“Easy to know that diamonds are precious. Good to learn that rubies have depth. But more to see that pebbles are miraculous.”
“For me, abstraction is real, probably more real than nature. I’ll go further and say that abstraction is nearer my heart. I prefer to see with closed eyes.”
“In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually.”
“If one says ‘Red’ and there are 50 people listening, it can be expected that there will be 50 reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.”
Anna & Joseph Albers in 1968. In 1933 they emigrated to the US where they founded the art dept at Black Mountain College. There she elaborated on the technical innovations she devised at the Bauhaus, developing a specialised curriculum that integrated weaving & industrial design
courtesy of Paul Brightwell @brightwell08
Homage to the Square
Intersection of Color
Glass, Color, and Light
- I helped my father who was a house painter and decorative painter. He made stage sets, he made glass paintings, he made everything. I was in the workshop and watched him. So as a child so-called art was not my view. That was, in my opinion, my father’s job. But I liked to watch him; he comes, as my mother also, from a very craftsman’s background. My father’s parents were carpenters. They were also builders partly. They were painters. And several of them were very, active in the theater and all such nonsense, you know. On my mother’s side there was much more heavy craft. They were blacksmiths. They made a specialty horse shoes and nails for them.. .So, as a child, my main fun was to watch others working. I loved to walk to the neighboring carpenter’s place and up to the neighboring shoemaker in my home town.
- I had to go to the Bauhaus to the basic course that was given by Itten. And I submitted to that although I was a little older than Itten. But I have not the best memories of my studies there. So when that course was over everyone had to exhibit his work and then it was decided whether or not one could continue. I was accepted to continue. But I wanted to go into a workshop and I wanted to make stained glass. That was my old dream. Glass pictures. But Itten thought I was not ready for that. Certainly to delay my study in glass, Itten said, ‘Glass painting is a branch of wall painting and you should go first to our wall painting workshop,’ And I said, ‘That’s nonsense. Wall painting has to do with reflected light and glass painting with direct light.’ So I said ‘Sorry, I’ll do my own stuff on my own.’ I had no money. Just a Rucksack and a hammer. And I started these assemblages. That was in 1921, But in all books on assemblages these things are not mentioned.
- This is what has Gropius the director made the Bauhaus famous. Not its lamps or its furniture. They are all out of fashion already. But the way of approaching formal problems or material as such, that has made it famous. And the emphasis on material, especially its capacity is my contribution. That was never cleared between us teachers. Kandinsky did what he thought should be done. Kleedeveloped an absolutely different method. Schlemmer developed absolutely something else. Klee was my so-called form master. In the workshops there they had a crafts master and a form master. The crafts master had to direct the practical work, the mechanics of the workshop. And the form master had to develop the, formal qualities. Klee was my form master in the glass workshop. He came to me and never criticized anything. He talked about something else. Never asked about any form problem with the windows I was working on. Never a word. He was too respectful. He was the nicest master I could ask for. He talked about exhibitions. He thought I should exhibit. That’s another story. We had a good relationship because we never dealt with the same problems. He didn’t attack our problems. He never brought up a problem.
- Duplicity in events: What happens here as new, happens somewhere else just the same way. That’s so exciting. That is one of the secrets of life. Why did I sometimes build a lamp in the Bauhaus and somebody comes from Holland and says, ‘Oh, somebody in Holland makes just the same lamp.’ Such duplicity shows that the time is ripe for a problem and thus it is in the air, and will be solved here – and there. With this we are finding the ‘creative process’, for which somebody is coming to ask me about. I would say, ‘I paint because I have no time not to paint.’ That’s my creative process.
“The enemy of photography is the convention, the fixed rules of ‘how to do.’ The salvation of photography comes from the experiment.”
“The organization of light and shadow effects produce a new enrichment of vision.”
“The reality of our century is technology: the invention, construction and maintenance of machines. To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century. Machines have replaced the transcendental spiritualism of past eras.”
“The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen.”
“Designing is not a profession but an attitude. Design has many connotations. It is the organization of materials and processes in the most productive way, in a harmonious balance of all elements necessary for a certain function. It is the intergration of technological, social, and economical requirements, biological necessities, and the psychological effects of materials, shape, color, volume and space. Thinking in relationships.”
“It cannot be too plainly stated that it is quite unimportant whether photography produces ‘art’ or not. Its own basic laws, not the opinions of art critics, will provide the only valid measure of its future worth.”
A II (Construction A II)
Gran pintura del ferrocarril (1920)
Artwork description & Analysis: Moholy-Nagy was fascinated by light throughout his career, and photograms offered the opportunity to experiment with the subtlety of light and shade. To create the photogram, he laid everyday objects on light-sensitive paper before exposing them to light. The brightness of the object’s silhouette depended on the exposure time – a longer exposure meant a brighter image. In this photogram a paintbrush lays over Moholy-Nagy’s hands, perhaps slyly suggesting the photogram is a medium of art that rivals painting.
Gelatin silver print – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Composition A 19 (1927)
Artwork description & Analysis: Moholy-Nagy’s first abstract paintings featured opaque geometric shapes reminiscent of Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist paintings, yet Composition A 19 shows him developing beyond that style into new interests in light and the transparency of forms. The cross motif that appeared in his earlier paintings is here enlarged and doubled, the red and black crossbeams overlapping each other with varying levels of translucency.
Oil on canvas – Art Institute of Chicago
László Moholy-Nagy is arguably one of the greatest influences on post-war art education in the United States. A modernist and a restless experimentalist from the outset, the Hungarian-born artist was shaped by Dadaism, Suprematism, Constructivism, and debates about photography. When Walter Gropius invited him to teach at the Bauhaus, in Dessau, Germany, he took over the school’s crucial preliminary course, and gave it a more practical, experimental, and technological bent. He later delved into various fields, from commercial design to theater set design, and also made films and worked as a magazine art director. But his greatest legacy was the version of Bauhaus teaching he brought to the United States, where he established the highly influential Institute of Design in Chicago.
The Bauhaus Years
In 1923, Moholy-Nagy co-taught the Bauhaus preliminary course with Josef Albers . This effectively marked the end of the school’s expressionistic leanings and moved it closer towards its original aims as a school of design and industrial integration. The Bauhaus became known for the versatility of its artists, and Moholy-Nagy was no exception. Throughout his career, he became proficient and innovative in the fields of photography, typography, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and industrial design.
One of his main focuses was photography, in which, from 1922, he was initially guided by the technical expertise of his partner and collaborator Lucia.He believed that the camera could create a whole new way of seeing the outside world that the human eye could not, and was the first interwar artist to suggest the use of scientific equipment, the telescope, microscope and radiography in the making of art. This theory encapsulates his approach to his art and teaching. With Lucia, he experimented with the photogram; the process of exposing light-sensitive paper with objects laid upon it. His teaching practice covered a diverse range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, photomontage and metal. He left the Bauhaus in 1928 and established his own design studio in Berlin. (Wikipedia)
Untitled (Muliple Portrait), c. 1927, part of the Light Of Art Exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague.
Picture: Folkwang Museum, Essen
Nuclear I, CH, 1945
Light Prop for an Electric Stage
Perhaps László Moholy-Nagy’s most enduring achievement is the construction of the “Lichtrequisit einer elektrischen Bühne” [Light Prop for an Electric Stage] (completed 1930), a device with moving parts meant to have light projected through it in order to create mobile light reflections and shadows on nearby surfaces. Made with the help of the Hungarian architect Istvan Seboek for the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition held in Paris during the summer of 1930, and after his death, it was dubbed the “Light-Space Modulator” and was seen as a pioneer achievement of kinetic sculpture. Given his intention for it, it might more accurately be seen as one of the earliest examples of Light Art.
Moholy-Nagy was photography editor of the Dutch avant-garde magazine International Revue i 10 from 1927 to 1929. He designed stage sets for successful and controversial operatic and theatrical productions, designed exhibitions and books, created ad campaigns, wrote articles and made films. His studio employed artists and designers such as Istvan Seboek, Gyorgy Kepes and Andor Weininger. After the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, and, being a foreign citizen, he was no longer allowed to work. He operated for a time in the Netherlands (doing mostly commercial work) before moving to London in 1935.
In 1937, at the invitation of Walter Paepcke, the Chairman of the Container Corporation of America, Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago to become the director of the New Bauhaus. The philosophy of the school was basically unchanged from that of the original, and its headquarters was the Prairie Avenue mansion that architect Richard Morris Hunt designed for department store magnate Marshall Field.
Unfortunately, the school lost the financial backing of its supporters after only a single academic year, and it closed in 1938. Moholy-Nagy was also the Art Advisor for the mail-order house of Spiegel in Chicago. Paepcke, however, continued his own support, and in 1939, Moholy-Nagy opened the School of Design. In 1944, this became the Institute of Design. In 1949 the Institute of Design became a part of Illinois Institute of Technology and became the first institution in the United States to offer a PhD in design. Moholy-Nagy authored an account of his efforts to develop the curriculum of the School of Design in his book Vision in Motion.
Moholy-Nagy died of leukemia in Chicago in 1946. Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest is named in his honour. The software company Laszlo Systems (developers of the open source programming language OpenLaszlo) was named in part in honor of Moholy-Nagy. In 1998, he received a Tribute Marker from the City of Chicago. In the autumn of 2003, the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, Inc. was established as a source of information about Moholy-Nagy’s life and works. In 2016, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York exhibited a retrospective of Moholy-Nagy’s work that included painting, film, photography, and sculpture.
“Traditions in music do not begin with the recent European centuries. They begin with the human race, in the deepest wells of wisdom.”
excerpt from The Ancient Magic essay by Harry Partch
“I have thrown the petty respectable life with all is comforts behind me after the effort to broaden and beautify it has destituted me and drained my stamina. All right–let me throw it behind without guile, without hoping either for a return to it or for a constant absence. After all, it did not request my efforts. The normal live body hopes for the respect and love of others, and enough of the world to bestow largesse. He hopes and he abandons hope by turn. In the first there is fire to live, but in the second there is greater peace.”
― Harry Partch,
“Encouraged by his mother, Partch learned several instruments at a young age. By fourteen, he was composing, and in particular took to setting dramatic situations. He dropped out of the University of Southern California‘s School of Music in 1922 over dissatisfaction with the quality of his teachers. He took to self-study in San Francisco’s libraries, where he discovered Hermann von Helmholtz‘s Sensations of Tone, which convinced him to devote himself to music based on scales tuned in just intonation. In 1930, he burned all his previous compositions in a rejection of the European concert tradition. Partch frequently moved around the US. Early in his career, he was a transient worker, and sometimes a hobo; later he depended on grants, university appointments, and record sales to support himself. In 1970, supporters created the Harry Partch Foundation to administer Partch’s music and instruments.