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Foto / Modernity in Central Europe

Foto - Modernity in Central Europe

When I was in Wash­ing­ton DC last month, I saw an incred­i­ble show at the Nation­al Gallery called Foto: Moder­ni­ty in Cen­tral Europe 1918–1945. As you may have guessed by the title, the show is pho­tog­ra­phy-ori­ent­ed, but it's more than that: It's a sto­ry about pho­tog­ra­phy craft, and the way that Euro­pean pho­tog­ra­phers bent, broke and oth­er­wise manip­u­lat­ed pho­tos to express the social, polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al frag­men­ta­tion (and chaos) in the wake of the First World War. Most of the artists were unknown to me; they're all intro­duced and dis­cussed in detail in the excel­lent exhi­bi­tion cat­a­logue. It opens at the Guggen­heim New York in October.

Birth of a robotThis is a pho­tomon­tage by a Pol­ish artist named Janusz Maria Brzes­ki. It's called Twen­ti­eth-Cen­tu­ry Idyll, but the name of the series is even bet­ter: A Robot Is Born. Pho­to: Nation­al Gallery of Art.
Jindrich Styrsky - SouvenirAnoth­er pho­tomon­tage, this one by Jin­drich Strysky, a Czech artist. Pho­to: Nation­al Gallery of Art