Joyce Tsai discusses her book László Moholy-Nagy: Painting after Photography, in conversation with Klaus Ottmann, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at The Phillips Collection. This provocative book examines crucial philosophical questions László Moholy-Nagy explored in theory and practice throughout his career. Why paint in a photographic age? Why work by hand when technology holds so much promise? The stakes of painting, or not painting, were tied to much larger considerations of the ways art, life, and modernity were linked for Moholy and his avant-garde peers. Joyce Tsai’s close analysis reveals how Moholy’s experience in exile led to his attempt to recuperate painting, not merely as an artistic medium but as the space where the trace of human touch might survive the catastrophes of war. László Moholy-Nagy: Painting after Photography will significantly reshape our view of the artist’s oeuvre, providing a new understanding of cultural modernism and the avant-garde.
Joyce Tsai is Curator of Art at the University of Iowa Museum of Art and Clinical Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of Iowa.
Creative Voices DC is an initiative of the Center for Art and Knowledge to engage with the creative community of the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, consisting of panels, discussions, or lectures. Inaugurated in 2011 during the museum’s 90th anniversary year, it aims to bring together local visual artists, collectors, curators, writers, designers, and performers. Participants are encouraged to discuss the creative process, current work, and exchange ideas. The idea for Creative Voices DC aligns closely with what museum founder Duncan Phillips felt to be an important part of his life and of his institution: the unwavering appreciation and support of living artists. Phillips believed that “artists speak not only for themselves but for those of us who are intensely interested in other ways of seeing than our own.”