INTRODUCTION
LABOR, (WORKERS’)
AUTONOMY, (ART) WORK
[Operaismo] emerged at the exact moment of transition
when the greatness of the century turned on itself, moving from a
permanent state of exception to a new “normal” epochless time.
Mario Tronti, “Memoir” (2012)
At Bretton Woods, the foundations of a new world monetary system had
been established; at Hiroshima and Nagasaki new means of violence had
demonstrated what the military underpinnings of the new world order
would be; and at San Francisco new norms and rules for the legitimization
of state-making and war-making had been laid out at the UN Charter.
Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century (1994)
Slashing [the painting] was equivalent, fundamentally, to finishing it.
It meant that I had at last planted my foot on solid ground.
Alberto Moravia, Boredom (1960)
We want to organicize disintegration.
Piero Manzoni, Guido Biasi, Mario Corlucci, Ettore Sordini,
and Angelo Verga, “For an Organic Painting” (1957)
Painting and Violence
In 1949, Lucio Fontana picked up for the first time the “already dead” practice
of painting in order to proclaim its irrelevance anew.1 This was also the year
abstract painting made the cover of Life, “represented” by the work of Jack-
son Pollock. Already, the Life magazine cover signals the rapid assimilation
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