Defining New Realism

I realized after I wrote my last post about the Galerie Sonia Zannettacci that not everyone knows what New Realism is.  The Gallery features New Realism as one of its main attractions, and it’s certainly a type of art that people should know about and be able to appreciate.

Called Nouveau Realisme, or New Realism, it’s a movement that was founded in October of 1960.  A number of artists, who actually signed their names on a declaration together, said that they were coming together for a new awareness of their “collective singularity.”  Their goal was to capture everyday reality without any idealism clouding the portrayal.  The original term Nouveau Realisme was coined by art critic Pierre Restany during an early exhibition he did in May of 1960.

The reason that it was seen as being “new” rather than as simply being realism is because it was connected to the new and growing urban consumer society.  Similar “new” forms of expression were taking place in fiction with the Nouveau Roman and in the New Wave in film.  It also focused on the presentation of an object that was chosen by the artist, rather than on the making of an image.

Artists who spearheaded this field included: Yves Klein, Arman, Francois Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Pierre Restany, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, Jacques de la Villeglé, César, Mimmo Rotella, Niki de Saint Phalle and Gerard Deschamps.

The art above is that of Martial Raysse, Soudain l’été dernier (Suddenly Last Summer), 1963.

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