The New Bauhaus

Public Programs

  • Opendox

Forthcoming fall 2018

Hattula Moholy-Nagy with a photograph of her father and Walter Gropius. Image from The New Bauhaus courtesy of Opendox. Photographer: Petter Ringbom.

As the Nazis took over Germany, many displaced Bauhaus masters found refuge in the United States. So too did László Moholy-Nagy, who in 1937 arrived in Chicago where he established what many now consider America’s most influential mid-century school of design. The New Bauhaus is a documentary film exploring the artistic practice and legacy of László Moholy-Nagy, with particular focus on his time spent as founder and director of the New Bauhaus (later the School of Design and currently the IIT Institute of Design) in Chicago during the 1930s and 40s.

The school was far from successful initially, but through its various incarnations, Moholy-Nagy and his New Bauhaus forever transformed design, photography, and arts education in America. Running 90 minutes in full, the documentary features original interviews filmed with members of Moholy-Nagy’s family; his colleagues and contemporaneous practitioners and patrons of design (e.g., Walter Gropius, Walter Paepcke, and Mies van der Rohe); cultural historians and curators (e.g., Thomas Dyja and Matthew Witkovsky); and contemporary artists (e.g., Theaster Gates, Kenneth Josephson, and Barbara Crane). It also extensively uses images of art objects and archival materials for context, such as newsreel footage of early-20th century Germany and original filmed footage of ephemera and artworks created by interview subjects, photographs, diaries, and other items.