bri·​co·​lage | \ ˌbrē-kō-ˈläzh How to pronounce bricolage (audio) , ˌbri-\

Definition of bricolage

: construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand also : something constructed in this way

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Bricolage Has French Roots

According to French social anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, the artist "shapes the beautiful and useful out of the dump heap of human life." Lévi-Strauss compared this artistic process to the work of a handyman who solves technical or mechanical problems with whatever materials are available. He referred to that process of making do as bricolage, a term derived from the French verb bricoler (meaning "to putter about") and related to bricoleur, the French name for a jack-of-all-trades. Bricolage made its way from French to English during the 1960s, and it is now used for everything from the creative uses of leftovers ("culinary bricolage") to the cobbling together of disparate computer parts ("technical bricolage").

Examples of bricolage in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Kinships with craftwork, toys, folk or outsider art, and bricolage inevitably suggest themselves, only to be plowed under by the rigor of an aesthetic as sophisticated as that of an Alexander Calder or a Joseph Cornell. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Utopian Vision of Bodys Isek Kingelez," 4 June 2017 The performance, composed in thematic layers, is itself a kind of bricolage. Charles Mcnulty,, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the farmhouse next door, and unexpected connections in between," 16 Apr. 2018 Their garments are a hodgepodge of deadstock textiles and mismatched notions that evoke Mike Kelley's playful bricolage artworks and Rodarte’s artisanally holy knitwear. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Fashion Collective Women's History Museum Presents Their Oeuvre in A Gallery Show You Can Shop," 31 Jan. 2018 But her art retained a visceral energy and an underlying gruesomeness, and in the sixties her bricolage works again incorporated direct references to the body, or body parts. The New Yorker, "Carol Rama: Antibodies," 29 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bricolage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bricolage

1960, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bricolage

French, from bricoler to putter about

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Time Traveler for bricolage

The first known use of bricolage was in 1960

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a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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