I’ve been thinking about how the Fourth of July is as much a monument to summertime culture as to the ideals of equality, and what a disappointment it would be if Independence Day didn’t happen in the summer. Read more
Within my practical body of work I attempt to present the viewer with a glimpse into my personal memories and experiences living in South Africa at various stages of my life. Read more
The idiosyncratic and overlapping careers of Michael Powell (1905–1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902–1988) are arguably the strongest challenge to the auteur theory, which holds that a single artist, the director, is the primary creative force behind a film. Read more
How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works—all currently on view in The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden and the Painting and Sculpture galleries—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers—along with some information about each work—in one month (on Friday, August 5). Read more
I’m delighted to have my work included in the exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now at The Museum of Modern Art, and in MoMA’s collection. And I’m a real fan of what’s been done, and highlighted, in this show. Read more
Despite being one of the greatest film directors, Carl Th. Dreyer (1889–1968) will probably always be considered an acquired taste. His best films are much too austere and demanding for even many serious moviegoers. Read more
Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the Museum’s rich collection.
Even though there are advantages to living in this day and age—not dying of consumption or syphilis, transporting money in a wallet, rather than a wheelbarrow—I still fantasize about living in interwar Germany. Maybe it was far too many viewings of Cabaret as a child, but I’ve always carried an imagined nostalgia for the Weimar Republic (1919–1933): its loose social mores, the competing senses of optimism and doom, the passionate political struggles, and of course the edgy art and design. With MoMA’s German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse exhibition closing July 11, I thought we should have a look back at some of the great Weimar-era works in MoMA’s rich collection. This post is dedicated to Paul Jaskot, the professor who inspired my love of German art and design.
1. Unknown artist. Poster for Berlin, Die Sinfonie der Grosstadt (Berlin, Symphony of the Metropolis). 1927
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) lent a soundtrack to the Weimar Republic. This film, which MoMA screened in December 2010, portrays the life of a city mainly through visual effects and music, not narrative content. The impression it conveys of daily life in Berlin is dynamic, anxiety-ridden, cacophonous—and a helluva lot of fun!
2. Rudi Feld. The Danger of Bolshevism (Die Gefahr des Bolschewismus). 1919
This lithograph, included in German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, features a terrifying Death figure gripping a dagger in his teeth. The work reflects a common fear in the aftermath of the First World War—that the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia might spread to Germany, like a plague.
3. Marianne Brandt. Ashtray. 1924
The liberal Weimar Republic inspired a surge of radical experimentation in all the arts. Marianne Brandt was the head of the metal workshop at the German Bauhaus in Dessau from 1928 to 1929. The Bauhaus was a school, founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, famous for its visionary integration of technology, art, and design. This elegant ashtray from 1924 was based on pure geometrical forms, cylinder and spheres.
4. George Grosz. .a (recto): Circe .b (verso): Untitled. 1927
In this watercolor, also included in the German Expressionism exhibition, George Grosz critiques the ongoing economic disparities of Weimar society, in which the bourgeoisie could afford every pleasure—even the bodies of the lower classes. The unsentimental style of New Objectivity, pioneered by the likes of Grosz, Otto Dix, and Max Beckmann, emerged in Germany in the 1920s to rival the utopian and romanticized sensibility of Expressionism.
5. Oskar Schlemmer. Bauhaus Stairway. 1932
Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Stairway, an oil painting on canvas, depicts the interior of the Bauhaus. Schlemmer painted this work just one year before Hitler assumed power and the Nazis closed the visionary school. Schlemmer was among many Weimar-era artists persecuted by the Nazis for producing so-called “degenerate” art.
Each year, MoMA renews its commitment to experimental architecture and architectural display with a full-scale installation of a project chosen from a competition among virtually untried architects. In the galleries of the Museum, architecture collection masterworks and temporary exhibitions of computer- and hand-drawn architectural renderings, models, photographs, and films are regularly shown. But each year the outdoor spaces of MoMA PS1 provide a unique temporary outdoor gallery where emerging talents can turn projects and drawings into spaces and palpable experiences. Read more