MANUEL BORJA-VILLEL AND SERGE GUILBAUT don’t want to set the world on fire, they just want to detonate a thermonuclear device in the heart of art history. Ostensibly trying to blow a hole in the more conservative habits of exhibiting institutions and scholarship on postwar art, the curators’ recent exhibition, “Be-Bomb: The Transatlantic War of Images and All That Jazz, 1946–1956,” at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, gathered a politically charged collection of artworks, documents, and artifacts of popular culture from the decade following the Crossroads nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946. The show covered a lot of territory: It was about art and the Bomb, Franco-American cultural discourses during the cold war, the complex and changing relationship of modernism to popular culture in an age of accelerating consumerism, art and haute couture, art and Communism, art and jazz,
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