Robin Schuldenfrei, The Courtauld Institute of Art | Newberry

Robin Schuldenfrei, The Courtauld Institute of Art

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Chicago: City of Commerce and Design, 1890-1990 Seminar

Moholy-Nagy and the Materiality of Industry

When the newly emigrated László Moholy-Nagy encountered Chicago’s exhilarating built environment and its exceptional space of commerce—with its framework for the production, distribution, and movement of vast quantities of goods—he had already been evoking, from his earliest days in 1920s Berlin, the rationalization of industry for art. In Chicago, Moholy re-instigated the primacy of the three-dimensional object (at the new Bauhaus and in his own practice) and its representations, as surface and as light. This lecture seeks to understand Moholy’s engagement with Chicago, and the US, by tracing a long arc across Moholy’s investigations in ephemeral surface effects and the materiality of industry.

Please join us for a pre-seminar exhibit of Maholy-Nagy materials from the Bauhaus Chicago Foundation from 2pm to 3pm in the Smith Conference Room, adjacent to Towner Fellows Lounge.

Respondent: Liesl Olson, The Newberry Library

The Chicago: City of Commerce and Design, 1890-1990 Seminar is part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Scholarly Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.