The Art of the Everyday: The Quotidian in Postwar French Culture

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Perhaps more than anything else, it is the concept of the everyday that has most marked the arts and culture of the twentieth century. Nowhere has this been so clearly articulated as in France after World War II. Indeed, the 1950s and 1960s in France were awash in a sociological fascination with the transformed rhythms and accoutrements of daily lived experience. The Art of the Everyday features essays by prominent writers on the topic of the quotidian in philosophy, cinema, theater, photography, and other visual arts of postwar France. In particular, a number of younger artists practicing today such as Joel Bartolomeo, Rebecca Bournigault, Claude Closky, Frederic Coupet, Valerie Jouve, Philippe Mairesse, Jean-Luc Moulene, and Rainer Oldendorf find inspiration in the stuff of everyday life, rejecting an outmoded reverence for le grand gout. For them, the sophisticated urbanity of the nineteenth-century flaneur has mutated into a city dweller well-acquainted with the often unpleasant requirements of city life. A panorama of an important aspect of postwar French culture, The Art of the Everyday brings to light the work of a new generation of contemporary French artists viewed through the lens of daily experience.