proliferation of wonders
László Moholy-Nagy Moholy-Nagy: Future Present, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, co-organized by LACMA, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and the Art Institute of Chicago / the showing I attended was the critic’s preview on February 8, 2017
As LACMA curator Carol Elliel suggested, moreover, Moholy’s personal life was almost as hectic as his art production. After beginning as a law student in Budapest, he served as an artillery office in the Austro-Hungary army during War 1, moved to Vienna in 1919 and on to Berlin in 1920, writing and designing for Berlin’s Der Sturm. From 1923-1928 the artist taught at the important avant-garde institution, Bauhaus, located in Berlin before moving to Dessau. With the rise of the Nazis he was forced in 1924 to move with his family to Amsterdam, before settling in England. By 1937 he had moved on to the USA, with an invitation from his Bauhaus colleague Walter Gropius to found the New Bauhaus: American School of Design in Chicago. Two years later it was the School of Design, subsequently becoming the Institute of Design, now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology.
My only complaint is that the galleries at LACMA, as gracefully designed as they are, seem so stuffed with these wonders that it is hard not simply to be distracted by one work next to the other or by other works across the way, making it difficult to focus on individual pieces for more than a few moments. But as I argue, with Moholy it is the proliferation of such wonders that helps to make us perceive just how significant of an artist he was, and this show, for the first time, truly reveals that fact.
For those members of the press in attendance at the preview, we were blessed by the attendance of Moholy’s daughter Hattula, a very young child at the time of his death, but who later put her father’s writings and art in order.
Los Angeles, February 9, 2017