Books / Livres
Collected Writings, Lectures, and Interviews
Susan J. Cooke, ed.
Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2018
312 pp. 28 color photographs, 11 b/w illus.
$38.00 (paperback) ISBN 9780520291881
Now that you’ve started reading this sentence, you can’t stop. This silly psychological fact would have annoyed David Smith had he lived to see this review, given the antipathy for art historians like me that repeatedly surfaces in this collection of his essays, lectures, interviews and occasional writings. “There is no true art history, no true appreciation,” he observes in a speech from 1960. Expanding this complaint a few paragraphs later, he adds:
"We have all let anthropologists, philosophers, historians, connoisseurs and mercenaries, and everybody else tell us what art is or what it should be. But I think we ought to very simply let it be what artists say it is. And what artists say it is, you can see by their working. I would like to leave it just like that."
For Smith, only art says anything worthwhile about art. The work speaks for itself. By contrast, with rhetorical tricks and gold-plated erudition, critics, historians, and curators distract the art-going public from the heart of the matter—the art—instead piling up irrelevancies like influence, biography, context, meaning, and stylistic analysis. full text
Charles Reeve (RACAR 44.2 2019)
Diana Sherlock, ed.
Rita McKeough: Works
Calgary: EMMEDIA Gallery & Production Society; M:ST Performative Art Festival; Truck Contemporary Art in Calgary, 2018
162 pp. colour illus.
$45.00 (hardback); $75.00 (hardback with 12-inch vinyl boxset); $280.00 (hardback with vinyl and limited edition art multiple).
Rita McKeough: Works is a substantial monograph spanning over forty years of the artist’s collaborative and performative multimedia works. Edited by Diana Sherlock and published by three Calgary artist-run spaces, it is a critical acknowledgment of the major productions of this leading Canadian contemporary visual artist whose installations address violence against women, human and animal relations, and environmental deterioration. Mirroring McKeough’s fierce feminist practice, thirteen texts bear witness to the collaborative process of layering very distinctive voices into a collection that nevertheless remains resolutely provisional. full text
Mireille Perron (RACAR 44.2 2019)
Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature Since the ’60s
University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2018
256 pp. 27 colour; 36 b/w illus.
$34.95 (paper) ISBN: 978-0-271-08004-8.
In his wide-ranging new book Landscape into Eco Art: Articulations of Nature since the ’60s, Mark Cheetham proposes to consolidate the connections among three artistic practices: the historical tradition of nineteenth century landscape art, the conceptual explorations of land art, and the contemporary gestures of eco art both in and outside the museum. With deliberate titular reference to Kenneth Clark's Landscape into Art (1949), a text based on a series of lectures Clark gave as Slade Professor of Art at Oxford and republished to popular acclaim in 1976, Cheetham builds an argument meant to “complicate and ultimately justify the linkage of historical landscape as a genre, land art, and eco art [...] to address in new ways the questions of how ‘land’ comes in to eco art.” full text
Karla Kit McManus (RACAR 44.2 2019)
Erin Manning et Brian Massumi
Pensée en acte : vingt propositions pour la recherche-création
Dijon : Les presses du réel, 2018
135 pp. (relié) 12 € ISBN 9782378960391
À la fin de 2018 paraissait dans la « Petite collection ArTeC » des presses du réel Pensée en acte, vingt propositions pour la recherche-création d’Erin Manning et de Brian Massumi. Traduction partielle de Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience publié à l’University of Minnesota Press en 2014, l’ouvrage est le résultat d'une collaboration entre Erin Manning, praticienne et théoricienne de l'art professeure en arts visuels et en cinéma à la Faculté des beaux-arts de l’Université Concordia, et Brian Massumi, spécialiste et traducteur du travail de Deleuze et Guattari, qui a mené une longue carrière au Département de communications de l’Université de Montréal où il demeure professeur associé. suite
Benoit Jodoin (RACAR 44.2 2019)
Appropriated Photographs in French Surrealist Periodicals, 1924-1939
London/New York: Routledge (Ashgate), 2017
180 pp. 23 b/w illus.
$165 USD (Hardback) ISBN 9781409437307
The seed of Linda Steer’s Appropriated Photographs in French Surrealist Periodicals, 1924-1939 can be found in two of her 2008 published articles: “Photographic Appropriation, Ethnography, and the Surrealist Other” in The Comparatist and “Surreal Encounters: Science, Surrealism and the Re-Circulation of a Crime-Scene Photographs” in History of Photography. Certainly, discussions about surrealism and photography are not new: in the first half of the twentieth century Walter Benjamin and André Bazin come to mind, followed by critics and scholars such as Rosalind Krauss and John Roberts in the second half of the century. While Steer’s book grapples with photography’s ontology, it does so without entirely leaving behind the social and political reality in which photographs are made and exist. full text
Charlene Heath (RACAR 44.2 2019)
Tear Gas Epiphanies: Protest, Culture, Museums
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019
432 pp., 51 illus. with colour section
$125 (cloth) ISBN: 9780773557000; $39.95 (paperback) ISBN: 9780773557017; $39.95 (ePDF) ISBN: 9780773558298
In Tear Gas Epiphanies: Protest, Culture, Museums, Kirsty Robertson recounts the “as-yet-untold story of political action at museums in Canada from the early twentieth century to the present.”[i] The book’s numerous examples and case studies posit encounters between museums and “performative politics”—a term used by Robertson to signify the variety of oppositional actions that have implicated museums—as common occurrences that should be considered significant parts of institutional history. full text
Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte (RACAR 44.2 2019)
John Leroux and Thaddeus Holownia
A Vision in Wood & Stone: The Architecture of Mount Allison University
Kentville, NS: Gaspereau Press Ltd, 2016
234 pp. $ 65.95 (hardcover) ISBN 9781554471409
The cover of A Vision in Wood & Stone: The Architecture of Mount Allison University features the university’s 1931 central heating plant designed by C.A. Fowler & Company. A utilitarian structure of brick with a steel frame, it is a vision in neither wood nor stone; however, the photograph, composed with the plant’s great cylindrical stack at centre, carefully cropped on top and bottom and seeming to obscure a view of the boiler’s house behind it, sets the tone for a book about an evolving cultural landscape. Indeed, while universities and colleges can be extraordinary environments, places that facilitate and represent intellectual ideals, they are also everyday places and succumb to more mundane pressures like producing economical and reliable heating. full text
Michael Windover (RACAR 44.1 2019)
Diana Newall, ed.
Art and Its Global Histories: A Reader
Manchester: Manchester University Press in association with the Open University, 2017
344 pp. 17 b/w illus., 4 graphs
£ 17.99 (paper) ISBN 9781526119926
With the publication of Art and Its Global Histories: A Reader, the editors and authors have chosen to offer a global, theoretical exploration of visual culture supported by the use of primary source texts, and dispensing with illustrations, save for a few black-and-white reproductions. This volume is a reader for the Open University level-three distance-learning module of the same name, which uses the lens of colonialism to construct an overview of the globalisation of art from the early modern to the contemporary eras, with a particular focus on British colonialism. The volume is meant to serve as an introduction to a series of books that expand the material offered here. Each of its four sections is presented by a different editor and consists of a brief introduction, a selection of carefully chosen primary source texts, and excerpts from “critical sources” that explain the connections between these primary texts and the approaches of present-day scholars. full text
Erin L. Webster (RACAR 44.1 2019)
The Société des Trois in the Nineteenth Century: The Translocal Artistic Union of Whistler, Fantin-Latour, and Legros
New York: Routledge, 2018
152 pp. 37 b/w and 10 colour illus.
$150 US (Hardcover) ISBN 9781138503151
Melissa Berry offers the first booklength study of the Société des Trois and its role in the artistic development of its members, Henri Fantin-Latour, Alphonse Legros, and James McNeill Whistler. She argues that this group, formed by the three in their early professional lives, was “far more than a footnote” in their careers (131). The Société has been touched upon in monographs and elsewhere; for instance, it is briefly mentioned in Michael Fried’s 1996 book Manet’s Modernism: or, The Face of Painting in the 1860s and Bridget Alsdorf’s Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting (2013). It was the subject of an exhibition (The Society of Three) at the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1998, the catalogue for which contains an important essay by Paul Stirton and Jane Munro. Berry’s book, however, offers the most in-depth examination of the group’s formation and function. full text
Alison Syme (RACAR 44.1 2019)
Dominic Hardy, Annie Gérin, and Lora Senechal Carney, eds.
Sketches from an Unquiet Country: Canadian Graphic Satire 1840–1940
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018
304 pp. 9 colour and 88 b/w illus.
$120.00 (cloth) ISBN 9780773553415
In a 2012 special issue of RACAR, Dominic Hardy, one of the guest editors—along with Annie Gérin and Jean-Philippe Uzel—wrote: “We see, then, how the categories of art and art history are transformed by the humorous practices that at once undermine and extend the authority of specific images, subjects, genres, and stylistic practices, especially when these are held to be revealing of national characteristics.”1 RACAR’s special issue on Humour in the Visual Arts and Visual Culture laid a strong foundation for scholarship on Canadian graphic satire. The fascinating volume Sketches from an Unquiet Country: Canadian Graphic Satire 1840–1940, edited by Hardy, Gérin, and Lora Senechal Carney, is an important step forward in this field, and in a perfect world, it would be read alongside canonical texts such as Diana Donald’s The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III (1996) and Mark Hallett’s The Spectacle of Difference: Graphic Art in the Age of Hogarth (1999). full text
Julia Skelly (RACAR 44.1 2019)
I’m not myself at all: Women, Art, and Subjectivity in Canada
Montréal et Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016
400 pp. 145 illus. coul.
$ 65 (relié) ISBN 9780773553194
Au carrefour de différentes positions théoriques, plusieurs penseurs et penseuses ont ébranlé les modèles dérivés de la pensée kantienne du moi désengagé. Emmanuel Levinas croyait que l’identité se construit dans un réseau de relations à l’autre. Pour Judith Butler, l’identité a une nature performative, elle est façonnée par des normes intériorisées et naturalisées. Les courants de pensée poststructuralistes et de la déconstruction abordent la notion d’identité collective en termes de groupes d’intérêt stratégiques. La notion d’identité est donc aujourd’hui comprise comme processus, répudiant du coup toutes idées de pureté ethnique ou culturelle et évacuant toutes les formes d’essentialisme. Le processus identitaire serait une expérience intersubjective, cognitive et affective, nécessairement modelée par des dynamiques complexes entre des référents collectifs psychoculturels, psychosociaux et historiques auxquels chaque individu s’identifie de façon plus ou moins forte. suite
Édith-Anne Pageot (RACAR 44.1 2019)
Heather Davis, ed.
Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada
Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press and MAWA, 2017
328 pp. 94 colour illus.
$ 45.00 (cloth) ISBN 9780773549371
Angela Davis has often been quoted as saying “I take my identity from my politics, not my politics from my identity.”1 This would be an apt epigraph to Heather Davis’s beautifully 110 Reviews| Recensions designed and edited volume Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada. Within the pages of this collection, Davis, a Canadian art historian, theorist, curator, and currently an assistant professor in Culture and Media at New York’s New School, gathers together voices that tell diverse (and sometimes divergent) histories under the umbrella terms “feminist,” “art,” and “Canada”—terms that are not taken up in the collection as unifying or as un-problematically coalescing sites of identity, but rather as sites of intervention. full text
Natalie Loveless (RACAR 44.1 2019)
Engendering an Avant-Garde: The Unsettled Landscapes of Vancouver Photo-Conceptualism
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018
296 pp. 41 b/w illus.
£ 80 (hardcover) ISBN 9781526101198
In Engendering an Avant-Garde, Leah Modigliani examines the absence of women artists in Vancouver photo-conceptualism, from its inception in 1968 to its identification as the “Vancouver School,” a global brand that emerged in early 1990s writing about Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace and variously encompassed Ken Lum, Christos Dikeakos, Rodney Graham, Roy Arden, Arni Haraldsson, and Stan Douglas. Modigliani positions this self-declared vanguard within a critical discourse generated by the likes of Andreas Huyssen, Johanne Lamoureux, T.J. Clark and Griselda Pollock, who have revealed how the historical avant-garde perpetuated patriarchal privilege through dichotomous thinking (the feminine as alterity) that situated “women or others as oppositional to the mission of a self-selective male group identification.” full text
Christine Conley (RACAR 44.1 2019)
The Unmaking of Home in Contemporary Art
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017
212 pp, 50 b/w illus.
$65 (hardback) ISBN: 9781442649828
At the end of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wakes up in her own bed – in the midst of the dust-bowl of Kansas – and exclaims, “There’s no place like home.” After her colourful experience in the Land of Oz, the film’s narrative reinforces the superiority of home and its security and sense of belonging – no matter how bleak the reality may be. The film, through the lens of fantasy and escape, asks, what makes a home? How do we measure the idea of home? The Wizard of Oz offers a rich set of dramatic narratives and ambiguous metaphors of home, homelessness, and homeliness that have also underpinned and informed the work of theorists as well as many artists. full text
Lori Beavis (RACAR 43.2 2018, web exclusive)
Paul O'Neil, Mick Wilson, and Lucy Steeds, eds.
How Institutions Think: Between Contemporary Art and Curatorial Discourse
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2017
248 pp., 100 b/w illus
$34.95 (paper) ISBN: 9780262534321
This edited volume reimagines contemporary art’s institutional formats, practices, ethics, and dispositions, and, in doing so, attempts to expand on the analyses conducted by the late social anthropologist Mary Douglas in her seminal text How Institutions Think (1986). The second of a three-part series, the book is the result of a series of symposia under the same title (Arles, 2016) organized in partnership with the LUMA Foundation, The Center for Curatorial Studies (Bard College, New York) and various international curatorial schools. full text
Charissa von Harringa (RACAR 43.2 2018)
The Realism of Piero della Francesca
Londres et New York, Routledge (Ashgate), 2018
150 $US (relié) ISBN : 9781472461315
49.46 $US (livre électronique) ISBN : 9781315553641
Le débat fait toujours rage, en histoire de l’art comme dans toutes les disciplines historiques. D’un côté, les historicistes espérant reconstituer le « Period Eye » rêvé par Michael Baxandall ; de l’autre, les spécialistes du passé reconnaissant la complexe temporalité de l’écriture historique et l’importance d’un savoir « situé », et accueillant par conséquent favorablement l’anachronisme à la Georges Didi-Huberman ou la « preposterous history » développée par Mieke Bal. suite
Itay Sapir (RACAR 43.2 2018)
Martha Langford, ed.
Narratives Unfolding: National Art Histories in an Unfinished World
Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2017
437 pp. 100 colour illus.
$39.95 (paper) ISBN: 9780773549791
$120 (cloth) ISBN: 9780773549784
Narratives Unfolding: National Art Histories in an Unfinished World is a complex collection of sixteen new essays that tackle the difficult and persistent problem of art history and its national frameworks. Unlike many critical anthologies that emerge as topical or thematic collections offering a divergent direction in a field, Narratives Unfolding presents a retrospective conundrum that lingers in the conjoined and overlapping fields of art history and visual culture since their disciplinary shake up in the 1970s and 1980s. Langford begins by naming the global as the “éminence grise” that has, for some time now, irreversibly complicated the relationship between the discipline of art history and the metric of nationhood. full text
Lee Rodney (RACAR 43.2 2018)
Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating
New York: Thames & Hudson, 2018
240 pp. 107 colour illus.
$32.95 (hardcover) ISBN: 9780500239704
Maura Reilly’s Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating is a much-needed volume in the field of criticism and curatorial practice. This book seeks to urge art-world gatekeepers to take on the politics of difference in ethical ways in order to bring to the fore lesser-known art histories or to create radically different ones. According to Reilly, “curatorial activists” take on a variety of tactics that decenter the racism, sexism, and homophobia that have been institutionalized in museums and canons over the centuries. full text
Melissa Largo (RACAR 43.2 2018)
Rina Arya and Nicholas Chare, eds.
Abject Visions: Powers of Horror in Art and Visual Culture
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016
208 pp. 7 b/w illus.
$31.31 (paper) ISBN: 978-0-7190-9629-7
Rina Arya and Nicholas Chare’s edited collection Abject Visions: Powers of Horror in Art and Visual Culture (2016) argues that the theory of the abject continues to be an enduring and productive site of thinking in contemporary visual culture. This volume developed out of Arya and Chare’s ongoing work on the subject, Arya’s Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature (2014) and Chare’s Auschwitz and Afterimages: Abjection, Witnessing and Representation (2011). In Abject Visions, the editors gathered writing from eleven scholars who pursue this field of study and address the abject through the manifold contemporary arts... full text
Yani Kong (RACAR 43.2 2018)
Searching for Mary Schäffer: Women, Wilderness, Photography
Edmonton: The University of Alberta Press, 2017
448 pp., 60 + colour illus.
$34.95 (paper) ISBN: 9781772122985
Mary T. S. Schäffer, the Philadelphian botanist, adventurer, and photographer, is perhaps best known for being one of a handful of women to have braved the back country of the Canadian Rocky Mountains at the turn of the twentieth-century. While her life and work have taken on particular resonance in Banff, where she settled later in life, they have also attracted attention in Canada and the United States more broadly, where her writing and photographs continue to be the source of much popular and scholarly attention. full text
Stéphanie Hornstein (RACAR 43.2 2018)
Fabrizio Ricciardelli and Andrea Zorzi, eds.
Emotions, Passions, and Power in Renaissance Italy
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015
256 pp. 19 b/w illus.
€85 (hardback) ISBN:9789089647368
Jennifer Spinks and Charles Zika, eds.
Disaster, Death and the Emotions in the Shadow of the Apocalypse, 1400–1700
London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016
364 pp. 37 colour, 18 b/w illus.
€83 (hardcover) ISBN:978-1-137-442700-3
As with so many of the sub-disciplines in art history and visual studies, Renaissance and early modern studies has seen a flurry of publications on the history of emotions and culture. The volume of twelve essays edited by Fabrizio Ricciardelli and Andrea Zorzi emerged from a series of academic conferences and roundtables devoted to the theme of emotion, passion, and power in Renaissance Italy. The book is framed by Barbara Rosenwein’s significant essay, “The Place of Renaissance Italy in the History of Emotions,” which opens the discussion... full text
Catherine Harding (RACAR 43.2 2018)
Ray Ellenwood reviews four recent publications on the life and work of Edmund Alleyn
Au début, il ne s’agissait que d'être peintre, plus tard, il importait d'être aussi un artiste. Et en devenant artiste, il devenait de plus en plus difficile d'être peintre.
—Edmund Alleyn, “Fragments posthumes,” in De jour, de nuit
Although I was invited to write about the last three titles on this list, I can't really do so without mentioning the first, a celebration of Edmund Alleyn that includes texts and artworks of various kinds by more than fifty writers, artists, friends, and family members, collected just months before the artist’s death, with his participation... full text
Ray Ellenwood (RACAR 43.2 2018)
Caroline A. Jones
The Global Work of Art: World’s Fairs, Biennials, and the Aesthetic of Experience
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017
400 pp., 37 colour plates, 128 b/w illus.
$65 (cloth) ISBN: 9780226291741
The focus of Caroline A. Jones’ new book, The Global Work of Art: World’s Fairs, Biennials, and the Aesthetic of Experience, is the widening of the international and global art world. She bases her study on the lineage of world’s fairs and biennials and examines globalisation in contemporary art. Building outward from an exhibitionary complex that began in the nineteenth century, Jones probes key concepts like cosmopolitanism, nationalism, internationalism, transnationalism, globalism, and aesthetic experience. full text
Amy Bruce (RACAR 43.2 2018)
David O’Brien, ed.
Civilisation and Nineteenth-Century Art: A European Concept in Global Context Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016
272 pp. 89 b/w illus.
£75.00 (hardback) ISBN 978 1 7849 92682
David O’Brien’s anthology Civilisation and Nineteenth-Century Art: A European Concept in Global Context looks critically at the origins of a concept that has been deeply embedded in the academic discipline of art history since its inception in the nineteenth century: civilisation. Alongside polarities such as self and other, orient and occident, primitive and modern, masculine and feminine, civilisation emerged in the Western imagination as the antithesis of barbarism. In the traditional Western canon of art, aesthetic objects divorced from any functional or ritual use were viewed as the ultimate product of civilisation... full text
Nina Amstutz (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Looking Jewish: Visual Culture and Modern Diaspora
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015
216 pp., 72 b/w illus.
$45 (hardback) ISBN: 978-0-253-01542-6
In her 1948 book A Short History of Jewish Art, Helen Rosenau, an art historian educated in Germany, but forced to flee the country in 1933 due to National Socialism’s persecutory policies toward Jews, discusses artists of the diaspora—the painful dispersion or scattering of the Jewish peoples—a reality Edward Carter draws attention to in his preface to her book. With respect to modern diasporic artists, Rosenau remarks, “The variety of these artists is such that it seems almost impossible to gauge any specifically Jewish traits… full text
Nicholas Chare (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Stan Dragland, with an appreciation by Michael Crummey
St. John’s, NFLD: Pedlar Press, 2017
240 pp. 240 colour and b/w illus.
$80 (hardcover) ISBN: 978-1897141823
Gerald Squires (1937–2015) was born in Newfoundland, but moved as a child to Toronto, where he received his early schooling and art education. A reluctant student at the Ontario College of Art, he dropped out to travel and self-instruct, and was successful enough to become an editorial artist for The Toronto Telegram in 1960, where he illustrated a column devoted mainly to local church architecture and news. full text
Ray Ellenwood (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Photography in Canada 1960–2000
Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2017
175 pp. 179 colour and b/w illus.
$49.00 (paper) ISBN: 9780888849489
This catalogue, like the exhibition it accompanied, presents photographs from the National Gallery’s (NCG) collections made by individuals born, living, or having lived in Canada. Published under the auspices of the NGC’s newly formed Canadian Photography Institute, the catalogue is a much-needed survey of art photography in Canada. Each of the seventy-one, double-page catalogue entries, which are alphabetized by artist’s name, offers a short biography... full text
Michel Hardy-Vallée (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Modernism and the Making of the Soviet New Man
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017
193 pp. 72 b/w illus.
$104.50 (cloth) ISBN: 978-1526114860
What is the relationship between utopia and reality? And what role does space—broadly defined —play in answering that question? These are the core subjects addressed in Tijana Vujošević’s intriguing new study of modernist expressions in architecture in 1920s and 1930s Soviet Russia. Her study is a welcome addition to a scholarly literature that tends to neglect architecture in favour of focusing on literature and the visual arts. With her fresh approach, Vujošević demonstrates that ideas about space, and about how it can be used to recreate society, helped to define the New Soviet Person, first as a worker and then, as the 1920s gave way to the socialist-realist dominated 1930s, as a whole person. full text
Alison Rowley (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Lora Senechal Carney
Canadian Painters in a Modern World 1925–1955: Writings and Reconsiderations
Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017
352 pp. colour illus.
$120 (cloth) $44.95 (paper) ISBN: 9780773551152
Lora Senechal Carney’s Canadian Painters in a Modern World 1925–1955: Writings and Reconsiderations is an extensively researched work and a valuable addition to Canadian art history. The book consists of a selection of primary source texts, reprinted artworks, and photographs, which Carney has framed with contextual narrative essays. The author has pored over thousands of letters, newspaper and magazine articles, reviews, private journals, and artists’ statements to carefully select primary sources that illuminate the artistic developments and discourses in Canada from 1925 to 1955. full text
Devon Smither (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Looking Beyond Borderlines: North America’s Frontier Imagination
London and New York: Routledge, 2017
214 pp. 34 B/W Illus.
$150 (hardcover) ISBN: 9781138842243
$49.46 (e-book) ISBN: 9781315731698
Those who organize academic conferences in the social sciences and humanities will sometimes admit that the most effective way to attract large numbers of presenters is to announce that your theme is “the border.” Borders are the lines that demarcate national states, of course, but scholars will use the term to name lines of demarcation of all kinds—those that run between literary genres, sexual identities, areas of the psyche, and academic disciplines themselves. One challenge of the interdisciplinary field called “border studies” is to slow down a proliferation of metaphors that turns every category, thing, or relationship into one involving borders or their transgression. full text
Will Straw (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Serge Guilbaut and John O’Brian, eds.
Breathless Days: 1959–1960
Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2017
333 pp. 67 b/w illus.
$104.95 (cloth) ISBN: 978-0-8223-6023-0
$27.95 (paper) ISBN: 978-0-8223-6041-4
This excellent anthology, assembled by two leading scholars of modern art, investigates a pivotal, yet overlooked moment in twentieth-century cultural history—the years 1959 and 1960. Although the period covered by the volume is limited, it encompasses a range of mediums—visual art, film, writing, theatre, and music—and works from several countries in Europe and the Americas. Serge Guilbaut and John O’Brian argue that this period was a turning point in both global politics and the arts. full text
Anthony White (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Spaces and Places for Art: Making Art Institutions in Western Canada, 1912-1990
Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017
352 pp., 58 b/w illus
$39.95 (paper) ISBN: 9780773550322
Spaces and Places for Art: Making Art Institutions in Western Canada, 1912-1990 is an extensively researched, compelling, and insightful book. In it, Anne Whitelaw effectively charts the complex relations between art institutions formed in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia and the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), beginning with the formation of the Winnipeg Museum of Fine Arts (1912), the first art gallery founded west of Toronto, and ending in 1990 with the termination of the National Museums of Canada Corporation. In tracing such a broad constellation of connectivity, the author highlights common experiences amongst these institutions from Winnipeg westwards in terms of their formation, development, and ongoing exchanges with NGC. full text
Andrea Terry (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Le souffle et la flamme: Marie-Alain Couturier au Canada et ses lettres à Louise Gadbois
Montreal: Éditions du Septentrion, 2016
336 pp., 33 colour illus., 42 b/w
$49.95 (paper) ISBN: 978-2-89448-865-2
This is a very complex book. At its core is the story of a fascinating man, a French Dominican monk named Marie-Alain Couturier, who was sent at the outbreak of World War II to the United States to minister, teach, and paint, and who moved mainly between New York and Baltimore, often in well-heeled and influential circles. Well known among Catholic intellectuals, he was invited to Montreal in March 1940 through the efforts of the philosopher Étienne Gilson. full text
Ray Ellenwood (RACAR 43.1 2018)
Zacharie Vincent. Une autohistoire artistique
Wendake, Éditions Hannenorak, 2016
276 pp. 63 illus. couleur et noir & blanc
39,45 $ (relié) ISBN : 9782923926100
De son vivant, Zacharie Vincent (1815–1886) était présenté comme le « dernier des Hurons » ; aujourd’hui, certains estiment qu’il était le « premier peintre autochtone moderne ». Dans les deux cas, ces étiquettes en disent en réalité moins sur Vincent lui-même que sur les repères sociohistoriques ethnocentriques de ceux qui le placent ainsi à la fin d’une ère et au début d’une autre. suite
Solen Roth (RACAR 42.2 2017)
Les Paradoxes du détail: Voir, savoir, représenter à l’ère de la photographie
Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015
246 pp. 41 b/w illus.
17 € (paper) ISBN: 978-2-7535-4022-4
Les Paradoxes du détail argues provocatively for the importance of “detail” in a variety of mid- to late nineteenth-century French discourses that depend/rely upon the comprehension of visual representations, including those related to aesthetics, history, sociology, and science. This intriguing book contends that the use of detail became a key rhetorical device upon which various representational, and as a consequence, cultural, and epistemological, debates hinged. full text
Shana Cooperstein (RACAR 42.2 2017)
For Folk’s Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia
Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press/Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation Studies in Art History Series, 2016
424 pp. 76 colour illus.
$108 (cloth) ISBN: 9780773548114
$49.46 (paper) ISBN: 9780773548121
For Folk’s Sake: Art and Economy in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia is a richly documented and beautifully illustrated exploration of folk art’s cultural ascendancy in Nova Scotia. Erin Morton draws from an impressive range of research to offer the reader a truly interlinked study of art making, cultural policy history, and economic development in the province during the second half of the twentieth century. full text
Elaine C. Paterson (RACAR 42.2 2017)
Julien Hébert. Fondateur du design moderne au Québec
Montréal, Les éditions du passage, 2016.
256 pp., illus.
34,95 $ (relié) ISBN : 9782924397251
Dans cet ouvrage, à l’origine une thèse de doctorat, l’auteur Martin Racine, professeur et directeur du programme d’études supérieures au Département de design et d’arts numériques à l’Université Concordia, positionne Julien Hébert (1917–1994) au sommet du panthéon des designers québécois. Privilégiant une approche biographique, l’auteur retrace la carrière d’Hébert depuis les années 1930 jusqu’au milieu des années 1980. suite
Marie-Josée Therrien (RACAR 42.2 2017)
Rhodri Windsor Liscombe et Michelangelo Sabatino
Canada. Modern Architectures in History
Londres, Reaktion Books, 2016
390 pp. 200 similigravures
£20, ISBN : 9781780236339
Le 150e anniversaire du Canada est l’occasion idéale pour célébrer l’architecture moderne canadienne et la faire connaître d’un public élargi, et compenser ainsi un déficit d’appréciation. Telle est la motivation des professeurs Rhodri Liscombe et Michelangelo Sabatino, auteurs de l’ouvrage intitulé Canada, édité à Londres, par Reaktion Books, dans la série Modern Architectures in History, où il côtoie une dizaine d’autres titres. suite
France Vanlaethem (RACAR 42.2 2017)
Patricia Allmer, ed.
Intersections: Women Artists/Surrealism/Modernism
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016
328 pp., 72 colour illus
£75 (hardcover) ISBN: 9780719096488
If there is a true individual identity I would like to find it, because like truth on discovery it has already gone.
— Leonora Carrington (1970)
In her introduction to Intersections: Women Artists/Surrealism/Modernism, Patricia Allmer explains that little theoretical work has examined the significant intersections (the imbrications, interpenetrations, and connections) between surrealism and modernism. This insufficiency has produced a contested field of intellectual history made all the more complicated by the largely neglected presence of women artists working within it. suite
Christine Conley (RACAR 42.1 2017)
Charmaine A. Nelson
Slavery, Geography and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica
London and New York: Routledge, 2016
416 pp., 16 colour plates, 26 b/w illus
$149.95 (cloth) ISBN 9781409468912
Slavery, Geography and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Marine Landscapes of Montreal and Jamaica is a deeply researched and complex book. As a comparative study of two island settlements that were part of the British Empire, Charmaine Nelson’s work draws links between Canadian slavery and tropical plantation slavery of the Caribbean through a focus on nineteenth-century marine landscapes produced in oil paintings, watercolours, engravings, lithographs, and aquatints.
Renée Ater (RACAR 42.1 2017)
When I Was a Photographer
Trans. Eduardo Cadava and Liana Theodoratou
Cambridge, MA and London, UK: The MIT Press, 2015
$25.95 (cloth) ISBN: 9780262029452
$18.95 (ebook) ISBN 9780262330701
As the nineteenth century ended, the same seemed to happen to Félix Nadar’s life in photography. Having sold his Marseilles studio in 1899, he published Quand j’étais photographe (“When I Was a Photographer”) in Paris the following year, and an image from 1909 reinforces the sense that he has quit photography. It shows him seated at a large table, pen in hand, examining us deliberately if not unkindly, with no camera in sight. full text
Charles Reeve (RACAR 42.1 2017)
Una Roman d’Elia, dir.
Rethinking Renaissance Drawings. Essays in Honour of David McTavish
Montréal ; Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015
409 pp., 147 illustrations en couleur
125.00 $ ISBN 9780773546363
Pour souligner l’apport majeur de David McTavish (1943–2014) à l’avancement des études sur le dessin de la Renaissance, Una Roman d’Elia a commandé des textes à plusieurs auteurs, dont de nombreux étudiants de McTavish, afin de composer cet ouvrage collectif publié à sa mémoire. Le sujet de cette publication permet de mettre en évidence la relation entre maître et apprenti (voir notamment Stowell, Hochmann, Dickey et du Prey) : un bel hommage des auteurs à leur défunt mentor. suite
Fannie Caron-Roy (RACAR 42.1 2017)
Caravage : La peinture en ses miroirs
Paris, Citadelles & Mazenod, 2015
384 pp., 325 illus. coul
189 € (relié) ISBN 9782850886416
Qu’est-ce qu’un « ouvrage de référence » sur un peintre? Comment sait-on qu’on a entre les mains ce qu’en anglais on appellerait « the definitive account », nous donnant, pour un temps, le fin mot sur la carrière d’un artiste? La question est épineuse, d’autant plus lorsqu’il s’agit d’un peintre – Caravage – sur lequel tout semble avoir déjà été dit, un artiste qui est l’objet d’un véritable déluge de publications depuis une vingtaine d’années. suite
Itay Sapir (RACAR 41.2 2016)
Sarah Milroy and Ian Dejardin, eds.
From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia
exh. cat., Toronto, ON; London, UK; and Fredericton, NB, 2014
304 pp., colour illustrations
$39.95 ISBN 13: 978-1-894243-77-3
The catalogue From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia was published to accompany the exhibition of the same name organized conjointly by the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and co-curated by the Toronto art critic Sarah Milroy and Dulwich’s director Ian Dejardin. It reproduces more than one hundred colour reproductions of Carr’s work, which it brings in dialogue with about the same number of images of historic Native art of the Northwest Coast. full text
Elisabeth Otto (RACAR 41.1 2016)
Ink and Light: The Influence of Claude Lorrain’s Etchings on England
Montreal & Kingston, London, Ithaca, McGill-Queen’s University Press for the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, exh. cat., 2013
164 pp., 60 duotone illustrations
$60.00 ISBN 978-0-7735-4198-6
In 1836 the painter and draughtsman John Constable delivered a lecture before the Royal Institution on “The Origin of Landscape.” He was, in his own words, “anxious that the world should be inclined to look to painters for information on painting.” Constable, whose anxiety could be read as eagerness as much as distress, was responding critically to those who privileged the aesthetic opinions of collectors and connoisseurs, many of whom believed that the only creditable subject of landscape art was not only found abroad... full text
Christina Smylitopoulos (RACAR 41.1 2016)