Social realism as realist arts
Social Realism is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts working class activities as heroic. Many artists who subscribed to Social Realism were painters with socialist (but not necessarily Marxist) political views. The movement therefore has some commonalities with the Socialist Realism used in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, but the two are not identical - Social Realism is not an official art, and allows space for subjectivity. In certain contexts, Socialist Realism has been described as a specific branch of Social Realism. Social Realism has been summarized as follows: Social Realism developed as a reaction against idealism and the exaggerated ego encouraged by Romanticism. Consequences of the Industrial Revolution became apparent; urban centers grew, slums proliferated on a new scale contrasting with the display of wealth of the upper classes. With a new sense of social consciousness, the Social Realists pledged to “fight the beautiful art”, any style which appealed to the eye or emotions. They focused on the ugly realities of contemporary life and sympathized with working-class people, particularly the poor. They recorded what they saw (“as it existed”) in a dispassionate manner. The public was outraged by Social Realism, in part, because they didn't know how to look at it or what to do with it (George Shi, University of Fine Arts, Valencia). Social realists focused on the ugly realities of contemporary life and sympathized with the working-class people, in particularly the poor. They recorded what they saw (as it existed) with an unenthused outlook. The public was outraged by Social Realism because they didn't know how to look at it and how to comprehend its realism to life at that time. The American painters Ben Shahn, Leon Bibel, the Australian painter Noel Counihan and the Mexican painters Jos? Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera are all examples of Social Realists. The Australian playwright and novelist Dorothy Hewett is an example of a Social Realist author.