Where Did All The Realist Art Go?

Contemporary realism is rarely exhibited on these shores.

The perfect storm of the amateur embracing realism and the contemporary art establishment shunning it has resulted in a dearth of serious figurative painting exhibitions. But it’s big news in Spain with the Madrid Realists exhibition at the Thyssen Bornemisza museum. And these are real paintings, not that nonsense that passes for paintings, those made by projecting digital images on to a canvas and colouring in with paint. Not sure of the difference? You wouldn’t be alone in that.

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Should Art Shock?

‘Sunset’ Caspar David Friedrich. 1830-35 Hermitage Museum


When were you last shocked?

It’s much more likely it was a real life event not an art gallery visit that did it. Real life is far more shocking than any art I have ever seen. A ‘twin towers’ moment, a sudden bereavement, a crime close to home, these are shocking. People hold their cheeks, cover their mouths, are silent or scream. I have never seen that happen in an art gallery.

In an art gallery what emotions are you likely to experience? Perhaps you have been disgusted, or provoked, delighted or absorbed. 

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