The name " School of Nice " is debatable, as far as there is not a real unity of attitude, of objective or of style connecting the artists grouped under this label. However, this artists' nebula working since the sixties in the same places of Nice can allow to speak about a school of Nice, according to Jacques Lepage's proposition in 1961. In these years, in opposition to the predominence of Paris and of abstraction, the young artists of the region propose innovative reactions with, for example, Yves Klein’s work* (1928-1962 ) and his anthropometries and performances or Arman (born in Nice in 1928) who blows up his first " angers of objects " in 1960. Martial Raysse (born in 1936 in Golfe-Juan) makes a creation with supermarket plastic objects of and makes writings with neon light. César ( 1921-1998 ) joins the group which is named the " New Realists " by Pierre Restany. Robert Malaval* ( 1937-1980 ) and Bernar (sic) Venet (born in 1941) are close to the group at that time with their works .

In the sixties, Ben Vauthier called Ben (born in 1935) becomes another famous figure, with his "happenings", street or theatrical actions. The shop he opens in street Tondutti de l' Escarène, is the centre of a great part of the artistic activity of Nice and the meeting place of numerous creators. The actions also take place in some cafés: Le Provence, Félix Faure or Le café de Turin. Ben and the members of the movement " Fluxus ", resume the line opened by the Dadaists with humour , provocation, logic of the absurd, written and painted assertions, short-lived acts, concerts, all this following one another with great panache and caustic eloquence. Close to this attitude, one finds Georges Brecht (born in 1925) or Serge Oldenbourg (born in 1927). The artistic and political stands express themselves in a ideal way in the context of the events of 68.

In the sixties and seventies, a third group may be identified in Nice: the group " Supports/Surfaces ". Some of the first essential demonstrations take place in Nice and in its region. The group has a political and critical reflection on the function of painting, on its methods of making and of presentation, criticizing the established places of the art market. In the first exhibitions, in the County of Nice, one finds artists as Claude Viallat (born in 1936), for a time professor in Nice, Patrick Saytour (born in Nice in 1935), André Valensi (born in 1947), Christmas Dolla (born in Nice in 1945), Louis Cane (born in Beaulieu in 1943), Bernard Pagès (born in 1940 and who works in Contes) or Marcel Alocco (born in Nice in 1937) who has always worked in Nice and who is the living memory of all these adventures.

Among the numerous artists working in the region of Nice, it is again necessary to quote: Louis Chacalis, Max Charvolen, Albert Chubac, Vivien Isnard, Claude Gilli, and some other.

The concept " School of Nice " may be considered as a concept with a very opened definition but, what is true, it is that a good part of the French modernity of the sixties and of the seventies developed at first in the region of Nice.


 

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