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Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction


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Published in conjunction with the first large-scale retrospective of Picabia's work in the United States since 1970, Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction is a sweeping survey of the artist's profoundly innovative and influential career. Among the great modern artists of the past century, Picabia is one of the most elusive, given his extreme eclecticism and persistent acts of self-contradiction. Though known as a Dadaist, Picabia's ongoing stylistic shifts, from Impressionism to radical abstraction, from mechanical imagery to pseudo-classicism and from photo-based realism to art informel remain to be assessed in depth. Similarly, the breadth of his practice, which encompassed poetry, film and performance, is under-recognized. Each makes him a figure relevant for contemporary artists, while his career as a whole challenges familiar narratives of modernism. This volume presents over 100 paintings, complemented by works on paper, publications, and film. Featuring some 500 illustrations and 14 essays, it examines the full range of Picabia's oeuvre. Authors including distinguished professors George Baker, Briony Fer and David Joselit, and renowned Picabia scholars Carole Boulb?s and Arnauld Pierre, discuss a varied series of topics, including the corporeal character of Picabia's abstractions, his unexpected turn to mechanical painting, his experiments with materials and source imagery, the problems of his politics and his contemporary legacy. A richly illustrated chronology details the expanded nature of Picabia's visual production - from press polemics to party organizing. Hardcover, 365 pages