Cover: Colossal octopus by Orra White Hitchcock, based on an illustration by Pierre Denys de Montfort, 1828–1840. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

Editor’s letter

Gregory Cerio

Critical thinking / Difficult issues

Stage right: museums and contemporary conservatism
Glenn Adamson

Current and coming

A Home for Surrealism in Chicago, chiaroscuro woodcuts at LACMA, a new exhibition at the Thomas Cole House, and more

Farther Afield

In Antwerp, an arts festival toasts the legacy of Peter Paul Rubens
Sammy Dalati

On Books

A monumental new study of the life and art of cabinetmaker Isaac Vose Barrymore Laurence Scherer


Katherine Lanza


Folk art from the post office
Eleanor H. Gustafson



The world of Bill Traylor: A sweeping retrospective at
the Smithsonian American Art Museum examines the
life and work of one of the most remarkable figures in
American art

Leslie Umberger

Glazing points: A pair of reverse-painted-on-glass
miniatures offers new insights into the work of early
American portrait artist Benjamin Greenleaf

Brian Ehrlich

Radical modernist and a shepherd at heart: An exhibition
at the Museum of Modern Art offers an opportunity to
appreciate the earthy, elemental spirit in the sculptures
of Constantin Brancusi

James Gardner

Warp, weft, and the American West: An exhibition in
Colonial Williamsburg traces the evolution of Navajo
pictorial weavings

Kimberly Smith Ivey

Caribbean twilight: The Jamaican artist John Dunkley
invested colorful scenes of Caribbean life with a brooding
sense of disquiet

David Ebony

Art, science, and the Second Great Awakening: The
American Folk Art Museum examines the work of Orra
White Hitchcock, scientific illustrator and minister’s wife

Stacy C. Hollander

Art without adjectives: The Met’s exhibition of work
from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation has the power
to reframe the critical discussion of art

Elizabeth Pochoda