Saturday, May 28, 2011

That Which Is Not Social Realism in the 21st Century

Part XIV of a series about the possibility of a rebirth of Social Realism in the Post Postmodern (Popomo) / Metamodern

Rereading my own suggested 21st Century Social Realists from the March 27th entry, I am amazed at the whacky list I posted. Perhaps I was desperate. First, Francis Bacon whose paintings quite possibly indicated a deep personal neurotic anger - was not trying to expose social wrongs - and most of his important work happened well before the Postmodern or the Post Postmodern (Popomo). Donigan Cummings work is a painful look at the human condition, and as such, fits a Popomo / Metamodernist position, but it does not speak directly to contemporary social/cultural ills. Nor does Charles Ray, though his work cross-examines cultural phenomenon, it is not critical; instead it is more a detached ironic observation of them. Kenny Scharf is a technical wizard, but a pop artist, not a social realist. At least Cindy Sherman's work touches on social realism obliquely because it makes us ask questions about our culture-wide clich├ęs about women.

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Cindy Sherman

Now, David Wojnarowicz is another story. He was an angry young man, but his artwork also called attention to the plight of gay men with AIDS in the America of his time. Unfortunately he died on the cusp of the Postmodern and the Post Postmodern. Thus, he cannot be of the Popomo/metamodern.

I am left with but three names from my list, Denis Peterson, Banksy, and Robert Longo, though Longo is questionable. So, I must continue my search for artists working in a Social Realist vein in this century.


* It is thought that one time use of an image (not in the public domain) for intellectual purpose qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

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