Picasso, Movies, and Interaction

Realism has been a primary cultural interest for Marxist since the last century. Picasso was a troublesome figure for realism since he became both an immensely wealthy art figure and joined the French CP. Picasso launched a long period of abstraction in European, and American abstract art. I want to look back at the issues that realism faced in the challenge from modern art and see for realist if there isnšt a better way to understand the issues raised by Picasso. I want to introduce some new perspective on realism. I see these avenues (arising in neuroscience) providing a realist resolution of the issues raised by Picasso and the modernist movement in favor of realism. Since western cultural Modernism faded away in the 1980šs this e-mail also aims at their successors, the Postmodernists, and their views on realism.

During the nineteenth century there was a lively debate in the working class movement concerning realism. These issues of social meaning stood apart from the end of the century rise of visual abstraction, later known as "modernism". Engels himself wrote some letters observing what he thought were appropriate comments concerning realism in the novel. For example;


(letter to Ferdinand Lassalle (May 8, 1859, Marxism and Art, Edited by Berel Lang and Forrest Williams, 1972, Published by David McKay Company, Inc. New York, )

"I am far from finding fault with your not having written a purely socialist novel, a Tendenzroman, as we Germans call it, to glorify the social and political views of the author. That is not at all what I mean. The more the authoršs views are concealed the better for the work of art. The realism I allude to may creep out even in spite of the authoršs views. Let me refer to an example.

Balzac, who I consider a far greater master of realism than all the Zolas, past, present, or future, gives us in his Comedie Humaine a most wonderfully realistic history of French "society," describing, chronicle fashion, almost year by year fro 1816 to 1848, Š"


While these first tentative comments upon the issue in the novel are too sketchy to dismiss the prolific out-put and visual ideas of Picassošs, in modernismšs challenge to visual realism, these comments by Engels provide us some historical context to understand how our principles are distinct from modernism. Primarily, Engels made a discrimination between Balzac, and Zolas that for many Marxist subsequent to these first remarks meant Zolas represented a kind of "empiricism" versus a synthesis of wholeness Engels saw in Balzac. To Engels, Zolas had so much focus upon detail, the empirical flow of phenomena, that tendency, and type get lost to the reade