The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-1946

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University of Chicago Press, 1997 - Art - 261 pages
Following World War I, a new artistic-social avant-garde emerged with the ambition to engage the artist in the building of social life. Through close readings of the works of Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, and László Moholy-Nagy whose careers covered a broad range of artistic practices and political situations, Victor Margolin examines the way these three artists negotiated the changing relations between their social ideals and the political realities they confronted. Focusing on the difficult relationship between art and social change, Margolin brings important new insights to the understanding of the avant-garde's role in a period of great political complexity.

"An ambitious effort. This book puts the masters of European Modernism into perfect focus as inventors, propagators, and practitioners of a visual language that continues to hold sway over contemporary graphic style."—Steven Heller

"Worth the wait. . . . Margolin usefully presents what he calls the 'failed hope' of this movement in this valuable effort."—Publishers Weekly
 

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Contents

ILLUSTRATIONS
ix
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
xiii
INTRODUCTION
1
VISIONS OF THE FUTURE RODCHENKO AND LISSITZKY 19171921
8
CONSTRUCTIVISM IN GERMANY LISSITZKY AND MOHOLYNAGY 19221923
44
INVENTING THE ARTISTCONSTRUCTOR RODCHENKO 19221927
80
THE POLITICS OF FORM RODCHENKO AND MOHOLYNAGY 19221929
122
REPRESENTING THE REGIME LISSITZKY AND RODCHENKO 19301941
162
DESIGN FOR BUSINESS OR DESIGN FOR LIFE? MOHOLYNAGY 19371946
214
EPILOGUE
253
INDEX
255
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