<2018 “Few expect her to win, but the action is nonetheless reverberating as a kind of last stand against the current bricolage approach to facts.”—New York Times, 3 March>
That’s a new one on me! However, in the news archive I consulted for quotes I got 1,143 hits, a rather large number as they go.
I would also note that the word does not appear in some of my regular dictionary sources (American Heritage Dictionary (2006) and Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (2005). However, it, of course, appears in the Oxford English Dictionary and most online dictionaries.
Construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand; also : something constructed in this way. <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.>—Vogue, 31 January, 2018>
Etymology: 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"). [[One might suspect that there is some connection to the word ‘collage,’ but, alas, there isn’t other than they are both of French origin.]]
bricolage (brēkōˈläZH,ˌbrikə-) noun
(In art or literature) construction or creation from a diverse range of available things. <The chaotic bricolage of the novel is brought together in a unifying gesture.>; something constructed or created from a diverse range of available things. <bricolages of painted junk>
Construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand; also : something constructed in this way.
Etymology: French, from bricoler to do odd jobs, make or fix in a haphazard fashion, from Middle French, to rebound, move in a zigzag course, from bricole catapult.
First known use: 1960
The following quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary and an online news archive:
___________________________<1960 “Adolescence is the period par excellence of bricolage—fiddling and tinkering with [literary] devices.”— Writer's Way in France by R.G. Cohn, page 101>
<1971 “His photographs divide along definite lines of contrast. The most obvious is . . . a contrast between the bricolage of popular life and small trading, and the formal plan of the aristocratic parks.”—Times (London), 21 December, 8/6>
<1989 “The postmodern hero, shielded from mass cult contamination by his ironic stance, can engage in bricolage by remote control, flipping channels and creating a fluid sense of self that can slip through the boundaries of suburban convention.”—The Nation (New York City), 9 January>
<1995 “. . . Galeano is a Uraguayan master of bricolage, the art of bringing together diverse, often neglected materials so that the resulting work exceeds the sum of its parts.”—The Washington Post (D.C.), 14, May>
<2000 “. . . juxtapositional ironies flourish in the 20th century's most characteristic artistic mode: call it collage, assemblage, bricolage, pastiche or (to be less Frenchified and more au courant) sampling.”—Newsweek (New York City), 1 January>
<2005 “. . . reading Daniel Bosch's first collection of poetry, ‘Crucible,’ which he describes as ‘heartfelt elegies, witty, erudite bricolage,’ poems of ‘passionate, well- crafted music.’” —Boston Globe (Massachusetts), 1 May>
<2011 “On the right-hand pages her ruminations on translation and her memories of her brother are interspersed with a bricolage of family snapshots and letters, stamps from Denmark and hotel stationary from Kashmir, detritus and clues.”—The Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland), 10 March>
<2015 “A frantic, occasionally funny, finally enervating bricolage of special effects, explosive set pieces, sardonic one-liners and notional human emotions, . . .”—The Washington Post (D.C.), 2 May>
<2018 “It is an archaeological dig, an exorcism, an occultist reading of wrongdoings in Rochester, Chatham, Ramsgate, Deal and Margate. It's neither crime study, travel guide nor history text, yet somehow a bricolage of all . . .”—The New Statesman (London), 9 February>
Ken Greenwald – March 3, 2018