new realism

We initially discover reality not as a simple sum of facts. Rather, we discover reality as a sum of necessities and constraints that do not allow us to do what we would like to do or to live as we would like to live. Reality is what divides our vision of the imaginary future into two parts: a realizable project, and pure fantasy that never can be realized. In this sense reality shows itself initially as realpolitik, as the sum of everything that can be done in opposition to an unrealistic view of the conditions and limitations of human actions. […] One can say that avant-garde and post-avant-garde art has finally achieved its goal to become a part of reality. But this reality is not one with which we are confronted, or in the middle of which we live. Rather, it is a reality of which we are informed. In the contemporary world we are de facto confronted not with art but with information about art. We can follow what is going on in art milieus the same way we follow what is going on in other spheres of social life: by using contemporary social networks like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
It is this positivist facticity of contemporary art that produces a nostalgia for realism. If art becomes a real practice a legitimate part of reality then discontent with reality turns into a discontent with art and all its institutions: the art market, exhibition practices, etc. And this discontent, this conflict with reality, calls for a new description: the New Realism.

Groys, Boris: “Towards the New Realism.” e-flux journal 77 (2016), accessed December 12, 2016,