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The Paintings of Moholy-Nagy: The Shape of Things to Come

Organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, this exhibition is the first to explore how the practice of painting served as the means for the artist to imagine generative relationships between art and technology. László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) is now recognized as one of the most influential members of the Bauhaus. While his legacy for later 20th-century art is typically linked to the photogram (a type of cameraless photography), the driving force behind this presentation is the relatively under-recognized role of the more traditional medium of painting throughout Moholy’s career, which is explored in a selection of 33 works of art ranging in date from the 1920s to 1940s, including paintings, works on paper, photograms, video projections, and a facsimile replica of Moholy’s prescient Light Prop?one of the first kinetic sculptures of its kind. The installation also includes a Kodachrome slide set (the latest in color photography innovation at the time), which comprises 12 luminous images.

 

Guest curated by art historian Joyce Tsai (University of Florida, Gainesville), the exhibition is organized chronologically and thematically, and is accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, distributed by Yale University Press. The presentation also includes educational interactives, related programming, and an unprecedented installation by high-end designer Alex Rasmussen of Neal Feay.

 

The exhibition was made possible through the generous support of the Tom and Charlene Marsh Family Foundation, Cecille Pulitzer, SBMA Women’s Board, an anonymous donor, Marcia and John Mike Cohen, Dead Artists Society, The Dwight G. Vedder Family, Susan Bowey, Gregg Wilson and John Maienza, The David Bermant Foundation, and The Moholy-Nagy Foundation.

 Photo credit:László Moholy-Nagy, Composition, n.d. (ca. 1922-23). Paper collage on paper. SBMA, Gift of Mrs. Charlotte Mack.

Photo credit: László Moholy-Nagy, CH For Y Space Modulator, 1942. Oil on yellow Formica, Collection Hattula Moholy-Nagy.