The New Realism art Movement

In France, in 1960, the art critic Pierre Restany organized several artists into a move­ment he dubbed New Realism, of which he became the theorist. The work produced by its members was diverse, but always centered on the ambiguities of consumer culture. Far from celebrating it, their works critique the stagger­ing waste that this culture generates. Daniel Spoerri (b. 1930), for example, suggests this with his assemblages of cheap store-bought and thrown-away toys and other commercial objects.

Arman (Armand Fernandez; b. 1928) is an accumulator. “My technique of accumulation consists in letting the objects that I use place themselves. In the long run, nothing is easier to control than chance.  Chance is my basic material, my blank page.” He used this appproach to create accumulations of everything from gears to gloves to musical instruments.

The collaborative artists Christo (Christo Javacheff; b. 1935) and his wife, Jeanne-Claude (Guillebon; b. 1935), wrap things, thereby rendering them mysterious. Christo began with objects as small as bottles and pushcarts, but in the 1960s he and Jeanne-Claude progressed to works on an enormous scale. Their work Running Fence (1972-76) was an eighteen-foot-high nylon fence that crossed two counr­ties in northern California and extended into the Pacific Ocean. Later they wrapped several islands in Biscayne Bay off the coast of Florida, and in 1995, six years after the reunification of Germany, they realized a long-planned project to wrap the Reichstag, the vast building in Berlin where the German National Assembly had met before the Second World War.

Among the New Realists, Raymond Hains and Jacques de la Villegle (both b. 1926) are unique. They stole and exhibited weather ­worn street posters ripped by passersby to reveal the manifold layers beneath. According to Hains, these “works existed before but were not seen because they were right under people’s noses.” Martial Raysse (b. 1936) incorpo­rated objects and materials of all kinds into his paintings, producing playful critiques of a cul­ture forever in pursuit of leisure.

Yves Klein (1928-62), one of New Real­ism’s most prominent figures, proceeded very differently. In April 1958, he held an “exhibition” entitled “The Void Pure and Simple” at the Iris Clert Gallery in Paris, where visitors arrived to find a room empty save for the artist himself. He made “paintings” with flamethrowers, or by fixing canvas to the roof of his car and driving through inclement weather. His search for scandal climaxed in a series of performances in which he used the paint-soaked bodies of nude women as “paint brush­es.” His monochrome paintings are probably his most beautiful works; whether they are painted in gold or in the pigment he copyrighted and christened “International Klein Blue,” they are perfect emblems of his quest for boundlessness and immateriality.

This article is courtesy of ‘The beginners guide to Art’ by Brigitte Govignon’ and brought to you by Blue horizon Printing. Experts in printing premium quality canvas prints with a massive range of abstract art prints along with a variety art. Visit the site at

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