All posts filed under: Reviews

My East Is Your West

Review by Sophie Knezic, University of Melbourne. Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana, My East Is Your West. 56th Venice Biennale. May 5 – October 31, 2015. A satellite exhibition of the 56th Venice Biennale, My East is Your West was presented at the Palazzo Benzon, whose interior architecture of adjoining rooms, narrow corridors and cordoned-off, dimly-lit spaces suggested a mise […]

Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone

Reviewed by Kristin Flade, Free University Berlin Hochberg, Gil Z. Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015. Paperback. 224 pp. “There is, in other words, no war without the spectacle of war.” In Visual Occupations, Gil Hochberg, Professor for Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at UCLA, sets out […]

Framing the Audience: Art and the Politics of Culture in the United States, 1929-1945

Reviewed by Elizabeth Eikmann, Saint Louis University Isadora Helfgott. Framing the Audience: Art and the Politics of Culture in the United States, 1929-1945. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015. 326 pages. 21 color plates. The culture wars of the years surrounding the 1930s are known for the many and well-fought domestic battles over high art, popular culture, […]

Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image

Reviewed by Najmeh Moradiyan Rizi, University of Kansas Laura U. Marks. Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015. Hardcover. 416 pp. In recent decades Arab independent and experimental filmmakers have presented the world with some of the most distinctive artistic works through their various cinematic practices. The scholarly and close […]

Migraciones (en el) arte contemporaneo / Migrations (in) Contemporary Art

Exhibition review by Caroline “Olivia” Wolf, Rice University “Migraciones (en el) arte contemporaneo / Migrations (in) Contemporary Art.” Centro de Arte Contemporáneo. Museo de la Universidad Nacional Tres de Febrero (MUNTREF), Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Hotel de Inmigrantes. October 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015. Currently online as a virtual exhibition. A recent exhibit organized in the heart of Buenos Aires, […]

Mike Kelley: Educational Complex

Reviewed by Kirin Wachter-Grene, New York University Miller, John. Mike Kelley: Educational Complex. London: Afterall Books, 2015. Paperback. 124 pp. John Miller’s monograph Mike Kelley: Educational Complex is part of the Afterall Books One Work series, which claims, “a single work of art can literally transform, however modestly, the way we look at and understand the world.” Indeed, […]

The Intervals of Cinema

Reviewed by Zachary Tavlin, University of Washington Jacques Ranciére. The Intervals of Cinema. Translated by John Howe. London and New York: Verso Books, 2014, 154 pp. Jacques Ranciére’s The Intervals of Cinema, a loose collection of essays on film and filmmakers ranging from Hitchcock to Costa, opens with an excellent preface in which Ranciére writes […]

The New Prophets of Capital

Reviewed by Lyle Jeremy Rubin Nicole Aschoff. The New Prophets of Capital. New York: Verso. 2015. Paperback. 160 pp. The only thing more treacherous than a satanic minion is a false idol. For radical critics of society, the latter functions as a craftier version of the former. While the social Darwinist on Wall Street isn’t doing […]

Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience

Reviewed by Ryan Watson W.J.T. Mitchell, Bernard Harcourt, and Michael Taussig. Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2013. Paperback. 152 pp. How does one properly theorize and historicize a movement like Occupy that is inherently shape-shifting, leaderless, intimately tied to specific contexts and places, and still evolving? In Occupy: Three Inquiries […]

Pay for Your Pleasures

Reviewed by Kirin Wachter-Grene Cary Levine. Pay For Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2013. Hardcover. 211 pp. Cary Levine’s first book, Pay For Your Pleasures: Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, uses three of America’s most transgressive artists to reconsider the concept of “transgressive” art. The first book […]

Building Zion

Reviewed by Dai Newman Thomas Carter. Building Zion: The Material World of Mormon Settlement. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 408pp. The standard narrative of the settling of the Great Basin by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asserts that the Mormons moved west to craft a radically different society. Polygamy, […]

Radio Benjamin

Radio Benjamin

Reviewed By Anna-Verena Nosthoff Walter Benjamin. Radio Benjamin. Edited by Lecia Rosenthal. Translated by Jonathan Lutes with Lisa Harries Schumann and Diana K. Reese. London and New York: Verso Books, 2014, 424 pp. In view of the overwhelming popularity of Benjamin’s theoretical writings on the artwork, technology, and cultural-political change, it is curious that so little […]

Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art

Reviewed By Amanda DuPreez Jennifer Doyle. Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. 243 pages. How can we respond to artworks that make us downright uncomfortable? What kind of thinking allows viewers to make sense of art that comes in the form of emotionally challenging physical encounters? How […]

What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation

Nicola Mann Tom Finkelpearl, What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2013. 388 pages. “Placing quotation marks around the everyday to both appreciate and critique it” is how critic Jon Davis describes the practice of interdisciplinary artist, Harrell Fletcher. Introduced halfway through What We Made: Conversations on […]

A Box of Photographs

David Staton Roger Grenier. A Box of Photographs. Translated by Alice Kaplan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 109 pp. In this slender volume, writer Roger Grenier shares a life well lived, rich in memories, friendship, and historical touchstones. The 95-year-old Man of Letters offers A Box of Photographs as recollection and examination of histories personal, global, and […]

FARM:shop

Issue 20: Ecologies (Spring 2014) Andrew Bieler FARM:shop. Something & Son. Curated and designed by Andrew Merritt, Paul Smyth and Sam Henderson. 20 Dalston Lane, East London, UK. October 2010 – Present. FARM:shop responds to urgent challenges of global food security by experimentally redesigning the vernacular architecture of an East London storefront to accommodate urban farming systems and […]

Systems We Have Loved

Issue 20: Ecologies (Spring 2014) Becky Bivens Eve Meltzer. Systems We Have Loved: Conceptual Art, Affect, and the Antihumanist Turn. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 246 Pages. Pretend we are driving together. You are at the wheel while I direct you from the passenger seat. “Turn,” I say. “Which way?” you might respond. The […]

Red Sky at Night

Issue 20: Ecologies (Spring 2014) Daniella E. Sanader Red Sky at Night, curated by Sarah Robayo Sheridan. Mercer Union, Toronto. 15 June 2012 to 29 July 2012. There is nothing like city air in the summer to remind one of how complex and heterogeneous our lived atmosphere truly is. Any inward breath can carry a […]

Corn Palaces and Butter Queens: A History of Crop Art and Dairy Sculpture

Reviewed by Jennifer Rachel Dutch, York College, York, NE Pamela H. Simpson. Corn Palaces and Butter Queens: A History of Crop Art and Dairy Sculpture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 248 Pages. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries, local State Fairs and the great World’s Exhibitions tantalized eager visitors with stunning displays of […]

Peoples on Parade

Reviewed by Radhika Natrajan, University of California, Berkeley Sadiah Qureshi. Peoples on Parade: Exhibitions, Empire, and Anthropology in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. 392 pages.   Sadiah Qureshi’s Peoples on Parade: Exhibitions, Empire, and Anthropology in Nineteenth-Century Britain presents an empirical challenge to more theoretically-oriented studies of Victorian exhibitionary practices. Surveying a century of […]

Alien Phenomenology

Reviewed by Sandy Alexandre, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ian Bogost. Alien Phenomenology: Or What it’s Like to Be a Thing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 168 pages. What does it mean to ruminate on and indeed end up insisting upon the limitations of human understanding, particularly with respect to what turns out to be the human impossibility […]

The Affect Theory Reader

Reviewed By Brent Strang, SUNY Stony Brook Melissa Gregg & Gregory J. Seigworth, eds. The Affect Theory Reader. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2010. 402 pages. Two decades after the affective turn, critical theory’s incorporation of emotion and the body’s materiality has become something of an imperative. Lawrence Grossberg, who is interviewed by Gregg and Seigworth […]

How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis

Reviewed by Christoph Raetzsch, Graduate School of North American Studies, Berlin Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. 280 pages. Since the 1970s, N. Katherine Hayles has been exploring the zones of contact between the cultural formations of technology and the technological basis of culture, […]

The Right to Look

Reviewed by Sara Blaylock, University of California, Santa Cruz Nicholas Mirzoeff. The Right to Look. A Counterhistory of Visuality. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2011. 386 pp. Passionate and vigorous, Nicholas Mirzoeff’s The Right to Look proposes a novel critique of modernity. Linking the plantation to imperialism to today’s military-industrial complex, the author examines […]

Touching Photographs

Reviewed by River J. Bullock, University of Wisconsin-Madison Olin, Margaret. Touching Photographs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. 288 pages. Moving beyond visual analysis and materiality of photographic objects, Margaret Olin crafts a series of essays that traverse the intersubjectivities and interactivity of the tactile looking they spur.  Composed in six chapters, Touching Photographs contributes to […]

A Paradise Built in Hell & Destroy This Memory

Reviewed by James Johnson, University of Rochester Rebecca Solnit. A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disasters. New York: Viking, 2010. 353 Pages. Richard Misrach. Destroy This Memory. New York: Aperture, 2010. 140 Pages. In an obscure academic essay originally written in the late 1960’s, philosopher Donald Davidson observes “it is […]