TABLE OF CONTENTS

Books: Best of 2005

the best books of the year

Twelve scholars, critics, and artists choose the year's outstanding titles.

YVE-ALAIN BOIS

A book like Alastair Wright’s Matisse and the Subject of Modernism (Princeton University Press) is enough to rekindle my faith in the future of art history as a discipline. (Here I could also mention two other such rare pearls from 2005: Maria Gough’s The Artist as Producer: Russian Constructivism in Revolution [University of California Press] and Christina Kiaer’s Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism [MIT Press]). The first amazing trait of Wright’s book is that it manages to cast entirely new light on Matisse’s best-known works of the period from 1905–13, which can seem pretty exhausted territory. Wright’s methodological hypothesis is simple enough—that negative critics are often more acute in pinning down the historical and aesthetic significance of an artwork

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