Kristin Ross

Kristin Ross is Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University. She is the author of The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune.

  • Fast Cars, Clean Bodies

    Fast Cars, Clean Bodies

    Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture

    Kristin Ross

    Fast Cars, Clean Bodies examines the crucial decade from Dien Bien Phu to the mid-1960s when France shifted rapidly from an agrarian, insular, and empire-oriented society to a decolonized, Americanized, and fully industrial one. In this analysis of a startling cultural transformation Kristin Ross finds the contradictions of the period embedded in its various commodities and cultural artifacts—automobiles, washing machines, women's magazines, film, popular fiction, even structuralism—as well as in the practices that shape, determine, and delimit their uses.

    In each of the book's four chapters, a central object of mythical image is refracted across a range of discursive and material spaces: social and private, textual and cinematic, national and international. The automobile, the new cult of cleanliness in the capital and the colonies, the waning of Sartre and de Beauvoir as the couple of national attention, and the emergence of reshaped, functionalist masculinities (revolutionary, corporate, and structural) become the key elements in this prehistory of postmodernism in France.

    Modernization ideology, Ross argues, offered the promise of limitless, even timeless, development. By situating the rise of "end of history" ideologies within the context of France's transition into mass culture and consumption, Ross returns the touted timelessness of modernization to history. She shows how the realist fiction and film of the period, as well as the work of social theorists such as Barthes, Lefebvre, and Morin who began at the time to conceptualize "everyday life," laid bare the disruptions and the social costs of events. And she argues that the logic of the racism prevalent in France today, focused on the figure of the immigrant worker, is itself the outcome of the French state's embrace of capitalist modernization ideology in the 1950s and 1960s.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £34.95
    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00

Contributor

  • The Everyday

    The Everyday

    Stephen Johnstone

    Writings on the “turn to the ordinary” in contemporary art examine the various ways artists have engaged with the everyday since 1945.

    Numerous international exhibitions and biennials have borne witness to the range of contemporary art engaged with the everyday and its antecedents in the work of Surrealists, Situationists, the Fluxus group, and conceptual and feminist artists of the 1960s and 1970s. This art shows a recognition of ordinary dignity or the accidentally miraculous, an engagement with a new kind of anthropology, an immersion in the pleasures of popular culture, or a meditation on what happens when nothing happens. The celebration of the everyday has oppositional and dissident overtones, offering a voice to the silenced and proposing possibilities for change. This collection of writings by artists, theorists, and critics assembles for the first time a comprehensive anthology on the everyday in the world of contemporary art.

    Artists surveyed include Chantal Akerman, Francis Alÿs, Vladimir Arkhipov, Ian Breakwell, Stanley Brouwn, Sophie Calle, Marcel Duchamp, Fischli & Weiss, Nan Goldin, Dan Graham, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hiller, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Mary Kelly, Lettrist International, Jonas Mekas, Annette Messager, Aleksandra Mir, Roman Ondák, Yoko Ono, Gabriel Orozco, Martha Rosler, Allen Ruppersberg, Daniel Spoerri, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Andy Warhol, Richard Wentworth, Stephen Willats.

    Writers include Paul Auster, Maurice Blanchot, Geoff Dyer, Hal Foster, Suzy Gablik, Ben Highmore, Henri Lefebvre, Lucy R. Lippard, Michel Maffesoli, Ivone Margulies, Helen Molesworth, Nikos Papastergiadis, Georges Perec, John Roberts, David Ross, Nicholas Serota, Michael Sheringham, Alison and Peter Smithson, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Jeff Wall, Jonathan Watkins.

    • Paperback $24.95 £16.95