Breathless Days, 1959-1960

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 67 illustrations Published: February 2017

Art and Visual Culture > Art Criticism and Theory, Cultural Studies, Media Studies > Film

Taking 1959–1960 as a pivotal cultural and political moment, the contributors to Breathless Days reframe postwar Western art history, examining the aesthetic and ideological alliances and tensions in art throughout Western Europe and the Americas. The collection provides a heterogeneous account of the intersections of the fine art world with literature, jazz, film, and theater in New York, Paris, Milan, Brazil, and Cuba. This reveals the knotty and multilayered connections among these divergent artistic milieus. Whether discussing Duchamp’s With My Tongue in My Cheek, Brazilian abstraction, postrevolutionary Cuban art, Jean Tinguely’s self-destroying machines, or Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, the contributors show this brief period to be a key to the cultural and political development of Western Europe and the Americas during the Cold War.
Contributors. Carla Benzan, Clint Burnham, Jill Carrick, Eric de Chassey, Mari Dumett, Serge Guilbaut, Luc Lang, Hadrien Laroche, Aleca Le Blanc, Richard Leeman, Tom McDonough, Regis Michel, John O'Brian, Kjetil Rodje, Ludovic Tournès, Antonio Eligio (Tonel)


"Excellent. . . . Breathless Days should be considered essential reading for those seeking a deeper understanding of a fascinating range of works created in a turbulent period of twentieth-century history." — Anthony White, RACAR

"Edited by two outstanding scholars, Breathless Days, 1959–1960 works to replace prevailing globalized and national narratives with a set of multipronged and heterogeneous studies of artworks, ideas, and events that emerged during those two years. In contrast to the usual emphases on the sixties, 1959–1960 is offered as a missing moment, an unseen linchpin, the close reading of which in this volume promises to expose a different, more accurate, and suggestive reading of the entire postwar period." — Terry Smith, author of One and Five Ideas: On Conceptual Art and Conceptualism

"Breathless Days, 1959–1960 reads kaleidoscopically, its pages flickering the myriad events that in a year changed entire aesthetic and political horizons. Serge Guilbaut and John O'Brian have assembled a gamut of pieces that show how the two worlds, modern postwar Paris and New York, were the two poles of a magnetic field. The sum of this collection will leave readers à bout de souffle, at once out of breath and breathless." — Tom Conley, author of An Errant Eye: Poetry and Topography in Early Modern France


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Serge Guilbaut is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of British Columbia and the author and editor of several books, including How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art: Abstract Expressionism, Freedom, and the Cold War.
John O'Brian is Professor of Art History and Faculty Associate of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia and the author and editor of several books, most recently, Camera Atomica.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii

Introduction / Serge Guilbaut and John O'Brien  1

1. Cahiers du Cinéma Interview / Jean-Luc Godard  22

Part I. Cheek to Cheek in Paris and New York

2. Marcel Duchamp: The Signature Machine—Identity, Authority, Dispossession / Hadrien Laroche  31

3. The Young and the Old / Richard Leeman  60

4. Redefining the Boundaries of Culture: The French Experience of Jazz / Ludovic Tournès  82

5. A Critical Season for Alan Katz / Éric de Chassey  99

6. The Cacodylic Mind: Francis Picabia and the Neo-Avant-Garde, 1953–1963 / Tom McDonough  112

Part II. Violence, Machines, and Bodies

7. The Paradox of Time: Nouveau Réalisme's Curious "Archaeology of the Present" / Jill Carrick  129

8. To Be an "Exemplary" Machine: Tinguely's Homage to New York / Mari Dumett  152

9. Naked Lunch and the Neighbor / Clint Burnbaum  177

10. Bodybuilding or Bodycrushing? From Art to Theater: From Bodies to Corpses, a Rhizomatic Meditation on the Contemporary West / Regis Michel  191

Part III. Time Is Longer Than Any Distance

11. Action Writing/Action Reading / Luc Lang  205

12. From the Genius in the Mountain to the Party in the Dark: Art, Cinema, and Cultural Politics at the Beginning of the Cuban Revolution / Antonio Eligio (Tonel)  211

13. Disorder and Progress in Brazilian Visual Culture, 1959 / Aleca Le Blanc  234

14. That Tingling Sensation: 1959 and William Castle's The Tingler / Kjetil Radje  255

15. Atopic Atomic: Picro Manzoni's Space-Age Subtext and the "Ins and Outs" of the Modern Intellectual / Carla Benzan  275

Selected Bibliography  313

Contributors  319

Index  323
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6041-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6023-0
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