Oliver Botár at the 34th György Ránki Hungarian Chair Conference

This last Saturday, April 15th, Prof. Oliver Botar gave a paper at the 34th Gyorgy Ranki Hungarian Chair Conference held at the Department of Central European Studies of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

The topic is “MA/Today — 100 Year After: The Impact of the Hungarian Avant-garde.” The conference was attended by scholars from Hungary, Canada and the United States, and included papers on a variety of subjects, including film, dance, workers’ choruses, fine art, photography, music and architecture. His paper was entitled:

Our Representative in Germany: László Moholy-Nagy

Abstract: In the 25 April 1921 issue of MA [Today], the Hungarian avant-garde journal published in Vienna by Lajos Kassák, László Moholy-Nagy, resident in Berlin since April 1920, was indicated as being the journal’s “representative in Germany.” He continued to be indicated as such until the 1 July 1922 issue of the journal.

The intervening period represented the journal’s high point during its Viennese exile, a period during which work by many of the most important artists operating in Berlin and beyond appeared in the journal, including Alexander Archipenko, Richard Huelsenbeck, Hans Arp, Lazar el Lissitzky, Georg Grosz, Theo van Doesburg, Ivan Puni, Hans Richter, and Viking Eggeling. The series of articles by Raoul Hausmann on the extension of our sensory capabilities was the most important of its kind to appear in any journal up to that time. Moholy-Nagy was responsible for soliciting most of this material, and a lot of it appeared in Kassák and Moholy-Nagy’s jointly edited anthology The Book of New Artists, which appeared just after this period of intense collaboration ended, in September of 1922.

In this presentation, I will trace the development of Kassák and Moholy-Nagy’s collaboration, and meditate on its implications for both of their careers, particularly that of Moholy-Nagy, for whom this role served as a conduit to meeting some of the most important artists of the era, and for whom it offered first-hand experience in editing a multi-disciplinary publication, which served him well for the remainder of his career.

-Abstract from the conference program that can be found here.

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