press release

At the end of the 1960s, a number of young artists working in the United States began making realist paintings directly from photographs. With often meticulous detail, they portrayed the objects, people, and places that defined contemporary American life. Various terms were used to define this art, chief among them Photorealism, coined in 1968 by dealer and curator Louis Meisel to describe the pictures being made by artists including Robert Bechtle, Charles Bell, Tom Blackwell, Chuck Close, Robert Cottingham, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Ralph Goings, Ron Kleeman, Richard McLean, Malcolm Morley, John Salt, and Ben Schonzeit.

Picturing America, the first major showing of Photorealism in Germany in nearly 30 years, features 14 artists and is divided into three thematic sections: Reflections on the City, The Culture of Consumption, and American Life. At once deeply nostalgic and incredibly fresh, the works in the show, a number of them the most iconic paintings made between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, both provide a snapshot of this important chapter in art history and paint a vivid picture of a particular moment in American history. At the same time, the exhibition acknowledges American Photorealism’s history in Germany during the 1970s through both the inclusion of works collected by Peter and Irene Ludwig and a parallel presentation of a portfolio of lithographs produced on the occasion of Documenta V in 1972, which included a section dedicated to the movement.

Organized by Valerie Hillings, Assistant Curator.