Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s Battle with the Swastika

THE DAILY PIC: The Bauhausian's only piece of furniture had an unlucky shape.


THE DAILY PIC: This bench was designed in the late 1920s by the great Bauhausian László Moholy-Nagy, and it has been refabricated for the show of his work at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York. It seems that, despite his links to Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe, both chair-meisters extraordinaire, this is the only piece of furniture that Moholy produced. And wouldn’t you know it, within a few years the Nazis had stolen its ancient shape for their logo, giving evil resonance to Moholy’s innocent seat. It’s often said that museums and galleries elevate whatever is shown in them; here’s hoping a gallery setting can also remove a taint. Moholy’s bench will never get to Design Within Reach, or welcome a mass public’s rears, but at Rosen it gives rest at least to the eyes. Its presence also functions, I think, as a repudiation of the Nazi symbol: It shows that the Moholy’s grace has outlived Hitler’s evil.

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