At the Guggenheim, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy Stands for Every Modern Artist

MY DAILY PIC: A star of the Bauhaus recasts the world in its image.

MY DAILY PIC (#1599): The Guggenheim Museum in New York currently has up a giant survey of the great Bauhauser Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Looking at it gives amazing insight into what art and artists were coping with in the entire first half of last century.

As we watch Moholy moving from project to project, problem to problem, medium to medium, discipline to discipline, it feels as though he’s trying to translate the West’s entire visual culture into the new language of Modernism – which happens to be a language he’s inventing as he goes.

Today’s Daily Pic documents a stage design he did for Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in 1931. It shows him recasting an Edwardian warhorse in these new modern terms, thanks to giant manipulated photos and Japanese bamboo rethought as constructivist structure. I think it would still have seemed fresh and exciting in 1951. And 1971.

Frankly, I think it would be pretty thrilling to see this set come to life again in 2021. (Photograph by Lucia Moholy, collection of Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

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