American Quarterly regularly publishes reviews of art and museum events (and their event catalogues) that are of interest to scholars of American studies, usually 1-2 per issue. These include events in historical, cultural, science, and art museums, art and historical organizations, libraries, and other venues. Because these reviews are often, if not usually, for events that are no longer on view or that readers will not be able to see, they are intended to address broader issues in the field in relation to material culture, visual culture and museum studies. Authors are invited to be expansive in suggesting subjects for review.
Event reviews should be 4,000-8,000 words in length and raise questions related to American studies. They may include up to 6 images. Authors are invited to expand the format of traditional reviews, by addressing any of a range of exhibitions or events. Review essays may, for example, address:
- Museum and gallery exhibitions, including related printed material, educational programming, and related Internet resources.
- Performance based events (art, dance, new media, theatre, activism)
- Media events and texts (elections, television broadcasts, sports, web-based events and publications, pop cultural phenomena, etc.)
- Film, video, steaming media events, programs, and festivals
- Music/sound performance and recording, radio broadcasts, and festivals
We will also consider proposals for shorter reviews of single events (e.g., a small gallery exhibit) of 2,500–4,000 words, with up to three images.
For a museum exhibit, the author should contact the museum or institution and tell them they are reviewing for American Quarterly, and request that they send a catalogue and press materials. You can request a walk-through of the exhibition and discuss the exhibition with the curatorial staff (or the education and marketing departments), if you think it is appropriate.
- Reviews should situate the subject in the context of American studies.
- Reviews should provide information about the importance and/or success of the event/exhibit, its public reception (when of interest), education and/or pedagogical elements (when of interest), design elements, curatorial staff, funding sources of the exhibition (where relevant to, for instance, the content or point of view of the exhibition). In some cases, it is worth noting how long a project took to come to fruition; in other cases, the debate about an exhibition is its most interesting element.
- It is important to provide enough description to orient the reader, as most will not have seen or heard the event/exhibit/performance.
- Wherever possible, reviews should assess the scholarship underlying the topic by situating it in relation to scholarship in the field.
Exhibition press kits often include photographs. Most museums and exhibition spaces will have images available. Otherwise, authors will need to locate copies of the images and secure permission from the appropriate source.
We can accept illustrations either as black and white photographs or as electronic scans (this is preferred). Be sure that you have proper permission for all artwork and send copies of all permissions granted to AQ.
The review should begin with a header listing the full name of the exhibition, the institution, and the curator and/or designer, the dates of the exhibition, and the catalogue information if applicable.
American Quarterly is also open to proposals for reviews of other cultural forms that are of interest to American studies scholars, including reviews of films, television shows, web sites, and CDs. Please send proposals to Sarah Leavitt and Susette Min.