“Face à l’histoire”

Centre Pompidou

The title, “Face à l’histoire” tries to say it. On one side art, a great linear, chronological survey of its many practices from 1933–96, displayed in rooms devoted to such diverse themes as anti-Semitism, the civil war in Spain, Vietnam, or Algerian independence. On the other side, history, or rather a spine of materials designated to stand in for it—magazines, posters, pamphlets, novels, some scanty panels of text and so forth. The facing is all in one direction. Art broods on history, occasionally trying to act upon it. History, wretched, terrible, destructive, never outfaces art from its position of passivity as mere event.

This idealized relation, while it maintains the very separation between history and the historicity of art that it is supposed to overcome, nonetheless furnished the exhibition with its principle of selection. André Masson’s Andalusian Reapers, 1935, and Salvador

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