ON THE RECEPTION OF
POP ART IN BELGIUM
1-2 DECEMBER 2011
ROYAL MUSEUMS OF
FINE ARTS OF BELGIUM
Pierre Restany and the New Realists
Paris, 27 October 1960. Assembled in the workshop of painter Yves Klein, the artists Arman, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, Francois Dufrêne, Raymond Hains and Jacques de la Villeglé sign the "constitutive declaration of new realism", in proclaiming "new realism - new ways of perceiving the real". The following two and a half years, this group of artists, along with César, Mimmo Rotella, Niki de Saint Phalle, Gérard Deschamps and Christo, co-operates on a number of collective shows in Paris, Nice, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam and New York. Their final collective action takes place at the "Second festival of New Realism" in Munich in February 1963.
Today, the New Realists are widely considered as the contemporaries of American Pop Art, and often conceived as its transposition in France. Pierre Restany, the art critic who provided the New Realists with a number of critical writings during their period of collective action, is widely considered as the key figure of the movement. The leading figure who created the idea of New Realism and coined its term.
In a critically acclaimed, extensive master thesis*, supervised by Hans De Wolf and Frederik Leen, I threw a critical light on the contemporary perception of this historical movement. A perception that appears to be the result of the way Pierre Restany himself, throughout the years, created a monopoly concerning all retrospective reporting on the history of the movement. From a critical distance and after a reinterpretation of the historical sources, the image of Restany as "father of New Realism" could finally be adjusted.
* Joris D'hooghe, 'Het Deuxième Festival du nouveau réalisme - Einde van een kunstenaarsgroep? Nieuwe perspectieven in de beweging van les nouveaux réalistes' - VUB, 2007
These insights have been published in:
Joris D'hooghe, 'De kunstenaar als zelfverklaard kunstenaar. De geschiedvervalsing rond les nouveaux réalistes', rekto:verso 42, juli - augustus 2010.
Joris D'hooghe (Brussels, °1982)
Art historian (VUB, 2007): research on 20th century avant-garde and Marcel Broodthaers
Art critic: numerous publications in rekto:verso, Ons Erfdeel, Tubelight