Book Reviews

The Mind Is a Collection: Case Studies in Eighteenth-Century Thought

Reviewed by Katy Barrett

The Mind Is a Collection adopts as its premise the notion that metaphors must be taken seriously.

Symbols of Power: Luxury Textiles from Islamic Lands, 7th–21st Century

Reviewed by Amanda Phillips

Symbols of Power provides experts and enthusiasts with a gorgeous volume that at once celebrates, describes, and analyzes some of the most sumptuous examples of art from the old world. 

From Minor to Major: The Minor Arts in Medieval Art History

Reviewed by Kerry Boeye

What do the types of objects once dubbed minor offer ongoing discussions of the material turn? 

The Luminous and the Grey

Reviewed by Jo Applin

Grey is the color of losers, not winners. It is dull, pessimistic, and uninteresting (in fact it is barely a color, and it is more often described as a tone or shade).

Koloman Moser: Designing Modern Vienna 1897–1907

Reviewed by Christopher Long

A question—certainly the question—about Moser remains: to what extent was he responsible for forging the new language of purified form that would become synonymous with the early Viennese Moderne

Please Come to the Show

Reviewed by Kim Dhillon

Reviewing the material in Please Come to the Show one cannot help but wonder: how do museums archive such stuff now? Instead of desks cluttered with announcements, we have e-mail in-boxes littered with e-flyers.

Les arts de l’Islam au Musée du Louvre

Reviewed by Anthony Cutler

The essays in Les arts de l’Islam often integrate architectural decoration into the narrative, as against those American catalogues in which buildings are shunted off to the ghettos of separate chapters written by separate hands. 

Treasuring the Gaze: Intimate Vision in Late Eighteenth-Century Eye Miniatures / Women and the Material Culture of Death

Reviewed by Freya Gowrley

Since the publication of Arjun Appadurai’s seminal collection The Social Life of Things in 1986, it is fair to say that the field of material culture has been preoccupied with the idea that “commodities, like persons, have social lives” 

Book Reviews

If you are interested in reviewing a book for West 86th, please contact us. Guidelines for Contributors can be found here.


For a list of books reviewed in the print edition, please see West 86th in Print.


Follow us on twitter or facebook.