MoMA describes Social Realism as “A movement that flourished between the two World Wars in response to the social and political turmoil and hardships of the period. Social Realism was a way of making art easily accessible and legible to the wider public, often portraying their subjects—including well-known figures and anonymous everyday workers—as heroic symbols of persistence and strength in the face of adversity. Through their work, they aimed to call attention to the declining conditions of the poor and working classes, and to challenge the governmental and social systems they held responsible.”
The Hilliard Gallery’s Contemporary American Social Realist show is looking for artists whose work continues the humanist legacy of social realism. Does the early to mid-Twentieth Century art movement of Social Realism, relate in any way to the contemporary concerns of American art? Curated, critiqued, and censored, contemporary art searches for a rhythm that moves in flux with society, adapting to concepts, techniques and trends that have become popular avenues of artistic expression has allowed for social realism to make a revival. There is not any one precieved style for the contemporary realist. It is about issues faced by society and portrayed than it is aesthetics of the work.
The past few years have brought about an astronomical shift in societal perception, by which the purpose of social realism has been rejuvenated. This covers issues relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, and class, which one can only hope is being recognized as more than a trend and are here to stay.
Social realism has played an essential role in enabling marginalized artists to create their long-awaited legacies and reconstruct their historical and contemporary representation. Although the most important feature of contemporary art is that there are no real defining characteristics of it, this art responds to the modern times we live in, focusing on broad contextual frameworks – from political and cultural, themes of identity, and advancing technology. Artists make art based on concepts and react to the world’s political and cultural lives.