Capitalist realism emerged in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1963 to contest the predominant influence of American pop art in the Western world.
Capitalist realism can be likened to German pop art because its artists shared an interest in mass media and everyday life. However, unlike pop art, its focus was on politics, not economics, with post-war Germany as its backdrop.
Key artists associated with capitalist realism included Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Manfred Kuttner, and Konrad Lueg.
This movement emerged during the Cold War, with its development closely tied to this era. Socialist realism was prominent in the Eastern Bloc, while pop art dominated the West, both catering to mass audiences. For artists in Berlin, straddling these contrasting artistic ideologies, capitalist realism was a reflection of their unique circumstances.