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.
We had a lot of fun selecting hand-related graphics from the collection to display in Hand Signals: Digits, Fists, and Talons. In fact, once we started looking for hands, we couldn’t stop finding them everywhere. “It’s Friday, gimme five!” you say? Well here are five works in the MoMA collection that don’t appear in Hand Signals, but that we think will come in handy (afraid we couldn’t resist the pun):
1. Giorgio de Chirico. The Song of Love. 1914
The eerie juxtaposition of objects in de Chirico’s still life evokes the bizarre logic of dream language. Surrealists were fascinated by the empty glove as a “soulless object,” devoid of its wearer’s hand and vital essence.
2. László Moholy-Nagy and Lucia Moholy. Untitled. c. 1926
“No photos please!” Moholy-Nagy’s hand almost obscures his face in this portrait, but the hand, with its unique fingerprints and expressive poses, can be just as much a marker of identity as the face.
3. Paul Colin. Gham-Bo. c. 1930
This mysterious poster by Paul Colin exhibits excellent “hand-eye coordination” and seems to reference the ancient symbol of the hamsa, an icon of an eye embedded in the palm of a hand, which is thought to ward off evil.
4. Karl Gerstner. Auch Du bist Liberal . 1959
Karl Gerstner’s politically charged poster gets right to the “point,” asserting that “you too are a liberal” in an aggressively reductive take on the Swiss graphic style.
5. Armin Hofmann. Stadt Theater Basel 63/64. 1963
Jazz hands! Hoffman’s great poster for the State Theater Basel really captures the hand in a range of dramatic gestures, ones we use every day to underscore verbal expression or to communicate without using language.