Review

Instrumental versus ideal art

Art for art’s sake, or for the sake of socioeconomic benefits? Two writers reach very different conclusions

Very varied, inquisitive, lively and wide-ranging

On the eve of his 100th birthday, James Ackerman shows no signs of slowing down in this collection of essays

A proposal on attribution: Jonathan Brown on Velázquez portraits at the Metropolitan

The art historian suggests that Velázquez's former slave may have painted two works in the show

A hard act to follow: on Caravaggio's followers

A group of books looks at the artists Caravaggio influenced—more or less

Cosmic collectors: how the Guggenheim family came into its art

An exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York looks at how the collection was shaped

Influential then, forgotten since, remembered again: on Nino Costa

The influential “Etruscan” painter and Risorgimento patriot deserves our recognition

Wrong in the right way: Kenneth Goldsmith on why Picabia’s false Modernism feels so true

The French avant-garde artist’s work was prescient about our era of “post-truth” politics and culture

The Howards under scrutiny

Science is the key to the story of the 16th-century aristocratic tombs in a Suffolk parish church

Magic metal

Medieval notions of bronze as a living, divine substance

A bridge to something better: on artist-run galleries in mid-century New York

A show at the Grey Gallery looks at a time when artists could afford to run their own spaces

What a vivid imagination: on Sergei Eisenstein's erotic work

A group of "sex drawings" by the Soviet filmmaker are on show in New York

What they do and how they do it: why museums matter

A new books makes a passionate argument for museums

A translator from east to west: Kenneth Baker on John McLaughlin in Los Angeles

A survey of the painter’s work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art reveals his affinities for Asian cultures

Life is changed, not ended: how the Medieval English dealt with death

Not everyone could afford their own mortuary churches or chapels

Credence and credulity: on Islamic art and the supernatural

This small book is ground-breaking, bringing to light Islamic beliefs and superstitions

Shine a light: ICA Boston examines ten years of collecting

By turns successful and unsuccessful, the show presents a retrospective of the museum

A bright spot in an otherwise darkened Egypt

Mohamed Abla's show of new works in Cairo is on amid a moment of prolonged political agony in the country

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Blockbuster on a manageable scale: on Richard Dorment

A farewell collection of reviews by the American-born, British art critic

A uniquely powerful force: Kenneth Baker on Bruce Conner at SFMoMA

The critic examines a bracing and brilliant survey of the artist's work

The radiant future that never came: on Communist art from the 1930s to today

A show at Galerie St. Etienne in New York looks at how left-wing politics once animated culture—and how they no longer do

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Glocal dynamics versus the R-word

Roman art shared a common visual repertory throughout the Empire, but there were significant variations in local styles

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Tracey the Tory: on the YBAs

A new history of Britart is long on anecdote but short on critical insight

Many strategies for survival: Barbara Rose on painting after Postmodernism

Rumors of the death of painting have been greatly exaggerated

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The archaic torso lesson

Rainer Maria Rilke’s apprenticeship under Auguste Rodin