Massurrealism is a style of art that combines the images from the masses with surrealistic imagery. Artist, James Seehafer coined the term Massurrealism. The idea of using the mass media in art was first seen in the mid 20th century with the work of Pop artists such as Andy Warhol. Surrealist imagery was popular among artists such as Salvador Dali and is characteristically dream-like. Massurrealism is said to have its strongest roots in surrealism and the mass media and technology have shaped this form of surrealism into what it is today.
There are three types of “mass” in Massurrealism. The first is mass media such as television, the Internet, and advertising. The second is mass-production such as tomato soup cans, alarm clocks, and automobiles. The third is the inexplicable mass such as particle physics and the oneness of the universe.
Surrealism first gained strong recognition between the two World Wars. The dream-like images at this time were shocking to the art world and to society as a whole. They made an impact and changed the way many people created and viewed art. Today these images are widely accepted and do not have the shock value they once did.
Massurrealism is a fairly young art form that hit its first popularity peak in America (namely New York City) during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Since them the art has continued to evolve just as the media references it contains evolve. It has also begun to spread throughout Europe and Russia.
Massurrealism is not only a combination of art forms but it is also a combination of the way the world is viewed. The ‘mass’ aspects of the art are representations of the way things look and the surrealistic imagery is representative of the way things are perceived by the mind’s eye. The mass imagery is sometimes considered the outer world while the surreal is considered the inner world. Massurrealists state that their art is accepting of all art and ideas that came before them. From the realism of pre-photography artists to the emotion and personal content of post-modernists, the Massurrealists believe the art they are creating is the most accurate depiction of reality. They consider it ultimate realism because it is a combination of what is generally accepted as real and what the individual artist believes to be real. This acceptance of the real and imaginary is thought to create an ultimate form of freedom for the artists because there are no restraints. The media used to create the art is also quite varied from traditional mediums such as oil paint or acrylics to the technologically advanced forms of digital photography and computer graphics.
Montage artists are said to be the precursors to Massurrealism. An art historian, Franz Roh said the following about montage art, “a precarious synthesis of the two most important tendencies in modern visual culture, extreme fantasy and extreme sobriety - or, put another way, the pictorial techniques of modernist abstraction and the realism of photographic fragment.”
Some Massurrealism Artists:
Bayardo Carrillo, Jr.
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