The Moholy-Nagy exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago is excellent. It stays open 'til Jan 3, 2017.
I barely knew of this artist before seeing this show. But upon entry, the first introduction text immediately struck me that this guy was way ahead of his time. And a lot of what he believed in art and a lot of what he did with his art is quite similar to those of my own, or at least what I'm trying to get at.
His work dabbled in a stunning variety of fields, including stage design, painting, advertising, writing, film... etc.
For Moholy, spectator and spectacle must be dynamic: both need to move around. This idea animates Light Prop for an Electric Stage, a rotating glass-and-metal sculpture that he created as the centerpiece for the Room of the Present. He came to the idea over several years, in musings on theater, gymnastics, and photography, among other subjects.
An electrified stage could have kinetic props. The Light Prop was accordingly constructed as a plug-in assemblage of mechanically rotating planes or objects, of varying translucence, surrounded by colored electric lights. As it turned the object would cast fantastic shadows that appeared fresh from every angle and at every phase of the rotation. here was a new way to make difference within repetition.
Moholy did not want the Light Prop itself to be seen. Instead, like the Berlin Radio Tower, it was a sculpture that virtually disappeared into its own possibilities of light and freedom. He placed the piece inside a black box, originally fronting it with a pane of darkened glass to make a projection surface, and he filmed close-ups of the piece in operation.
Theater and Exhibition Design
After leaving the Bauhaus, Moholy temporarily lessened his solo art activities and plunged into collaborative projects. Among other undertakings, he participated in around ten fairs or expositions and produced sets for three theater productions, all between 1929 and 1932.
Through these assignments Moholy became more taken with sculpture as a model (even in painting), and he also grew more fully committed to the total experience of space.
Moholy loved the idea of an art that could be useful and up-to-date. He had extolled commercial graphics as a field ripe for innovation during his Bauhaus years, and he actively sought commissions for book covers, marketing, and graphic design after leaving the school in 1928.