Nouveau Réalisme
A group that came together around the art critic Pierre Restany in 1960 for the signing of the Nouveau Réalisme (New Realism) manifesto. As this text declared, "On Thursday, 27 October 1960, the new realists became aware of their collective singularity. Nouveau Réalism = new perceptive approaches to the real." Those signing the manifesto included Raymond Hains, François Dufrêne, Jacques de la Villeglé, Martial Raysse, Yves Klein, Arman, Daniel Spoerri, and Jean Tinguely. César and Mimmo Rotella participated in the group's first activities, while Niki de Saint-Phalle and Christo joined them at a later date. What this heterogeneous group of artists had in common was the idea of realism that, according to Restany, marked a return to a concrete vision of the real world. Their art thus became a kind of metaphor for the power of consumer society that carried the latent meaning of the readymade to its logical conclusion. Nouveau Réalisme took on its full meaning with the object and the recognition of the poetics it contained. According to Restany, this adventure took three forms: Klein's monochrome paintings, Tinguely's kinetic sculptures, and the torn posters of Hains and Villeglé. Klein, who began his monochromes in the mid 1950s, followed in 1960 with the Anthropométries, imprints of a body that had been coated with the color he called IKB (International Klein Blue). Tinguely perfected the Méta-matics à dessiner (Meta-matics drawing machine) in 1959, and presented the first self-destroying sculpture, Homage to New York, the following year The poster artists--Hains, Villeglé, and Rotelle (who had already exhibited similar work in Rome in 1954)--ripped posters from construction-site barricades and other wall surfaces, thus taking possession of a specific sector of the urban reality. César was later to exhibit his famous "compressions," Arman his "accumulations," Niki de Saint-Phalle her "shots," Christo his wrappings, and Spoerri his "trap-paintings."