Ends June 13, 2016
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York City
The artist and designer El Lissitzky conjured the idea of “the electro-library” in a brief manifesto on typography in 1923. The phrase suggested a shifting context for the typography being generated by avant-garde designers and artists in Europe in the 1920s. Closely linked to the ideas of Constructivism and related movements that proposed a universal visual language, this new typography was commonly transmitted by experimental magazines devoted to the visual arts, design, architecture, theater, and film. Created by individuals central to these modernist movements—El Lissitzky, Kurt Schwitters, László Moholy-Nagy, Hans Richter, Theo van Doesburg, Lajos Kassák and Karel Teige—the magazines read as manifestos for new art and design innovations and functioned as a platform for translated writings by key figures of the international avant-garde. This exhibition surveys the MoMA Library’s extensive holdings of these magazines and traces this network of protagonists as they developed a new design language for the printed page.