• Marshall Plan Modernism: Italian Postwar Abstraction and the Beginnings of Autonomia

    Author(s):
    Pages: 288
    Illustrations: 26 illustrations, incl. 8 in color
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
    Series: Art History Publication Initiative
  • Cloth: $94.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-6245-6
  • Paperback: $25.95 - In Stock
    978-0-8223-6260-9
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  • Acknowledgments  vii

    Introduction. Labor, (Workers') Autonomy, (Art) Work  1

    1. The Monochrome in the Neocapitalist Laboratory  39

    2. Lucio Fontana and the Politics of the Gesture  69

    3. Alberto Burri's Plastics and the Political Aesthetics of Opacity  93

    4. "We Want to Organicize Disintegration"  119

    Conclusion. "Ready-Made Artist and Human Strike" or From Autonomy to Strike  167

    Notes  207

    Bibliography  249

    Index  265
  • "Brilliantly highlighting the difference between Italian autonomy/autonomia and the far more general and metaphorical evocations of factory work in American-style pop art and minimalism, Mansoor is one among a small group of authors whose work consistently undercut the historicizing and pacifying ism in the concept of modernism. What we gain is an art historical account on par with the multiple upheavals of modernity and their various contingencies."
     

    Reviews

  • "Brilliantly highlighting the difference between Italian autonomy/autonomia and the far more general and metaphorical evocations of factory work in American-style pop art and minimalism, Mansoor is one among a small group of authors whose work consistently undercut the historicizing and pacifying ism in the concept of modernism. What we gain is an art historical account on par with the multiple upheavals of modernity and their various contingencies."
     

  • "Possessing the great gift of being able to bring art to life through language, Jaleh Mansoor offers new and illuminating readings of artworks that are among the most compelling objects from the last seventy-five years. She infuses the complex frameworks of recent Marxist thought with her own voice, thinking through the possibilities open to painting while deepening our understanding of postwar Italian culture and its contradictions. This book makes a powerful contribution to the discourses of art history and cultural criticism." — Rachel Haidu, author of, The Absence of Work: Marcel Broodthaers, 1964–1976

    "Jaleh Mansoor’s Marshall Plan Modernism is a strong, tendentious, and convincing argument for the works of Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, and Piero Manzoni as symptomatic responses to the global ascension of postwar American painting, in one register, and to the economic and social displacements of Bretton Woods and the miracolo Italiano, in another. Written with intensity and critical commitment, Mansoor’s book presents their works as acts of resistance and antagonism—and political theory—that parallel and even prefigure the actions of Operaio and Autonomia against the assembly line and the new productivity, in sabotage and strike." — Howard Singerman, author of, Art History, After Sherrie Levine

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  • Description

    Focusing on artwork by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Piero Manzoni, Jaleh Mansoor demonstrates and reveals how abstract painting, especially the monochrome, broke with fascist-associated futurism and functioned as an index of social transition in postwar Italy. Mansoor refuses to read the singularly striking formal and procedural violence of Fontana's slit canvasses, Burri's burnt and exploded plastics, and Manzoni's "achromes" as metaphors of traumatic memories of World War II. Rather, she locates the motivation for this violence in the history of the medium of painting and in the economic history of postwar Italy. Reconfiguring the relationship between politics and aesthetics, Mansoor illuminates how the monochrome's reemergence reflected Fontana, Burri, and Manzoni's aesthetic and political critique of the Marshall Plan's economic warfare and growing American hegemony. It also anticipated the struggles in Italy's factories, classrooms, and streets that gave rise to Autonomia in the 1960s. Marshall Plan Modernism refigures our understanding of modernist painting as a project about labor and the geopolitics of postwar reconstruction during the Italian Miracle.

    About The Author(s)

    Jaleh Mansoor is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia and coeditor of Communities of Sense: Rethinking Aesthetics and Politics, also published by Duke University Press.
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