Books / Livres
Natalie Alvarez, Claudette Lauzon, and Keren Zaiontz, eds.
Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas
Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019
343 pp. 24 b/w and 10 colour illus.
$139.99US (hardcover) ISBN 9783030115562
$109.00US (eBook) ISBN 9783030115579
Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas is a timely, compelling, and insightful collection of essays focused on the achievements, tactics, and sustainable strategies of activist performance that emerged in the aftermath of the global Occupy movement. In the wake of the world being knocked off its axis by widely ranging governmental responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the collection’s primary themes and purpose merit keen and sustained attention. As editors Alvarez, Lauzon, and Zaiontz explain, “Sustainable tools and time-sensitive tactics that defy the habitual and enact more democratic futures are needed to aid communities caught in the throes of political violence, manufactured austerity, and environmental disasters” (10). Sustainable Tools features a series of case study analyses of art-activist projects across the Americas, interspersed with artist’s pages—contributed by: L.M. Bogad; ATSA; Hank Willis Thomas and Erik Gottesman; subRosa; Escola de Ativismo; micha cárdenas, Patrisse Cullors, Chris Head and Edxie Betts; Syrus Marcus Ware; Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, with Suné Woods; Cannupa Hanska Luger; and Leah Decter, with Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Action Group—described by the editors as “first-person perspectives of artists working on the ‘frontlines’ of interventionalist art.” More precisely, they position the collection as “both an archive and a how-to-manual documenting ways of keeping effective interventionist strategies in circulation” (3) across the Americas. full text
Andrea Terry (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Anthony W. Lee
The Global Flows of Early Scottish Photography: Encounters in Scotland, Canada, and China
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019
344 pp. 193 colour illus.
$55.00 (cloth) ISBN: 9780773557130
Anthony Lee’s new book is a beautifully written, richly engaging account of three sets of early Scottish photographers and their relations to the globalizing forces of modernity and imperialism. His three chapters track these “global flows” as they transformed the lives of the photographers and the subjects they encountered on the Scottish coast just outside Edinburgh, in and around Montreal, and at the edges of the British empire in Hong Kong and in South China. Covering a thirty-year period between 1843 and 1873 (the dates of the first and last project studied), the chapters address three case-studies that follow each other chronologically: the photo-albums emerging from the collaboration between David Octavius Hill (1802–1870) and Robert Adamson (1821–1848) in Scotland; two contemporary book projects by William Notman (1826–1891) and Alexander Henderson (1831–1913) in Canada; and two photo-books by John Thomson (1837–1921) published during and immediately after his stay in Hong Kong. As the driving force of his narrative and critical strength of the book, Lee homes in on these projects as moments in often lengthy photographic careers where the work reveals the effect of complex, open-ended encounters between the photographers and their subjects. full text
Catherine Stuer (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Richard Hamilton: Introspective
Köln: Walther König, 2019
408 pp. 540 colour and b/w illus.
$110.00 (cloth) ISBN 9783883756950
Paradox entranced Richard Hamilton throughout his artistic career (which ended when he died in 2011, at age 89), which perhaps explains this book’s caginess about the identity of its author. Across the top of its spare, handsome cover, we read the artist’s name and then, about halfway down, the book’s title. So that seems clear: a book by Richard Hamilton called Introspective. Except that the inside title page presents a third term: “Richard Hamilton/INTROSPECTIVE/By Phillip Spectre.” Intriguing. After all, Hamilton had links to rock and roll: pace the standard art history survey, his best-known work is his 1968 cover for the Beatles’ “White Album,” not the collage Just what is it that makes today’s home so different, so appealing? from a decade earlier. Could this biography be the work of the notorious pop musician-cum-record producer-cum-convicted murderer (recently deceased of COVID-19) Phil—no, wait. That’s Spector. So, is this Spectre an illusion? Yes. But also no. And examining Hamilton’s images of himself, which this book discusses a fair bit, helps us understand why. full text
Charles Reeve (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Graphic Culture. Illustration and Artistic Enterprise in Paris, 1830-1848
Montréal, Kingston, McGill-Queen University Press, 2018
252 pp., 56 illus. couleur et noir & blanc
49,95 $ (relié) ISBN 9780773554559
Parmi les récentes contributions à la recherche sur la culture du livre et de l’imprimé, il convient de souligner l’apport de Jillian Lerner qui s’intéresse, dans son premier ouvrage, au contexte parisien sous la monarchie de Juillet (1830-1848). Dans Graphic Culture, Lerner, qui enseigne l’histoire de l’art à l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique, livre les résultats d’une réflexion amorcée il y a plus de dix ans — les chapitres 2 et 3 ont respectivement été publiés en 2008 et 2007 — sur le concours déterminant des artistes dans le façonnement de la modernité, mais surtout sur leur habileté à en résumer l’essence à travers des images destinées à la consommation (p. 5). En choisissant la modernité comme thématique principale, Lerner parvient à unifier un imposant corpus composé, entre autres, de caricatures de mœurs, d’illustrations de mode, d’affiches publicitaires et de guides illustrés. suite
Marie-Lise Poirier (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Partages de la perspective
Paris, Fayard, coll. Ouvertures, 2020
288 pp., 47 ill. coul.
25,00€ (relié) ISBN 9782213716633
Dans l’essai concluant sa nouvelle parution, Partages de la perspective, le philosophe Emmanuel Alloa, surtout connu auprès des historiens de l’art pour avoir dirigé la série de volumes Penser l’image (2010, 2015 et 2017), admet l’audace de son projet : tout n’a-t-il pas déjà été écrit sur la perspective? Alloa, certes, n’a pas ménagé le travail d’érudition dans l’ouvrage qui se présente comme une enquête aux références riches et foisonnantes, mais qui passe aussi, dans le texte final, du côté de l’essai philosophique. En effet, c’est bien une vision originale de la perspective que défend Alloa dans ce livre, un « perspectivisme robuste » dont il jette les bases et dont il aura — du moins on peut l’espérer — à pousser plus avant la portée politique. suite
Maryse Ouellet (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Lori Pauli, ed.
Oscar G. Rejlander: Artist Photographer
Ottawa: Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada; Distributed by Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2018
300 pp. 194 illus.
$40.00 (hardcover) ISBN 9780300237092.
Oscar G. Rejlander: Artist Photographer, edited by Lori Pauli and with essays by her, Jordan Bear, Karen Hellman, and Phillip Prodger, is an essential text that celebrates the artist’s life and work. This catalogue was an accompaniment to, and extension of, the exhibition of the same name organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada; the exhibition opened in Ottawa in October 2018 on the 205th anniversary of Rejlander’s birth and then travelled to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in March 2019. The catalogue constitutes “the most thoroughly published investigation into Rejlander’s entire practice” and highlights his contributions to the history of photography (15). He not only mentored famous photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron, but his elaborate combination prints were unprecedented in their time and set the groundwork for understandings of photographs as malleable and manipulated images, as we know them today. The show, the first Rejlander retrospective, featured a hundred and fifty works, while the catalogue accommodates an extra forty-four images that, in totality, cover the many aspects of his career. The images illustrate the narrative complexity of Rejlander’s work, his technical ability as evidenced in anatomical and scientific studies, his playful uses of the camera through visual puns, and his references to Renaissance paintings, all while aligning photography with other modes of representation such as drawing and painting. full text
Katie Oates (RACAR 46.1 2021)
M. Elizabeth Boone
“The Spanish Element in Our Nationality”: Spain and America at the World’s Fairs and Centennial Celebrations, 1876–1915
University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019
239 pp. 20 colour, 80 b&w illustrations
$99.95 (hardcover) ISBN 9780271083315
In the second half of the nineteenth century, world’s fairs and other international expositions became transnational sites of contact for organizers, exhibitors, and attendees. Through the tactical positioning and presentation of exhibits, these elaborately designed events provided organizers with the agency to engineer national narratives and determine collective memories. Thus, world’s fairs form an ideal point of convergence for scholars from a diverse range of disciplines who are interested in exploring conceptualizations of nationhood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. full text
Gregg French (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Jean Paul Riopelle and the Automatiste Movement, trans. Donald Winkler
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020
212 pp. 90 illus.
$49.95 (hardcover) ISBN 9780228001157
First of all, let me declare my complete lack of social distancing. All those involved in the writing and editing of this book, from the author and translator through to individuals thanked by the publisher for help with editing after François-Marc Gagnon's death in March 2019, are long-time friends of mine. When I first began my own research for a book on the Automatists in the late 1970s, Gagnon was already a well-established authority on Borduas and the movement. He was extraordinarily generous in making available his extensive files of newspaper clippings and other documents; and he was consistently, over the years, a great source of information and encouragement to me and many other scholars. In the mid-1980s, Gilles Lapointe was working as a graduate researcher with André-G. Bourassa on the writings of Borduas. I met him then, and we have often collaborated since. Lapointe has established himself as the most important successor to Gagnon, and it is no surprise that McGill-Queen's asked him to see this book through the press, with eminently qualified advice from Janine Carreau, Yseult Riopelle, and Ginette Michaud. That said, I must admit I haven't always agreed with everything my friend François-Marc wrote, and the same applies to some passages in this book. full text
Ray Ellenwood (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Nonaligned Modernism: Socialist Postcolonial Aesthetics in Yugoslavia, 1945–1985
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019
320 pp. 60 b&w illus.
$39.95 (paper) ISBN 9780773559462
Postwar Yugoslavia occupied a singular position within the geopolitics of the Cold War: it was a socialist country that lay outside Moscow’s orbit while having access to both Cold War camps, and it was the sole European member of the Nonaligned Movement (NAM), which was mostly comprised of countries from the Global South. The bold decision by Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito to break with Stalin and to gradually embrace nonalignment as a guiding principle for Yugoslavia’s foreign policy paid off: a country at risk of marginalization within either Cold War bloc succeeded in assuming a position of leadership within a broad association of countries. Bojana Videkanić’s art history of postwar Yugoslavia, Nonaligned Modernism, seeks to perform a similar move: by stressing Yugoslavia’s fundamental difference from both Soviet and Western models of artistic production, it argues for the country’s central place within the burgeoning art historical field of “global modernism,” which seeks to rid the study of twentieth-century art of its longstanding North Atlantic bias. full text
Nikolas Drosos (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Jacquelyn N. Coutré, with Piet Bakker, Janet M. Brooke, and Stephanie S. Dickey
Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges
Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 2019
359 pp. colour illus.
$30.00 (paper) ISBN 9781553394198
2019 was the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn’s death in 1669. Known to specialists and aficionados as “Rembrandt Years” (Rembrandt-jaaren), major anniversaries of the Dutch artist’s birth and death dates have become causes for scholarly and curatorial celebrations. For 2019, the Rijksmuseum showed All the Rembrandts of the Rijksmuseum and collaborated with Madrid’s Museo del Prado for the much-anticipated Rembrandt – Velázquez. Dozens of other museums, including Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, and the Lakenhal in Rembrandt’s birthplace of Leiden marked the anniversary with new exhibitions, installations, and programs. In Canada, The Agnes Etherington Art Centre contributed Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt emerges, curated by Dr. Jacquelyn N. Coutré, then Bader Curator and Researcher of European Art (she is now a curator at the Art Institute of Chicago). full text
Nicole Elizabeth Cook (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Italian Modern Art in the Age of Fascism
New York: Routledge, 2020
206pp. 8 colour, 51 b/w illus.
$160.00US (hardback) ISBN 9780367196271
$44.05US (eBook) ISBN 9780429203541
Anthony White’s Italian Modern Art in the Age of Fascism examines works of modern art produced in Italy in the time of Benito Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship. Mussolini was Duce of Italian fascism from 1919 until 1945 and leader of all Italy from 1922 to 1943. White consciously rejects offering a comprehensive overview of Italian modern art for this period, suggesting that panoramas render any accompanying analysis superficial. Rather, he structures his study around in-depth readings of the careers of three artists: Fortunato Depero, Scipione (Gino Bonichi), and Mario Radice. These artists were chosen for what they reveal about the varied and fluctuating relation between modern art and Italian fascism. The chapter on Depero covers works created during Mussolini’s rise to power, that on Scipione explores art produced as the dictator consolidated his grip on government, while the final chapter on Radice begins with works made between 1935 and 1936 and extends to the postwar period. full text
Nicholas Chare (RACAR 46.1 2021)
Rosemary Shipton, ed.
Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons
Ottawa; Stuttgart: National Gallery of Canada; Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 2019
296 pp. 290 colour illus., 20 b&w
$40.00 (hardcover) ISBN 9783897905474
This publication accompanied the first major travelling show of Canadian Impressionism in Europe, which opened at the Kunsthalle München in Germany and went on to the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Laussane, Switzerland and the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France before returning to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in early 2021. Translated into French and German, the publication serves as both exhibition catalogue and stand-alone book. full text
Alena Buis (RACAR 46.1 2021)
The Bomb in the Wilderness: Photography and the Nuclear Era in Canada
Vancouver: UBC Press, 2020
244 pp. 124 photos, 20 in colour
$32.95 (paperback) ISBN 9780774863889
Claudette Lauzon and John O'Brian, eds.
Through Post-Atomic Eyes
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2020
496 pp. 158 colour photos, 3 maps
$49.95 (cloth) ISBN 9780228001393
On Valentine’s Day, 1950, a US Air Force B-36 bomber en route to Alaska carrying a Mark IV bomb experienced engine failure while flying over British Columbia. The bomb, similar to the one dropped on Nagasaki (though without its plutonium core), detonated in mid-air above the Queen Charlotte Islands. It was the world’s first “Broken Arrow” incident—the loss or explosion of a nuclear weapon that doesn’t result in war. With 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives and 88 pounds of natural uranium casing, the explosion led to radioactive fallout across the region. Five of the seventeen crew members were killed. The wreckage of the aircraft was not recovered until 1953 and the fact that it carried an atomic bomb was not made public until 1977. Unlike most atomic bombings, this unnamed incident was not photographed and thus did not enter into the realm of visibility. Without a visual record, it became a “footnote in nuclear history.”
This story appears on page 151 of The Bomb in the Wilderness by John O’Brian, and it aptly exemplifies his interest in the constitutive role that photography plays in constructing the public memory of atomic culture. Using Canada as a case study, the monograph develops a striking insight first advanced in O’Brian’s Camera Atomica (2015): that atomic culture is inextricably linked to the visual. full text
Siobhan Angus (RACAR 46.1 2021)
How to Make Art at the End of the World: A Manifesto for Research-Creation Durham: Duke University Press, 2019
176 pp., 12 b/w illus.
$23.95 (paper) ISBN 9781478004028
In this succinct book, Natalie Loveless explores the claim that art-making practices are well situated to challenge and change existing knowledge-making practices in the contemporary research university. As the title suggests, Loveless mobilizes her own interests and affections to respond to the “end of the world”: the looming environmental calamity of “petrocultural colonial capitalism” (99). These interests include Thomas King’s championing of Indigenous storytelling, Donna Haraway’s communal ethics of the non-human, and Jacques Lacan’s linguistic psychoanalysis. Exploring provocative links between the crafting of research questions, stories, and ethics, Loveless thickens the theory of how art-based research-creation can mobilize “the project of re-thinking interdisciplinary practice and politics in the North American University today” (6). full text
David Theodore (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Emma Hamilton and Late Eighteenth-Century European Art: Agency, Performance, and Representation
New York and London: Routledge, 2018
186 pp. 14 colour & 70 b/w illus.
$29.59 (paper) ISBN 9780367516062
$124.00 (hardcover) ISBN 9780815374237
$46.36 (epub) ISBN 9781351187916
In the history of European art and literature there is hardly a more paradigmatic example of the “problem” of the “woman artist” than Emma Hamilton (1765–1815), a fact indicated by the changes in her name over the course of her relatively short lifetime. In the European tradition, the artist was always understood to be male; the “woman artist” was a marked term and understood to be constructed differently in the discourse. In the Introduction, Contogouris makes something of the “difficulty” of Hamilton’s names and resolves to call her “Emma.” However, the very lability of the names of female artists may be said to signify the instability of the figure of the “woman artist” in culture. In the case of Emma Hamilton, and many others in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the name also signifies the precarity of the existence of the life of the individual female in a society where women were dependent on men and the institution of marriage for economic security and social standing. Thus, while the singular artist may indeed be a distinctive cultural figure from the early modern period to the present—one who, over the course of these eras, increasingly defines the meaning of art, the authority of its institutions and the power of its market—the figure of the “woman artist” and individual female artists de-stabilize these aspects of culture and society. Feminist art historians have generally agreed that the earliest historical example of such destabilization occurs in the historiography of the seventeenth-century Italian artist Artemesia Gentileschi (1593– ca. 1656). full text
Catherine M. Soussloff (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Rachel Epp Buller et Charles Reeve (dir.)
Inappropriate Bodies: Art, Design, and Maternity
Bradford, Demeter Press, 2019
39, 95$ ISBN 9781772582093
Publié en 2019 chez Demeter Press, une maison d’édition féministe indépendante basée en Ontario se spécialisant dans les ouvrages consacrés à la maternité, le recueil Innapropriate Bodies: Art, Design and Maternity s’inscrit dans une foule de publications et d’expositions récentes offrant des réflexions sur les intersections entre le monde des arts et la maternité. Effectivement, dans les dernières années, des ouvrages tels que Feminist Art and the Maternal (2009) d’Andrea Liss, The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art (2011) de Myrel Chernick et Jennie Klein et Maternal Bodies in the Visual Arts (2014) de Rosemary Betterton, ainsi que des expositions dont Mutter en 2010, à Graz en Autriche, et New Maternalisms (2012-2016) organisée par Natalie Loveless, enfin, des regroupements d’artistes comme Cultural ReProducers, Invisible Spaces of Parenthood et Enemies Good Art, dont il est question dans ce recueil, ont exploré la maternité et sa représentation en art contemporain. Cet intérêt récent porté sur la question de la maternité peut s’expliquer par la place de plus en plus importante que prennent les femmes dans le champ des arts. Héritières, et parfois même filles, des féministes ayant mené les premières batailles de front pour obtenir une place dans le monde des arts, certaines artistes d’aujourd’hui poursuivent le combat en mettant le corps maternel au premier plan. suite
Kim Rondeau (RACAR 45.2 202)
Everything is Relevant: Writings on Art and Life, 1991–2018
Montreal: Concordia University Press, 2020
320 pp. 48 b/w and 12 colour illus.
$54.95 (paper) ISBN 9781988111001
I’ll admit that I used to not get Ken Lum. Compared to the other well-known artists of his generation whose work often contained statements and phrases, the “captions” in Lum’s Portrait-Repeated Text diptychs lacked the high moral seriousness of Edgar Heap of Birds, the didactic truth to power of Jenny Holzer, the conceptual reflexivity of Glenn Ligon, or the impossibly poetic poignancy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. I now recognize that what eluded me in those texts was just as valuable a contribution to the art of multiculturalism and the culture wars as the work of his contemporaries—and furthermore, that their elusiveness was part of the point. They evince what poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong, building on the affect theory of Sianne Ngai, has recently named “minor feelings”: the registering of microaggressive harm. Lum lays this out in one of the earliest texts in Everything is Relevant, “Between Art and Fact” (1995), explaining that the caption to the interracial interaction depicted in his 1993 diptych Don’t Be Silly, You’re Not Ugly should be read as an involuntary tic, akin to what literary critics like to call glossolalia. full text
Godfre Leung (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Herbert L. Kessler and Richard G. Newhauser, eds., with the assistance of Arthur J. Russel
Optics, Ethics, and Art in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: Looking into Peter of Limoges’s Moral Treatise on the Eye
Studies and Texts 209; Text Image Context: Studies in Medieval Manuscript Illumination 5
Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2018
226 pp., 49 colour and b/w illus.
$95.00 (cloth) ISBN 9780888442093
This volume of nine essays edited by Herbert L. Kessler and Richard G. Newhauser examines the relationships between the study of optics, theology, and the visual arts through analyses by historians of religion, science, literature, and art. This important volume emerged from a symposium on “Science, Ethics, and the Transformations of Art in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries” held at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, on September 28, 2013. It is dedicated to Samuel Y. Edgerton, whose studies of linear perspective in the Renaissance contributed to our general understanding that the studies of ancient and Arabic optical theories transformed the pictorial space of Western art at the turn of the thirteenth century and that Giotto can be credited with the first step towards such transformation. However, the volume provides a more complex view of the impact of new science on the visual arts through its study of Peter of Limoges’s Moral Treatise on the Eye, which has recently been made widely accessible thanks to the English translation by Newhauser (2012). full text
Kayoko Ichikawa (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Into the White: The Renaissance Arctic and the End of the Image
Brooklyn: Zone Books, 2019
256 pp. 69 b/w illus.
$32.95 (cloth) ISBN 9781942130147
“I am going to seek a Great Perhaps,” wrote Francois Rabelais to a correspondent who inquired after his health, a phrase that summed up his attitude to death but also reflected the navigational impulse of the Renaissance age. In Into the White: The Renaissance Arctic and the End of the Image, Christopher Heuer probes the Arctic as site of that gargantuan perhaps. In the knowable world of the Renaissance, limned by the syncretic optimism of humanism and the urge to merge all things into a single, rational, intelligible God-like emanation, the Arctic was a great Erewhon, a vast materiality signifying nothing. This is an important and ground-breaking book. Heuer is the first to offer an art historical analysis of early modern Arctic representation, which has previously existed only as a subcategory of the history of European colonization, and the book is richly illustrated, providing a valuable compendium of original graphic and early print sources. The illustrations inform Heuer’s thoughtful probing of early modern theories of representation and his reflections on the many contingent agencies of images as travelers through time and space. full text
Sally Hickson (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Ariane Varela Braga
Une théorie universelle au milieu du XIXe siècle. La Grammar of Ornament d’Owen Jones
Rome, Campisano Editore, 2017
278 p., 45 ill. en noir, 83 pl. en coul.
40 € (papier) ISBN 9788898229789
Ariane Varela Braga a livré en 2017 un ambitieux ouvrage, issu de sa thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2013 à l’Université de Neuchâtel, sous la direction du professeur Pascal Griener, qui donne, dans une contextualisation stimulante, une lecture renouvelée de la Grammar of Ornament (1856), l’ouvrage majeur de l’architecte et spécialiste d’arts appliqués londonien Owen Jones (1809–1874). La publication personnelle de cette chercheuse prometteuse fait suite à l’édition des actes de trois colloques : Ornamento, tra arte e design: interpretazioni, percorsi, e mutazioni nell’Ottocento (Bâle, 2013), Splendor marmoris. I colori del marmo, tra Roma e l’Europa, da Paolo III a Napoleone III (Rome, 2016), co-édité avec Grégoire Extermann, et The Myth of the Orient. Architecture and Ornament in the Age of Orientalism, co-édité avec Francine Giese (Berne, 2017). suite
Leïla el-Wakil (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Incorporating Culture: How Indigenous People are Reshaping the Northwest Coast Art Industry
Vancouver and Toronto: UBC Press, 2018
240 pp. 7 b/w photographs
$90.00 (hardcover) ISBN 9780774837385
$32.95 (paperback) ISBN 9780774837392
$32.95 (epub) ISBN 9780774837415
Incorporating Culture: How Indigenous People are Reshaping the Northwest Coast Art Industry takes a fresh look at Northwest Coast art through the exploration of economic, legal, and social issues. This is an innovative approach, although there have been books on the conventional potlatch economy and the development of the capitalist souvenir industry in the Northwest Coast, as exemplified by Kate Duncan’s landmark text 1001 Curious Things: Ye Olde Curiosity Shop and Native American Art (2001) and later work such as Daina Augaitis, Jim Hart, and Robin K. Wright’s Charles Edenshaw (2013) and Ronald W. Hawker’s Yakuglas’ Legacy: The Art and Time of Charlie James (2016). Roth's book forges a new path, however, as she pieces together a complex picture of how these ecologies intersect in the twenty-first century with issues of authenticity, appropriation, globalization, contracts, and identity. full text
Carolyn Butler-Palmer (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Diversity Counts: Gender, Race and Representation in Canadian Art Galleries
Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019
242 pp. 7 b&w photos, 26 figures, 2 tables
$34.95 (paper) ISBN 9780773556737
In February 2018, controversy erupted at one of Canada’s oldest artist-run centers (ARCs), Open Space, when its former Aboriginal Curator, France Trépanier, issued an open letter announcing her resignation, effective immediately. Trépanier applauded the gallery’s journey towards decolonization, starting in 2011, when Open Space began working with the Canada Council for the Arts’ Aboriginal-Curator-in-Residence Program toward establishing a permanent Aboriginal Curatorial appointment. However, the position had recently been dissolved, an action Trépanier attributed to systemic failures at Open Space. First, there was the hiring process for a new Executive Director in 2017: no Black or Indigenous candidates or applicants of colour were considered. Then, the new appointee, Kegan McFadden, decided Canada is “now a ‘post-racial society,’” thus, “a curator position explicitly labelled ‘Indigenous’ or ‘Aboriginal’” was no longer needed. Subsequently, Trépanier’s attempts to constructively dialogue with McFadden and the board of Open Space were met with obfuscation. The open letter precipitated sweeping institutional changes under the leadership of an ethnically diverse interim board. On March 13, 2018, they announced the reinstatement of an Aboriginal Curator and a new Executive Director was appointed in June. Open Space was recommitting itself to inclusivity and decolonization, both institutionally and curatorially. full text
Allan Antliff (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Francesco Garutti, dir.
Nos jours heureux : architecture et bien-être à l’ère du capitalisme émotionnel
Montréal et Berlin, Centre canadien d’architecture et Sternberg Press, 2019
328 p., illustrations en couleur
40 $ (papier) ISBN 9783956795022
Aussi publié en anglais sous le titre Our Happy Life: Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism, ISBN 9783956794865
Depuis l’arrivée en 2005 de Mirko Zardini à la direction du Centre canadien d’architecture et de Giovanna Borasi comme conservatrice de l’architecture contemporaine (et directrice depuis le départ de Zardini en 2019), l’institution a présenté une série d’expositions sur la relation entre l’environnement bâti et les questions politiques et sociales, dont En imparfaite santé : la médicalisation de l’architecture (2011–2012), Trajets : comment la mobilité des fruits, des idées et des architectures recompose notre environnement (2010–2011), Actions : comment s’approprier la ville (2008–2009) et Sensations urbaines : une approche différente à l’urbanisme (2005–2006), toutes organisées par Zardini ou Borasi. Avec Nos jours heureux : architecture et bien-être à l’ère du capitalisme émotionnel, catalogue d’une exposition organisée en 2019, le commissaire Francesco Garutti continue cette exploration en s’intéressant à l’utilisation du bonheur comme critère pour évaluer les sociétés et, par extension, la production de ces sociétés, dont l’architecture et la ville. Plus de dix ans après la crise économique de 2008, Nos jours heureux en est en grande partie le résultat, comme le note Garutti en soulignant l’émergence dans la dernière décennie d’un « nombre impressionnant de listes d’indicateurs de bien-être, d’indices de bonheur et autres classifications du bien-être dit psychophysique commandés et produits par des institutions tant privées que publiques [ayant] transformé la palette d’outils dont disposent les décideurs pour planifier et façonner la ville » (p. 30). Pour le commissaire, ces indices, tels l’économie, la longévité ou l’alphabétisation, qui représentent un nouveau système de valeurs ayant pris le dessus sur les critères précédents, permettent de mesurer le progrès des sociétés en réaction à une crise tant économique qu’idéologique. Garutti et ses collaborateurs s’appuient sur une présentation parfois étourdissante de ces multiples indices plutôt que de définir de façon claire le concept de bonheur ou les façons de le quantifier, en semblant prendre pour acquis que les visiteurs et lecteurs ont une définition personnelle du bien-être et de la qualité de vie, mais aussi que cette diversité de visions de ce qu’est le bonheur représente en soi un matériau riche pour la réflexion. suite
Olivier Vallerand (RACAR 45.2 2020)
John Potvin and Marie-Ève Marchand, eds.
Design and Agency: Critical Perspectives on Identities, Histories, and Practices
London and New York: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020
328 pp. 40 b/w illus.
$115.00 (hardcover) ISBN 9781350063792
Agency, as David Fortin points out in his contribution to John Potvin and Marie-Ève Marchand’s new book Design and Agency: Critical Perspectives on Identities, Histories, and Practices, is a deeply complex and troubled concept. While we have become used to thinking, for example, of a socially engaged actor in contemporary society as having agency, as having the ability to effect change, the very organizations that these actors struggle against are also, literally, agencies, acting on behalf of power. Agency can be explicit or implicit, hidden or overt, recognized or denied, conscious or not. One can have and apply agency intentionally, unintentionally, or, indeed, against one’s will. One need not even have will: a consciousness is not required in order to exert agency (think, for example, of a catalytic agent in chemistry). Agency always implies a remove, an action at a distance, as one is an agent for someone or something else, something other than that which is doing the acting. Agency as a result creates chains and networks, with any particular moment of agency devolved immediately into multiple connective agencies. Agency always raises questions of privilege: what actors are allowed agency, and to whom is it denied? full text
Colin Ripley (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Unplanned Visitors: Queering the Ethics and Aesthetics of Domestic Space
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020
264 pp. 82 photos.
$34.95 (paper) ISBN 9780228001850
Oliver Vallerand’s Unplanned Visitors sets out to investigate how various creative producers, architects, and historians have engaged with the issues and relationships between “gender, sexuality, and the built environment” (3) within a relatively short period of time, from the 1990s to the present. At the heart of the project is an uncompromising focus on queer space and how historians, theorists, and cultural producers have attempted to define, challenge, or engender some, largely theoretical, form of queer space. Indeed, as Vallerand concludes, queer space is far too nebulous to provide a conclusive definition, given how queer is itself engaged in a never-ending process of redefinition, dismantling, and transformation. Nevertheless, the various case studies, critiques, and theories he explores throughout the book can provide a sustained alternative engagement with architecture and the built environment. What he aims to provide, as a result, is a theoretical and critical assessment of various projects that might be suggestive “for architectural practice, teaching, and histories, building towards a renewed design ethics” (9). In fact, four of the five chapters are full of unique and compelling case studies, largely from the United States, with some exceptions coming from Scandinavia. full text
John Potvin (RACAR 45.2 2020)
At Home: Talks with Canadian Artists about Place and Practice
Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2019
220 pp. 30 colour and 150 b/w illus.
$29.95 (paper) ISBN 9781773100470
$19.95 (epub) ISBN 9781773100494
Mark Wigley, ed.
Cutting Matta-Clark: The Anarchitecture Investigation
Zürich: Lars Müller Publications, 2018
528 pp. 813 illus.
35,00 € (paper) 9783037784273
Kitty Scott, ed.
Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum, exh. cat.
Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2018
236 pp. Colour illus.
$39.95 (paper) 9781894243933
At a confluence of site-specific and conventional studio practice, three recent publications address domestic and public urban landscapes, each taking this shared theme in diverging directions. Lezli Rubin-Kunda, author of At Home: Talks with Canadian Artists about Place and Practice, interviewed contemporary artists in Canada, writing on homes, place, and studios; Mark Wigley’s Cutting Matta-Clark: The Anarchitecture Investigation examines the Matta-Clark archive, investigating the artist’s sculptural practice of cutting buildings in relation to the notion of “anarchitecture,” collectively articulated by a group of artist-collaborators at a time when the Soho loft district was a magnet for artists interested in creating an urban ecology of self-built renovated studios; How to Build a House Museum, the catalogue for social practice and installation artist Theaster Gates’ 2016 exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, plays with multiple meanings of house, from house music to house as archive, museum, and legacy. These books explore common themes of studios, landscape, and public space, while presenting differing strategies for community building and reconsidering public art institutions—urgent issues in times of the pandemic. full text
Marie-Paule Macdonald (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Brian Carter, ed.
boundary, sequence, illusion: Ian MacDonald Architect
Halifax: Dalhousie Architectural Press, 2019
135 pp. colour illus.
$39.95 (paper) ISBN 9780929112725
In his architectural practice, Ian MacDonald has concentrated on designing houses with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame particularly fine vistas of each site’s natural landscape. boundary sequence illusion examines how his Toronto-based firm, Ian MacDonald Architect (IMA), situates the house within the property and organizes the interior layout to achieve this aim. The book is the first monograph on MacDonald and IMA. Like other books in Dalhousie Architectural Press’s Documents in Canadian Architecture series, it includes a generous number of illustrations to elucidate the architectural firm’s design processes. Like Hannah Jenkins and Avi Friedman’s Canadian Contemporary: The Northern Home (2018), boundary sequence illusion is a welcome addition to the literature on recent Canadian dwellings. The book not only seeks to position IMA’s designs within broader debates on contemporary residential architecture, but it also considers fundamental questions regarding how we experience the building’s interior. full text
Menno Hubregtse (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Sacred Ritual, Profane Space: The Roman House as Early Christian Meeting Place
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018
248 pp. 7 b/w illus.
$110.00 (cloth) ISBN 9780773553323
$34.95 (paper) ISBN 9780773553330
Drawing on an interdisciplinary framework, Jenn Cianca’s Sacred Ritual, Profane Space is concerned with how the (Roman) houses of the earliest Christians could accommodate their new cultic practices. Presuming that not everyone converted to Christianity at the same time, what attitudes did the concept of “pollution,” by earlier or continuing non-Christian rites, engender? The book attempts to build a theory of early Christian space by emphasizing the human agency in environments that encompassed cultural contradictions by housing monotheistic along with polytheistic rituals. full text
Evanthia Baboula (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Marco Faini and Alessia Meneghin, eds.
Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World
Leiden: Brill, 2018
356 pp. 56 colour illus. and 3 tables
$178.00 (paper) ISBN 9789004375888
Open access DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004375888
Marco Faini and Alessia Meneghin, editors of Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, have assembled a collection of sixteen essays that explore global iterations of private piety, connected through their European-derived early modern periodization between the years 1400 and 1800. The volume is part of the European Research Council-funded Domestic Devotions project, which produced a series of conferences, catalogues, edited books, and articles on early modern European domestic topics. full text
Angela Andersen and Can Gündüz (RACAR 45.2 2020)
Disharmony of the Spheres: The Europe of Holbein’s Ambassadors
University Park (Penn.), Penn State University Press, 2019
216 p. 19 ill. coul., 24 n/b
$ 99.95 (relié) ISBN 9780271083407
L’ultime friandise dans le magasin de bonbons qu’est (parfois) l’édition en histoire de l’art est la monographie consacrée à une seule œuvre. C’est un véritable miracle : prendre un rectangle de toile couvert de pigments – ou un morceau de marbre, ou une série de gestes performatifs, peu importe – et à partir de là, créer tout un monde; s’offrir le temps d’approfondir chaque détail, chaque circonstance, chaque incongruité; tenter, sans réel espoir bien sûr, d’épuiser le sens d’une proposition artistique – voilà qui est le summum de notre métier. Et lorsqu’il s’agit d’une œuvre, comme Les Ambassadeurs d’Holbein le jeune, sur laquelle tant a déjà été dit et écrit, le défi est encore plus grand : que faire d’une énième étude de cette peinture intrigante mais si canonique qu’elle a peut-être déjà été épuisée par les historiens de l’art, les historiens et même les psychanalystes qui l’ont regardée? suite
Itay Sapir (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Hinterland Remixed: Media, Memory, and the Canadian 1970s
Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019
264 pp. 15 b/w illus.
$29.95 (paper) ISBN 9780773558595
In January 1975, Maclean’s took a backward glance at the shift from the 1960s to the 1970s, proclaiming it a slip from “hoping to coping.” According to the magazine, any rebelliousness that may have existed in the previous decade had given way to a robotic generation who were apathetic when they were not concerned with conspiracy theories and the energy crisis. TV had become a way for people to tune in while dropping out of politics. Andrew Burke’s Hinterland Remixed: Media, Memory, and the Canadian 1970s complicates this sketch of a still ill-defined decade by offering a provocative look at this period through its media forms. Structured in five chapters with an introduction and coda bookending them, the text is broken into a set of case studies. The first three concentrate on material from the 1970s, while the last two examine ways material from the decade has been re-purposed and re-imagined by contemporary artists. Burke’s book offers an intriguing way into the decade, suggesting it has never come to a clean end.
Matthew Purvis (RACAR 45.1 2020)
The Politics of Painting: Fascism and Japanese Art during the Second World War Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2018
144 pp. 33 colour and 12 b/w illus.
$60.00 (hardcover) ISBN 9780824872120
Renowned modern painter and Japanese nationalist Uemura Shōen’s 1939 painting Sudden Blast (Kaze) pictures a woman wearing an elegant, bright blue kimono. Her body leans forward as she moves to the right of the frame. Slightly bowing her head, she protects her hair with her left hand while her right hand modestly gathers a part of her garment, revealing her footwear (geta). Though the painting does not depict the explicitly militaristic subject matter one might find in official War Campaign Record Paintings (Sensō sakusen kirokuga), its message is still political. Bijin-ga, or paintings of beautiful women, are a popular genre of Japanese art that can be traced back to the Nara period (710–784). In the early twentieth century, bijin-ga were criticized for upholding beauty standards and social expectations of women that no longer reflected their modern status. Many modern Japanese-style painters subverted this genre by depicting unconventional subject matter, such as working-class women or those with physical maladies. Shōen, in contrast, sought to reclaim the artistic legacy of bijin-ga as a method for re-articulating Japan’s traditional culture. full text
Victoria Nolte (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Susan Doyle, Jaleen Grove, and Whitney Sherman (eds.)
History of Illustration
London and New York: Fairchild Books/Bloomsbury Publishing Inc., 2019
592 pp. 950 colour illus.
$245.00 (hardcover) ISBN 9781501342110
$90.00 (paper) ISBN 9781501342103
Beautifully illustrated, with colour reproductions on every one of its 592 pages, History of Illustration is a welcome and impressive book, offering the reader an introduction to the global scope and breadth of the field. It sits comfortably with previous studies in the history of illustration, which have mostly appeared as inclusions in volumes concerned with the history of art or design. History of Illustration collects these approaches into one volume and extends them through its global reach. The history of illustration (and indeed other fields within the umbrella of visual culture) have traditionally been constructed by scholars from other fields.[i] Those interested have needed to weed their way through the few volumes dedicated to specific illustrators or genres (books for children, medical/fashion illustration, comics) as well as a few attempts at a comprehensive overviews such as Heller and Chwast’s Illustration: a visual history (2008) or Zeegans’ Fifty Years of Illustration (2014). Both make a good attempt at consolidating examples from the history of illustration. Here, the effort is much larger. full text
Sarah McLean Knapp (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Contemporary Sculpture and the Critique of Display Cultures: Tainted Goods
New York: Routledge, 2019
129 pp. 20 b/w illus.
$62.95 (hardcover) ISBN 9781138479623
$21.95 (paperback) ISBN 9780367516048
Contemporary Sculpture and the Critique of Display Cultures: Tainted Goods offers insights into the provisional nature of what once was characterized as assemblage art, but which today, a decade after the four key exhibitions Dan Adler discusses, has gained momentum as a prescient or reinvigorated genre. Divided into four chapters, with each focusing on a key exhibit from the first decade of the 21st century, the book examines Rachel Harrison’s exhibition Consider the Lobster at Bard College in 2009, Isa Genzken’s installation OIL at the Venice Biennale in 2007, Geoffrey Farmer at Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain in 2008, and Liz Magor’s exhibition The Mouth and Other Storage Facilities, presented by Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery in 2008. Adler examines the kernel of a practice that has become prevalent among artists who are drawn to recycling found objects or materials in ways that critique our consumerist ethos. Always rooted in the immersive experience of the exhibition space, Adler’s analyses articulate a language of resistance in which the subtext resonates with references to twentieth-century avant-garde practices in modern art and theatre. Returning often to favourite proponents such as Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett, Adler discovers in their versions of experimental or political theatre a basis for his own praxis, which effectively questions an art system that increasingly trumpets the blockbuster show. As a countermeasure, he weighs historical precedents such as Dada and Neo-Dada, finding in the return of assemblage art a genre distinctive from that “amorphous category” known as installation art. full text
Derek J.J. Knight (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Another World: Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Print Culture
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017
304 pp. 166 b/w illus.
$65.00 (Hardcover) ISBN: 9780300219067
Another World: Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Print Culture provides a survey of the popular printed image in its various forms in nineteenth-century Europe with a strong concentration on French material. Patricia Mainardi examines lithographic imagery, the emergence of the illustrated press, the early comic book, wood engraved book illustration, and Épinal imagery across five chapters. Another World is the first text to thoroughly synthesize previously fractured research on nineteenth-century popular print culture. She expands beyond conventional definitions of the popular print, which have been limited to the Épinal print and scrap sheet format. Rather, she puts this object into conversation with printed illustration writ large. Mainardi makes original research contributions, unearthing understudied and compelling examples of illustrated print culture and providing in-depth analyses of underexplored cases of each format she discusses. These contributions provide templates for the integration of illustrated print culture, still too often marginalized among studies of high art, into the canon of art history. full text
Kathryn Desplanque (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Mark Salber Phillips and Jordan Bear, eds.
What Was History Painting and What Is It Now?
Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019
311 pp. 74 colour illus.
$135 (cloth) ISBN 9780773558953
$44.95 (paper) ISBN 978077355860
In the European academic paradigm, history painting sat at the top of the hierarchy of genres, inextricably entwined with a rigid theory of conventions. In this position of undisputed sovereign authority, it became the ogre against which Modernism emerged. So the story goes. Mark Salber Phillips and Jordan Bear, with ten other scholars, offer case studies that destabilize this simple tale. They look at how history painting consistently did not correspond to the fixity of theory, and then see what of history painting has percolated, almost clandestinely, into Modernist and contemporary art. full text
Joan Coutu (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Giuliano de’ Medici: Machiavelli’s Prince in Life and Art
Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018
312 pp. 40 colour illus.
$49.95 (hardcover) ISBN 9780773553200
Loved and feared as one of the most powerful families in Renaissance Italy, the Medici were politically astute, well-connected, fabulously wealthy, and patrons of the most famous artists of their time, including Michelangelo and Raphael. Their patronage of the arts has received intense scrutiny by distinguished art historians, including Charles de Tolnay, Johannes Wilde, John Pope-Hennessey, John Shearman, William Wallace, and Gabrielle Langdon, to name just a few, and we feel we know their story well enough not to expect any dramatic new perspectives. Yet, in this fascinating study, Josephine Jungić shows us there is still much to discover. full text
Erin J. Campbell (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Plastic Capitalism: Contemporary Art and the Drive to Waste
Cambridge: MIT Press, 2019
264 pp. 81 colour and 5 b/w illus.
$34.95 (hardcover) ISBN 9780262039338
This beautifully illustrated but challenging book critically examines “the widespread trend to visualize waste in contemporary art” (2) as one that reveals the inescapable residues of fossil-fuel capitalism in the Anthropocene. Waste has become so pervasive that it takes on an aesthetic life and material agency of its own, albeit thoroughly entangled with other life forms, such that it now generates new assemblages, agencies, and animacies. Rather than attempt to restrict or combat this condition with utopian dreams of sustainability, the author suggests, “we” (7, 41, 54) ought to acknowledge and even embrace aspects of this capitalist excess in order to confront its implications more effectively and honestly. full text
Alan C. Braddock (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Natalie Loveless, ed.
New Maternalisms: Redux
Edmonton: University of Alberta, 2018
115 pp. Colour illus.
(PDF) ISBN 9780993849749
In Natalie Loveless’ edited anthology New Maternalisms: Redux, Loveless, a curator and scholar, defines the term “new maternalism” (which she coined in 2012) as the merger between the concepts of the maternal and contemporary feminist new materialism. The book itself is the child of a conference and an exhibition that took place at the University of Alberta’s Arts-Based Research Studio in May 2016, co-organized by Loveless and Sheena Wilson. Featuring the work of Lenka Clayton, Jess Dobkin, Alejandra Herrera, Courtney Kessel, and Jill Miller, the exhibition and the conference built on the projects exhibited in the two earlier iterations of New Maternalisms (Toronto, 2012; Santiago, 2014), though this book does not bring back every participant nor project. full text
Amber Berson (RACAR 45.1 2020)
Devastation and Laughter: Satire, Power, and Culture in the Early Soviet State, 1920-1930s
Toronto; London; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2018
288 pp. 10 colour and 62 b/w illus.
$82.00 (cloth) ISBN 9781487502430
With the 2017 centennial celebration of Bolshevik revolution, a flock of new studies dedicated to Soviet visual culture and propaganda have come to light, many of them accompanied by exhibitions (Revolution Every Day: A Calendar; Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932; Rouge). Among these, Annie Gérin’s book aims at a reevaluation of the place of laughter (smekh) in Russian culture in the 1920s and 1930s. Mainly envisioned as a weapon (oruzhie) in an ideological struggle, and as a tool (orudie) in the redaction of a new Socialist narrative, laughter is described in this study as a very serious affair, as a matter of state. For instance, some satirical posters of the Civil War bore warnings such as “anyone who tears down this poster or covers it up is performing a counter-revolutionary act” (50); a dominant and successful satirical journal like Krokodil (1922–2000) would regularly receive, between the 1920s and the 1950s, instructions from the Party’s Central Committee about its form as well as about its content. The very creation of Krokodil, established by a governmental decree, was directly aimed at “attack[ing] the enemies, internal, and external, of the Soviet Union” (185). In that respect, as the author astutely remarks, Soviet state-sponsored satire appears as a paradoxical object, since satire, as a counter-power and as means of opposition, usually targets an established power. full text
Ada Ackerman (RACAR 45.1 2020)
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)