Reframing Realism

By Dr Judith Walsh

Don McCullin  Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin 1961

Don McCullin Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin 1961

I decided to title my course ‘Reframing Realism’ in an effort to position realist art as interesting and radical as abstract art.

My PhD focused on British realist painting of the post-war period but I also looked at how painters in Europe and America used figuration and realism to explore the new social and political conditions in which they were working. I am very interested in how contemporary artists respond to the particular societies in which they live and how they communicate those responses to us as viewers.

Some of my research looked at the fascinating history of realism in the visual arts and I will share some of that research in our discussions at Tate. But we need to start by working out what we mean when we talk about realist art. Are we actually talking about figurative art? Does it have to represent something we know in the ‘real’ world?

I also want us to think about the different categories of realism such as Social Realism and Socialist Realism and think about the ways in which these art movements have an impact on the art produced today. Basing this courHere – enrol onlinese at Tate Liverpool presents us with some exciting learning experiences as we will be utilising the Constellation displays, looking at the art and discussing our responses to it on the gallery. Tate describes the Constellation displays on its website: ‘At the heart of each constellation is a ‘trigger’ artwork, chosen for its profound and revolutionary effect on modern and contemporary art. Surrounding the trigger works are artworks that relate to it and to each other, across time and location.  Visitors to constellations can enjoy an imaginative display of art works by Henri Matisse, Barbara Hepworth, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys, Rachel Whiteread, Glenn Ligon and many, many more.

Reframing Realism will take place at Tate Liverpool on Saturday 7 November. Tate are providing a dedicated learning space, coffee and as much time as we want on the galleries to explore these wonderful artworks. This is a day course for anyone interested in thinking about art-no experience needed.

If you would like to reserve your place on this course you can do by clicking here – enrol online

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