The New Reality

May 22, 2007 at 2:05 pm | Posted in art | 5 Comments

If you enjoy 20th century art, allow me to recommend a terrific exhibit at the Grand Palais right now.

Nouveau Realisme

It’s called Nouveau Réalisme, but don’t let the title throw you off: there’s nothing conventionally “realistic” about this art. The term was coined mid-century as a reaction to the self-seriousness of abstract expressionism. The idea was to bring figures and objects — real things — back into art, but in an unexpected new way… in other words, no stodgy old paintings of flowers and fruit.

The result is a playful, ironic approach to art that mirrors the pop-art experiments of Americans like Warhol and Lichtenstein. Highlights include the torn posters of Villeglé, the whimsical machine art of Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle‘s shooting paintings, and of course — my own favorite — Yves Klein, who insisted that his blue monochromes were simply paintings of the sky.

If you didn’t make it to the Klein and Rauschenberg retrospectives at Pompidou this winter, this exhibit is a great place to catch a glimpse of what you missed.

Nouveau Réalisme
28 March – 2 July 2007
Galeries nationales du Grand Palais
square Jean Perrin entrance
75008 Paris



  1. Hey Amy, I already knew I wanted to see this exhibit, and now after reading your review I absolutely MUST make it over there! I’m going to try to see if Jenn can go as well, maybe in early June…

    By the way, we haven’t caught up in ages, how are things? I need to drop you an e-mail. It was nice running into Brumaire at the *ahem* interesting (cue ironic smile) focus group about a month ago; we had a good chat.

    Jenn and I saw each other, albeit very briefly, one night after work before she left on holiday. We had a quick drink, but I wasn’t in very good spirits. I’m trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps, as they say, and be more positive these days. I haven’t been very inspired to write a whole lot on my blog, though, myself.

    Hope to talk with you soon!

  2. P.S. ~ Just read your review of Prep on LibraryThing, and now I’m even more curious… I was wondering if it was worth reading, and you’ve convinced me! Of course, I still have a pile of books at home waiting to be read, including The Romanian (*gulp* — sorry!), so Prep will have to wait.

  3. Alice, we should definitely talk soon. Oh, and Brumaire says hi.

  4. We should all talk soon 🙂 ! I walk past the Grand Palais every day twice (to and from work). It looked like it was good and I’m glad that you’ve confirmed it. Perhaps a nocturne is in order…

  5. Jenn, I hope you get a chance to go!

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