The Bauhaus’ experimental ethos is also exemplified in László Moholy-Nagy’s electrically powered swirling kinetic sculpture of metal, glass, and plastic titled “Light Prop for an Electric Stage.” A seminal work in the history of 20th-century sculpture, it was designed to cast shadows, colors, and patterns on an adjacent wall as its moving perforated discs and screens interacted with a beam of light. Intended to be mass produced for use in theaters, the piece was a revolutionary mix of art and technology when it debuted in a Paris exhibition in 1930. At one point, Gropius aptly described Moholy-Nagy as an artist who “ventured into ever-newer experiments with the curiosity of a scientist.”
Important figures in the field
While Moholy-Nagy and artists Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee are some of the names most often associated with the movement, the exhibit also highlights a range of less-recognized but prodigiously talented creators, designers, and instructors at the Bauhaus, many of them women. “We wanted to show the breadth and depth of the collection and foreground some of these lesser-known figures and their contributions,” said Muir.
One of those figures was Lucia Moholy, whose evocative black-and-white photograph “Bauhaus Masters’ Housing, Dessau, 1925-1926: Lucia Moholy and László Moholy-Nagy’s Living Room,” was, like many of her images, a sophisticated work of art and a polished promotional tool. “Through her photographs, the Bauhaus was constructing its image,” said Muir, “crafting a vision of modern living, something that was clean, uncluttered, and meant less work for the housewife.”