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The term Capitalist Realism was introduced between 1963 and 1966 by the painters Gerhard Richter (then still Gerd Richter), Konrad Lueg (artist name of the later gallery owner Konrad Fischer), Sigmar Polke and Manfred Kuttner to organise self-help exhibitions and performances under this title.
What the four art students had in common was their rejection of established art movements, with the result that traditional exhibition opportunities remained closed to them. Richter and Kuttner already knew each other from the Dresden Art Academy, Polke and Lueg met at the Düsseldorf Art Academy between 1961 and 1962, where they studied with Karl Otto Götz.


Capitalist Realism

At the beginning of 1963, they decided to organise a joint exhibition under their own direction. They rented a shop from the city of Düsseldorf at Kaiserstraße 31 A, the walls of which they first had to paint white. In a letter Richter wrote on behalf of the group, presumably in May 1963, to Fox's Tönende Wochenschau, the term appeared for the first time: "For the first time in Germany, we are showing pictures for which the terms Pop Art, Junk Culture, imperalist or Capitalist Realism, new representationalism, Naturalism, German Pop and some similar are characteristic." The exhibition opened on 11 May 1963.




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