The New Photorealists and Their Place in Contemporary Painting
The photorealist movement, which came to prominence in the United States in the 1960s and ’70s, has long had a conflicted relationship with the art world. Early practitioners explored mass media concurrently with
Since coining the term in 1969, New York gallerist Louis K. Meisel has been a major proponent of photorealism, which continues to be evident at his eponymous SoHo gallery and at Bernarducci.Meisel Gallery, the 57th Street outpost that Meisel co-runs with Frank Bernarducci. Both spaces showcase masters of the method as well as a new cohort of practitioners.
One very striking aspect of photorealism in the 21st century, perhaps a parallel to digital technology’s limitless capabilities, is that it allows for a powerful blend of fantasy and reality. Greek artist
For some artists, photorealism has become a means of exploring iconic images of scenes we might otherwise miss or overlook.
These and other artists—with their depictions of gleaming cars, lush landscapes, erotic figures, contemplative busts—show that technical craftsmanship can still reveal ideas that photography, expressionism, and abstraction do not. The place of photorealism has only become more complex in the past 50 years, but that may simply mean that it’s becoming more responsive and essential to contemporary art.
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