Book Reviews

The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation, and Application of Dyes and Pigments, 1400–1800

Reviewed by Pamela H. Smith

Thinking about the meanings attached to color in different places and times has become second nature, but thinking about the materiality of color can seem more problematic.

Ernst L. Freud, Architect: The Case of the Modern Bourgeois Home

Reviewed by Xiangnan Xiong

Freud’s domestic works affirmed traditional bourgeois lifestyle while incorporating features from a progressive vision of modern life.

The Power of Things and the Flow of Cultural Transformations / Islamic Artefacts in the Mediterranean World

Reviewed by Alicia Walker

A crucial turn in art history and other disciplines concerned with the study of “artefacts” and “things”.

Adolf Loos: A Private Portrait

Reviewed by Christopher Long

When Claire Beck married Adolf Loos in the summer of 1929, he was nearly 60 and in fading health. She was 24. The marriage was a disaster.

The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945–1976

Reviewed by Margaret Maile Petty

In this much-needed recent work, John Harwood examines the history of one corporation’s sustained engagement with the design of computers.

Translating Truth: Ambitious Images and Religious Knowledge in Late Medieval France and England

Reviewed by Cynthia Hahn

The invisible and “interior space of the soul” is to be coaxed outward, revealed and purified. Within this model of dialogue between confessor and layman, pictures and especially diagrams take key place.

Primitive Selves: Koreana in the Japanese Colonial Gaze, 1910–1945

Reviewed by Christine Y. Hahn

How can contemporary Japan have such an unabashed and unconflicted enthusiasm for the cultural output of a country it had colonized and ruled with an inexorable hand?


Reviewed by David Crowley

Iskra became a kind of flagship enterprise for Yugoslavia, its products representing the kind of scale, organization, and technical know-how that socialist states loved to champion and usually failed to deliver.

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.


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