[Climbing the Mast]

László Moholy-Nagy American, born Hungary

Not on view

This exciting and unexpected view up the rigging of a sailboat, made on the Spree River near Berlin, is a prime example of Moholy's "new vision." Armed with a small hand-held camera and a free-wheeling spirit, Moholy made "bird's-eye" and "worm's-eye" views that transformed the pictorial conventions of perspective and posited a new way of experiencing and representing the world. His disorienting, topsy-turvy viewpoints viscerally communicated the dynamism of the modern world and paralleled the social revolutions of the Weimar Republic.

Moholy joined the faculty of the Bauhaus in 1923 as the director of the metal workshop and created the school's "preliminary course," in which he introduced photographic materials and techniques into the curriculum; a formal photography course was established in 1928. Perhaps because Moholy had credentials as an avant-garde painter, sculptor, and graphic designer but not as a professional photographer, he was unburdened by tradition as he set out to reshape the medium. His innovations included abstract cameraless "photograms," photomontages, negative prints, and a highly unconventional use of the camera.

[Climbing the Mast], László Moholy-Nagy (American (born Hungary), Borsod 1895–1946 Chicago, Illinois), Gelatin silver print

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