“Most renowned international modern artist ever to have resided in Chicago”

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy re-awakens the spirit for industrial abstraction far and wide and especially in Chicago. Several recount that his honorary exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago makes them feel that he has merely stepped out for a brief moment.

‘Future Present’ at the Art Institute of Chicago, continues to welcome viewers until January 3rd. Chicagoans are flourishing in abstract art and the influence Moholy-Nagy had over architecture in their city, including the founding of the New Bauhaus at the Institute of Design now a part of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Others at Guggenheim are found critically thinking about how to illustrate his concepts and endeavors into a simplified poster, which is not an easy feat considering the breadth of his contributions.

Matthew Witkovsky, the chair and curator of the Art Institute’s department of photography expresses his motive and pursuits while planning this exhibition. He worked alongside two other curators from the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Their aim was to reflect a full picture on Moholy-Nagy’s contributions to various disciplines and how they interrelate. By the way, Chicago isn’t shy of other famous abstract exhibits; Rifat Chadirji’s exhibition at the Graham Foundation is “an unlikely and unintentional companion piece to the Art Institute’s.”

When the camera and industrialization occurred, there was a new economical context; a new society and also a new class (the Bourgeoise in France who then had material power) with money to spend. Artists explored their own ideas and thus a different aesthetic was influenced as abstraction. During post-modernism, the context changed again; we put less attention to the artist’s skillset and their ability to represent or interpret reality. We began to let go of authorship, a signuature element, a major name. Collaborative processes became important, installation work became important. But there was always a debate because new ideas are always influenced by sociopolitics. | Bibiana Suárez, BFA, MFA SAIC

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