This represents the first exhibition that explores how the practice of painting served as the means for László Moholy-Nagy to imagine generative relationships between art and technology. Featuring a suite of paintings executed on traditional supports, as well as on new industrial materials like plastics and aluminum, this presentation highlights how Moholy’s deployment of painting served to synthesize the inter-medial practice for which the artist has become so renowned. Organized chronologically and thematically, this exhibition shows the evolution of Moholy’s thought and practice over his career but attends especially to the profound political and technological impact World War II had on him.
It is undeniable that Moholy made numerous declarations about the end of painting especially at the end of the 1920s. He demanded that artistic production reach beyond the confines of the walls of a bourgeois salon, museum or gallery. He advised artists to exchange brush, pigment, and canvas with camera, television, and searchlight. However, even as he made these radical claims, Moholy returned time and again to painting. In the early ‘20s, he painted a number of works against black grounds, some on highly-polished black wood panels, others on canvas, thickly varnished to mimic the qualities of industrial plastics he began working with at the Bauhaus in the metal workshop. He also experimented with materials developed specifically for aeronautics, with aluminum and later with clear, lightweight, increasingly shatterproof thermoplastics in the thirties and forties. These works in plastic stand at the interstices of his many artistic practices, mobilizing techniques and organizing principles drawn from printmaking, film, photography, sculpture, and crucially painting.
The exhibition was made possible through the generous support of the Tom and Charlene Marsh Family Foundation, Cecille Pulitzer, SBMA Women’s Board, an anonymous donor, Marcia and John Mike Cohen, Dead Artists Society, Susan Bowey, Gregg Wilson and John Maienza, The David Bermant Foundation, and The Moholy-Nagy Foundation. View the full press release here.
Flor Garduño, Basket of Light (Canasta de luz, Sumpango, Guatemala), 1989. Gelatin silver print. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Amory.
Looking In, Looking Out: Latin American Photography October 18, 2015 – February 14, 2016
The scenes of Latin American culture, politics, environments, and individuals are explored in depth in Looking In, Looking Out: Latin American Photography. This exhibition, drawn from the permanent collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, highlights works by Latin American photographers, or artists who have adopted it as home, so that those from outside the region may look into the lives of Latin America. Through the lens of nostalgia, propaganda, a populist aesthetic, and changing perspectives, the iconic and emerging photographers illustrate the diverse but often similar spirits of countries in the region.
Artworks from Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, and other nations, demonstrate the experiences and traditions of diverse cultures in Latin America as the photographers explore their history, navigate the present, and look to the future. Rather than a survey exhibition of photographs from each country, the images are selected singular views exhibited to engage viewers in the dynamic complexities but also the universality of Latin American life. The photographers capture their homes for their people, but if the outsider immerses the mind in the region one gets a fascinating glimpse into Latin America. Looking In, Looking Out: Latin American Photography reveals the sensitive and intimate relationship between photographer and home country.