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  2. Russian & German Interwar Constructivist Photography How was Russian & German formalism an “Armed Vision”? How, when and where did it become “disarmed”? NOTE: For the quiz next week be able to: Compare European and American interwar photography. Present the theses of Abigail Solomon-Godeau and László Moholy-Nagy from the two assigned readings

  3. (left) El Lissitzky Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919-20 (right) Soviet propaganda poster featuring the destruction of White Poland, 1919 Russian Constructivist form versus cartoon realist propaganda: Russian formalism’s “armed vision” failed to communicate to the “masses.”

  4. El Lissitzky, (left) agit-prop panel photographed on the streets of Vitebsk in 1920, reads:"The Machine tool depots of the factories and plants await you. Let's get industry moving." Compare with WW II Stalinist propaganda poster: “Stalin leads”

  5. Gustav Klutsis (Latvian Russian, 1895-1938), (left) The Electrification of the Entire Country, photomontage,1920; (right) Klutsis, The USSR is the Stock Brigade of the World’s Proletariat, photomontage, 1931(center) October Revolution marks the beginning of avant-garde modern art as part of the government propaganda bureau – “agitation and propaganda” (agitprop) Lenin in St. Petersburg after the storming of the winter palace, 1917 Modernist form employed for political propaganda

  6. Rodchenko, Dance, oil on canvas,1915 Varvara Stepanova (Russian, 1894-1958), declared in 1921: “Technique and Industry have confronted art with the problem of construction as an active process and not reflective. The 'sanctity' of a work as a single entity is destroyed. The museum which was the treasury of art is now transformed into an archive.” Rodchenko and Stepanova“ Art Engineers” and lifetime companions, 1920s Stepanova, Cubo-Futurist painting, c. 1915

  7. Alexander Rodchenko(left) Spatial Construction / Spatial Object, 1921(right) Rodchenko with spatial constructions, wearing industrial suit designed by Stepanova. Photograph by Mikhail Kaufman,1924

  8. (left) Alexander Rodchenko, Gathering for the demonstration in the courtyard of the VChUTEMAS (Higher Institute of Technics and Art), 1928(right) Vchutemas student constructivist exhibition, 1925

  9. (left) Cover page by Rodchenko for Vladimir Mayakovsky's book length poem, Pro Eto (About This), 1923. Rodchenko’s first photomontage Shostakovich, Meyerhold, Mayakovsky Rodchenko, rehearsing Klop, 1929 New music, theater, poetry, and art for the revolution

  10. Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) Guitar, Sheet Music and Glass, charcoal and papier collé, November 1912. New media of papier collé and collage pioneered by the cubists in the decade before WWI

  11. Dziga Vertov (Russian filmmaker1896-1954), Still from Man with a Movie Camera, 1929(right) Rodchenko, photomontage poster for Dziga Vertov film, Kino Eye, 1924 I am a kino-eye [film-eye]. I am in constant motion. I draw near, then away from objects, I crawl under, I climb onto them, I move apace with the muzzle of a galloping horse, I plunge full speed into a crowd, I outstrip running soldiers, I fall on my back, I ascent with an airplane, I plunge and soar …. - Vertov

  12. Rodchenko, Poster for film, Battleship Potemkin, by Sergei Eisenstein, 1925 Still from the Odessa steps massacre, famous scene in Battleship Potemkin

  13. Jan Tschichold, poster for Film und Foto exhibition, Stuttgart, 1929Exhibition of over 1000 photographic works from Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States, including movie stills, and demonstrating reciprocal uses of camera angles, montages, and superimpositions that were rapidly appropriated for mainstream movies.

  14. Rodchenko, Chauffeur – Karelia, 1933. Rodchenko makes his own presence obvious. “What is being stressed is the manifest presence of the means of production, and an implicit rejection of the notion of the photograph as either transparent or neutral.” - Abigail Solomon-Godeau, “Armed Vision Disarmed”

  15. 1928 Rodchenko, who gave up painting for photography in 1927, bought himself a Leica which, because of its handy format and quick operation, became his preferred tool for his work. This camera enabled him to realize his ideas of unusual camera positions, severe foreshortenings of perspective, and views of surprising details. "One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again.“ -Rodchenko Alexander Rodchenko, On the telephone, 1928

  16. Shukhov tower – “a symbol of collective effort” – was designed to be 350 m in height. But it required 2200 tons of steel. Young Soviet Russia did not have enough metal. Thus Shukhov had to decrease height to 150 m. Lenin personally ordered 240 tons of high quality German Ruhr steel from military stocks. Vladimir TatlinMonument to The Third International, l920, Rodchenko, Shukhov Radio Tower, 1928 TOWERS OF COMMUNIST ASPIRATION

  17. El Lissitzky (Russian 1890-1941)(left) The Constructor, 1924, photomontage - the new artist-engineer (right) El Lissitzky, Proun 1d, 1922, oil on canvas

  18. (left) Rodchenko, Shukhov Radio Tower, 1928(right) László Moholy-Nagy (American, born Hungarian, Constructivist artist, ca.1895-1946), Untitled (View from the Berlin Radio Tower onto chairs and tables), ca.1928 The “New Vision” = functionalism and technologism

  19. (left) László Moholy-Nagy, Balance study, 1924, wood and metal, reconstruction 1967 (center) László Moholy-Nagy and Lucia Moholy, Portrait of Moholy-Nagy, 1932(right) Moholy-Nagy, AXXV, oil on canvas,1926 “In 1922 I ordered by telephone from a sign factory five paintings on graph paper. At the other end of the telephone the factory supervisor had the same kind of paper divided into squares. He took down the dictated shapes in the correct position.” Moholy-Nagy, whose last paintings rejected the medium’s ethos of originality and subjectivity. LászlóMoholy-Nagy as Bauhaus master and “artist engineer” “The New Vision” = Machine aesthetics

  20. The Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany, designed by German architect, Walter Gropius. In 1923 Moholy Nagy was hired to instruct the metalwork shop, marking a shift from craft to mechanical production. The same year (1923) the school slogan was changed from “A Cathedral of Socialism” based on the Medieval cathedral workshop (bauhaus) to “Art and Technology – A New Unity” based on the machine-production-industrial aesthetic “The New Vision”

  21. László Moholy-Nagy, Photogram, ca. 1924. The medium is the light-sensitive paper. No camera.“The photogram, or camera-less record of forms produced by light….opens up perspectives of a hitherto wholly unknown morphosis …. It is the most completely dematerialized medium which the new vision commands.” - - Moholy-Nagy, “From Pigment to Light,” 1936 “Formalism for Moholy signified above all the absolute primacy of the material, the medium itself.”

  22. Abstract seeing by means of direct records of forms produced by light; the photogram… Exact seeing by means of the fixation of the appearance of things: reportage Rapid seeing by means of the fixation of movement in the shortest possible time: snapshots Rapid seeing by means of the fixation of movements spread over a period of time… Intensified seeing by means of … micro-photography Penetrative photography by means of X-rays: radiography… Simultaneous seeing by means of transparent superimposition: the future process of automatic photomontage Distorted seeing… Camera vision was privileged because it was deemed superior to normal vision – a prosthetic eye. Moholy-Nagy’s definition of “Camera Vision”“…the political implications of Russian formalist photography were sheared away from the body of New Vision photography” in Germany (Solomon-Godeau)

  23. (left) Moholy-Nagy, Bauhaus Balcony, 1926(right) Rodchenko, Gathering for the demonstration in the courtyard of the VChUTEMAS (Higher Institute of Technics and Art), 1928 “The New Vision”

  24. Moholy-Nagy, Chairs at Margate, 1935, gelatin silver print diptychMultiples like mass production = machine aesthetic

  25. László Moholy-Nagy, Light Prop, 1930In 1937, at the invitation of the Chairman of the Container Corporation of America, Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago to become the director of the New Bauhaus and in 1939, the Chicago School of Design. In 1944, this became the Institute of Design. Still from Light Display: Black-White-Gray Moholy-Nagy

  26. Rodchenko, White Sea Canal, 1933Commissioned by Stalin to document the construction of the canal, Rodchenko did not record the use of forced labor, nor the deaths of thousands of workers at the site.

  27. Berlin DadaFirstDada Fair, Berlin, 1920

  28. Raoul Hausmann (Austrian Dadaist active in Germany, 1886-1971), Tatlin at Home, 1920, photomontage, Berlin Dada According to Hausmann, the Dadaists agreed on the term “photomontage” because of “our aversion at playing the artist and, thinking of ourselves as engineers … we meant to construct, to assemble our works.”

  29. Hannah Höch (German, 1889 - 1978), Cut With the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919, Berlin Dada Raoul Hausmann & Hannah Höch at 1920 Berlin Dada Fair (right) An “Armed Vision”

  30. (left) Hannah Höch, Pretty Woman, 1920, photomontage, Berlin Dada(right) Hannah Höch, Dada Ernst, 1920, photomontage, Berlin Dada

  31. John Heartfield (BornHerzfelde,German, 1891-1968) front covers of the newspaper AIZ (Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung / Workers’ Illustrated Newspaper), all 1932-33(left) The Butcher Goering; (center) Millions Stand Behind Me; (right) Hurrah, The Butter is Gone! Berlin Dada An “Armed Vision”

  32. On 10. May 1933, 20.000 books were burnt in the then Opernplatz, later Bebel Platz, adjacent to the Opera House. Among the authors whose books were burnt were Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig, Erich Maria Remarque, Heinrich Mann, Albert Einstein, H.G. Wells, Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Helen Keller, Andre Gide, Marcel Proust, Emil Zola, Sigmund Freud. Arthur Kampf (German, 1865-1950) January 30, 1933 (election night in Berlin) Book burning, Berlin, May 10, 1933 "Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings."   -  Heinrich Heine

  33. August Sander (German, 1876-1964), Brick Carrier (left), and Cook (right) 1928from the Face of Time portfolio

  34. August Sander, Wandering People from portfolio, Citizens of the 20th Century, 1930 Sander’s archive of German “types” was censored by the Nazis as “decadent.”

  35. Albert Renger-Patzsch (German 1897 – 1966), New ObjectivityIrons Used in Shoemaking, Fagus Works, c. 1925 (left) and Foxgloves, c. 1925 (right)

  36. Hans Haacke, German, b.1936, "Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time System, as of May 1, 1971" 1971: 142 photographs of New York apartment buildings, 2 maps of New York's Lower East Side and Harlem with properties marked, 6 charts outlining business relations within the real estate group. Contemporary German Conceptual Photography That “Imposes Order” = Typology

  37. Bernhardand Hilla Becher (German, born 1931 and 1934 respectively) Conceptual (typological) photography(left) Gas Tanks, 1963 (right) Water Towers, 1980, 9 b/w photographs mounted on board, 62inH overall

  38. Thomas Struth (Germany, b.1954, student of Bechers) Shinju-ku (Skyscrapers), Tokyo, 1986 (right) Ferdinand-von-Schill-Strasse, Dessau, 1991

  39. Candida Höfer,(Germany, 1944, student of Bechers) (left) Stiftsbibliothek Klosterneuburg III, 2003, C-print, 68 in. H(right) Ca' Rezzonico Venezia II, 2003, C-print, 74 in. Width

  40. Thomas Ruff (German, b.1958), House #9 II, 1991, 72 in. Hone of series taken in early morning, apartment blocks in Eastern Germany

  41. Thomas Ruff, (left) Portrait, 1989, 63in. H(center and right) from Portrait series, 2001, conceptual typologies“absolute objectivity” like passport photos except for scale '... Like archetypal passport photos... young people with dead eyes and empty faces.' Ruff

  42. California Modern: Group f/64 “The members of Group f.64 believe that photography, as an art-form, must develop along lines defined by the actualities and limitations of the photographic medium, and must always remain independent of ideological conventions of art and aesthetics that are reminiscent of a period and culture antedating the growth of the medium itself.” - Group f/64 Manifesto Precisionist aesthetics Willard Van Dyke (American 1906-1986), Cement Works, Monolith, California, 1931, Gelatin silver printVan Dyke organized Group f/64

  43. (left) Edward Weston (American 1886-1958), Pipes and Stacks: Armco, Middletown, Ohio, 1922. Co-Founder of Group f/64 (right) Charles Sheeler, Crisscrossed Conveyors, River Rouge Plant, Ford Motor Company, 1927 Precisionist machine aesthetic derived from Cubism and Realism

  44. Auguste Rodin, Walking Man, 1906 “seeing of parts – fragments – as universal symbols” - Weston Edward Weston,Neil, 1922, platinotype A series of photographs of his son Neil Modernist fragmentation

  45. (left) Edward Weston, Neil, 1922, platinotype. Weston based these photographs on a classical sculpture of a male nude, Eros, made by the Greek sculptor Praxiteles in the 4th C. BCE. (right) Sherrie Levine, Neil, 1981, By simply making a copy of a pre-existing copy - Levine subverted modernist “originality.”Postmodern appropriation art

  46. Edward Weston, Excusado, 1925, gelatin silver print “My excitement was absolute aesthetic response to form. For long I have considered photographing this useful and elegant accessory to modern hygienic life…. Here was every sensuous curve of the ‘human form divine’ but minus imperfections…Never did the Greeks reach a more significant consummation to their culture” Weston, Nude, 1936

  47. (left) Edward Weston, Maguey, Mexico, 1926, gsp(right) Tina Modotti (Italian,1896 -1942), Mexico, 1925, platinum print

  48. Edward Weston, Pepper # 30, 1930, gsp

  49. “To clearly express my feeling for life with photographic beauty, present objectively the texture, rhythm, form in nature, without subterfuge or evasion in technique or spirit, to record the quintessence of the object or element before my lens, rather than an interpretation, a superficial phase, or passing mood – this is my way in photography. It is not an easy way.” - Edward Weston, 1927.

  50. Edward Weston, Shells, 1927. Gsp. (right) Henry Moore (British Abstract Sculptor, 1898-1986), Embrace, bronze, c.1925 Seeking the essence of form