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The Struggle for Utopia

Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-1946

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

276 pages | 107 halftones | 6-7/16 x 9-3/16 | © 1998

Art: Art--General Studies


Table of Contents

1: Visions of the Future: Rodchenko and Lissitzky, 1917-1921
2: Constructivism in Germany: Lissitzky and Moholy-Nagy, 1922-1923
3: Inventing the Artist-Constructor: Rodchenko, 1922-1927
4: The Politics of Form: Rodchenko and Moholy-Nagy, 1922-1929
5: Representing the Regime: Lissitzky and Rodchenko, 1930-1941
6: Design for Business or Design for Life? Moholy-Nagy, 1937-1946

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