Monday, November 15, 2010

American Social Realism: Isabel Bishop (1902-1988). From top, Still Life with Oranges, 1928 / School Girls, 1974 / Bishop printing

Socialist Realism: Otakar Švec’s Stalin sculpture in Prague, 1951

Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ocean), 1990-1995

Colter Jacobsen, Bridal Veils Falls, 2007

Invested in representing reality, Realism  in art manifested in part as a socially and politically movement. Social realism endowed painting and sculpting with the mission of representing (underrepresented) social reality. 

The persistent interest in investigating and representing what is "real" has motivated artists to investigate visual perception, the passage of time and its effect on spaces and objects, and the material reality of artistic production.  Do you think that Realism can be meaningful in terms of art today? Does realism have to involve pictorial representation?

Reading for next week: excerpts of Van Gogh's letters from Theories of Modern Art (ed. Herschel Chipp)

1 comment:

  1. i think the contemporary discussion of realism would probably include video installation as the medium of video tends to make us feel like what we are seeing has some grounding in reality, much like the medium of still photography. for example, Euan Macdonald's "Snail" (a video about 6 minutes of a snail moving from one side of the frame to the other) examines the passing of time in a very realist, and certainly not romantic, way.