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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Euro-pop : the mechanical bride stripped bare in Stockholm, even Andersson, Patrik Lars

Abstract

The following dissertation concerns the emergence of a new 'open art' in New York, Paris and Stockholm between the years 1954 and 1966. I look at three artists in particular; Niki de Saint-Phalle, Jean Tinguely and Per-Olof Ultvedt, whose work has variously been categorized as Neo-Dada, Assemblage Art, New Realism, Nouveau Realisme and Pop Art. In my reconsideration of these movements, a number of 'different' interests emerge which challenge existing histories of this period. By opening up an international perspective from the margin of this cultural discourse — specifically the fraught position of a museum of modern art in Sweden — I show that by 1962 a number of European and American artists and intellectuals had not only managed to construct a collaborative environment for international avant-garde art, but some had also begun to reject this institutionalization on the grounds of difference. By focusing on the dynamic curatorial strategies of Pontus Hulten at Stockholm's Moderna Museet, I explore the difficulties inherent in the institutionalization of Pop Art. In this process, the reintroduction of Marcel Duchamp played a crucial role in establishing a new canon of modern art in both Europe and the United States. As I reveal, it was in Stockholm — what many considered the periphery of the art world — where Duchamp's work was most clearly and rigorously articulated for a larger discursive realm in Paris and New York. Tracing a range of philosophical and political differences between artists, critics and curators, I show how the activities initiated at Moderna Museet were central in rearticulating the postwar avant-garde for the centre.

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