenance and material history are truly fascinating when it comes to Edgar Degas. He was unusual in his materials and in [...]


Book Review: Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens.

11 January 2012 | Africa, Books, Modern, Photography

Wendy A. Grossman. Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens. Washington DC: International Art and Artists, 2009. 184 pp.; 23 color ills.; 259 b/w. $39.95   Wendy A. Grossman’s thoroughly researched and lucidly written exhibition catalog Man Ray, African Art, and the Modernist Lens effectively reveals the process “by which African objects, formerly considered [...]


Stein and Picasso

26 July 2011 | Modern, Museums, Photography, Teaching

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde San Francisco Museum of Modern Art May 21-September 6   Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco May 12-September 6   Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris De Young Museum, San Francisco June 11 – October 9   What is an [...]


Leo Steinberg, 1920-2011

14 April 2011 | Modern, Renaissance

The great art historian and critic Leo Steinberg died in New York City on March 13, 2011. Steinberg, more than any other historian of Renaissance art, believed in the power of pictorial structure to generate meaning. On Steinberg’s life and work see the New York Times obituary and the entry in the online Dictionary of [...]


Verano español en San Francisco

7 April 2011 | Conferences, Modern, Museums

It’s going to be a summer of Spanish expatriates in the bay area; Balenciaga and Spain is currently on view at the De Young, followed shortly by Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso Paris, while SFMoMA has organized The Steins Collect: Matisee, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde beginning next month. Together this looks to [...]


Obit: Loretta Lorance

28 February 2011 | Architecture, Modern

Architectural historian Loretta Lorance died Feb. 26, of breast cancer, according to an email sent to the CAA Student Members list-serv. She obtained her PhD from CUNY, taught at various universities, and published the 2009 book Becoming Bucky Fuller with MIT Press. Felicity D. Scott reviewed the book in the September 2010 Journal of the [...]


Jetzt alle zusammen

24 January 2011 | Awards, Books, Modern

In an age of immersive video games, 3-D television, and “reality adventures,” a re-evaulation of the Gesamtkunstwerk seems apt. Nominated for The Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, Modernism after Wagner by Juliet Koss is a “critical history of Wagner’s concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk,” or “total work of art,” from the mid-nineteenth-century to the 1930s. It [...]


Filling the Void

17 December 2010 | Books, Islamic, Modern, Museums

Qatar has just opened Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art. Before its opening Meris Lutz wrote in The Los Angeles Times: It will also serve as a research center, an exciting prospect for the regional arts community … The inaugural exhibition, titled, “Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art,” will include works culled from Mathaf’s [...]


Queering Rauschenberg

15 December 2010 | Modern

Museums all over have come under fire in recent weeks for their handling of gay/lesbian subject matter — for their responses (or non-responses) to the controversy over David Wojnarowicz, but also for their general timidity in addressing queerness, for example in the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Art historians too have work to [...]


Hide / Seek Exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery Becoming Contentious

2 December 2010 | Americas, Current Events, Film, Modern, Museums

The National Portrait Gallery’s innovative exhibition of images of and by queer people in America, HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, is becoming controversial.  The exhibit was altered by pulling a video by David Wojnarowicz and it may close before the scheduled date.  The story has been picked up by The Washington Post as well [...]


Is Your Museum Homophobic?

8 November 2010 | Modern, Museums

Brett Zongker of the Associated Press writes on “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” a new exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery: “There’s been an entire history hiding in plain sight,” said Portrait Gallery historian and curator David C. Ward. “Telling the history of art without the history of gay people is like [...]