Situating El Lissitzky: Vitebsk, Berlin, Moscow

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Getty Publications, 2003 - Art - 275 pages
Situating El Lissitzky reassesses the complex career of one of the most influential yet controversial experimental artists of the early twentieth century. A prolific painter, designer, architect, and photographer, El Lissitzky (1890-1941) worked with the Soviet and the European artistic avant-gardes in the 1920s and as a propagandist for the Stalinist regime in the following decade.

Taking readers into the thick of current debates about Lissitzky's artistic personae, Situating El Lissitzky reconstructs aspects of his elusive identity across different periods, places, and media. Following an introduction in which Nancy Perloff distills and draws together the volume's eight essays, Christina Lodder, �va Forg�cs, and Maria Gough offer revisionist accounts of Lissitzky's years as an international constructivist and exhibition designer in Europe. John E. Bowlt then investigates the role of handicraft and the symbol of the hand in Lissitzky's artistic production, and Leah Dickerman and Margarita Tupitsyn elucidate the interplay between physicality and opticality at different stages in Lissitzky's development as a photographer. Finally, T. J. Clark and Peter Nisbet address the disconcerting balance of aesthetic value and political expediency in Lissitzky's overtly Communist art. The result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Lissitzky as Bolshevik visionary, craftsman, modernist, internationalist, and Soviet propagandist.

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El Lissitzky and the Export of Constructivism
The Many Utopias of El Lissitzkys Proun Room
El Lissitzkys Dresden and Hannover
El Lissitzky and the Crafted Hand
El Lissitzkys Camera Corpus
El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich 19241929
El Lissitzky in Vitebsk
Two Propaganda Projects Reconsidered
Five Letters
Biographical Notes on the Contributors

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About the author (2003)

Nancy Perloff is collections curator of modern and new media collections at the Getty Research Institute.

Brian Reed is assistant professor of English at the University of Washington, Seattle.

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