LOUIS K. MEISEL
do you explain that after all these years, and in spite of the
profusion of images conveyed by the media, photorealism always
has the same visual force, the same impact?
I am not quite sure what you are asking…..BUT photorealist
imagery is carefully determined by the artists to be "of
our time" and while of everyday sights, it makes one pay
attention to the ordinary and that then becomes more interesting.
The Photorealist makes you more aware of your environment
Have you, as a dealer, always presented
photorealist artists? and from when?
I began showing these artists in 1967 at my Madison avenue gallery.
In 1969 I INVENTED the word Photorealism to describe a certain
type of new realist painter.
What do you think about the leading part
played by photography in recent contemporary art?
The recent phenomena of artists simple making huge enlargements
of their photographs and presenting them as their art form is
totally a result of what the Photorealist accomplished 30 years
ago. It was inevitable that the large photo would ultimately appear
to attempt to take the place of Photorealist painting by those
who could not paint or make any art for that matter.
You do not display photographs in your
galleries; do photography as a finished product not satisfy
I represent Jock Sturges…..one of the leading contemporary
and somewhat controversial photographers. He shows regularly.
I also represented and continue to represent the estate of
Murray Alcosser. A Large format color photographer of still
Do you envisage a follow-up to the trilogy dedicated to photorealism
I do not plane to do a 4th book, BUT 2010 is still a long way
You seem to address to art historians and scholars more than critics.
Does it annoy you to see that in contemporary art magazines, critics
continue to be unaware of photorealist painters?
The "critics" writing for the newspapers and magazines
are fully aware of photorealism!. They choose to ignore it. Ayn
Rand in Fountainhead predicts and explains this situation. She
(Her critic Toohey) says: " do not attempt to raze the shrines….enshrine
mediocrity and you will raze the shrines." In other words…
Don’t attack the photorealists. You will lose credibility….people
will judge for them selves and find the Photorealists to be outstanding
artists. Instead….do not call attention to them or any great
artists who need no critical acclaim. Instead, attempt to build
up and promote the mediocre artist. The public will think you
know more than they do. And the artists will kiss your ass!
One day, do you think it would be possible for you to open a gallery
outside the USA?
Does it seems relevant and economically viable?
I had a gallery in Germany in the 70’s. I worked closely
with galleries in France, England and Italy back then also. I
can only be in one place at one time and I can never find enough
art that qualifies for me to supply more than one gallery…..I
have in fact opend on 57th street 3 years ago. But that is only
3 miles from SoHo.
The recent years have been marked by the dissapearance of Charles
Bell, John Kacere, Dennis Martin.
In your opinion is photorealism still a movement in action?
Are the emerging artists ready to revive the movement?
Bell was a great loss.
One of his paintings set a record at auction at Sotheby’s
today at $350,000. Kacere and Martin were loved and enjoyed artists
but not central to the genre. The movement as a whole is stronger
than it ever was at present. There are so many requests from all
over the world for museum shows that I can not keep up with them.
That is why I went with Rome this year and not Strasbourg. I did
Korea last year and Denmark the year before Next year is a 6 museum
tour in Japan. I am only working with museums which will include
the 5 artists added in the 80’s and the additional 5 from
the 90’s. Now I have one new artist in the 21st century.
You have, probably for historical reasons, presented the works
of american painters.
With a few exceptions (John Salt, Bertrand Méniel, Frantz
Gertsch ) the european or asiatic artists are absent.
Is this deliberate or due to a limited knowledge of their works?
The movement was explicitly an American invention in the 60’s
and 70’s. John Salt while British was living and working
in America and was influenced by the art world of that time. Franz
Gertsch was and is the ONLY true European Photorealist and one
of the greatest there is. Hilo Chen (Chinese) Lived and worked
in America. There ARE NO Asian or other European Photorealists.
I have seen the works of thousands of realists in the past 30
years. There are many great ones, but their work is a different
branch of new realism. You have many good realists on your site,
and the word Hyperrealism can apply to many…….but
they do NOT look like Photorealism and very specific sub set.
I do NOT have a limited knowledge of the realists in the world.
Believe me they have almost all approached me, and when I travel
I search galleries, museums and schools for realists….ALL
over the world.
In 1980 you have developped a five point definition of an artist
as a fully contributor to the photorealist movement
Are these basis always actual?
The 5 point definition still holds.
The new young artists are finding new imagery, techniques
and technology and are now causing great renewed interest…..AND
it is becoming more international. Meniel from France, Head
from Britain and Raphaella Spence from Italy.
Do you think that photorealists deserve to be considered as craftmans?
Photorealists are among the finest craftsman/artists working today.
The word is not derogatory.
Your books show some 41 painters and 3000 paintings; Picasso alone
has painted 30 000 works;
For this reason, i s photorealism not condemned to remain marginal
in numericc terms?
On the contrary, does it lead to rarity of photorealist paintings
which could lead to an appreciation in value?
There are enough Photorealist paintings in the world to achieve
long lasting acclaim. There are many in museums and destined for
museums. There is NO doubt that the rarity IS and will lead to
MUCH higher prices.
) In marketing terms what do you estimate the potential rise in
value of the of the photorealist artists to be?
I think there will be a doubling in prices every 5 years for the
foreseeable future…..not unlike in the past 20 years.
What do you think of when you think of photorealism?(in five words)
Close, Estes, Bell, Goings and Flack
What do you think of when you think of modern art?(in five words)
Abstract, Pop, Minimal, Photorealism conceptual