Pierre Restany


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French critic, chiefly known as the ideologist of the Nouveau Réalisme movement, which he launched with a manifesto in 1960 (he had devised the term earlier that year for an exhibition in Milan). The following year he organized an exhibition of work by the Nouveaux Réalistes at the Galerie J in Paris, run by his wife, Jeanine Restany. It was entitled ‘40° au-dessus de Dada’ (40 Degrees above Dada), and this offended one of the leading members of the group, Yves Klein, who disliked having his work—which he regarded as highly spiritual—linked to the anarchy of Dada. Restany had intended to convey the idea that it was necessary to go beyond the nihilism of Dada, that impassioned revolt was no longer appropriate. Instead, artists should ‘create a language based on the industrial world of today’, which should be regarded not as oppressive, but as a source of poetry. Restany's output included monographs on César (1976) and Klein (1984), as well as an autobiography, Une Vie dans l'art (1983).

Subjects: Art.

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