In 1925, 86 years after the invention of the daguerreotype, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy released the text Painting Photography Film as part of a fourteen book bauhaus manifesto. This eminently engaging text served as a call to action for experimentation in several mediums, particularly the win product key slowly evolving medium of photography. Moholy-Nagy begins his essay photography “Although it has spread enormously, nothing essentially new has been discovered in the principle and technique of photography since the process was invented.” An observation spawning a return to scientific explorations in medium and representation. Concepts proposed by Moholy and the Bauhaus resulted in a legacy that is still today transforming how vision shapes knowledge, as well as proposing less familiar forms of representation, setting the stage for the contemporary where the wide dissemination of imagery has left the familiar image less poignant.
When teaching in Chicago, I often think about Moholy-Nagy and his intense commitment to education and the experimental method. Forced out of the German Bauhaus Moholy-Nagy eventually came to Chicago beginning the short lived New Bauhaus, in 1937 and later starting the Institute of Design in 1939. The institute focused on liberating the creative potential of students through disciplined experimentation with materials, techniques and forms. The focus on natural and human sciences was increased, and photography grew to play a more prominent role at the school in Chicago than it had in Germany. These ideas of “disciplined experimentation” redefined artistic education, and the role of the teaching artist in the United States. In many ways Moholy-Nagy was the first true teaching artist, and the strong bond he created between artistic practice and education defines the present Chicago art community and much of what we do at Marwen.
JEREMY BOLEN is an artist and educator living in Chicago. He received his MFA from UIC in 2012. Bolen was included in GROUND FLOOR at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, in 2012 and exhibited at the UNITLED art fair in Miami, December 2012, with the Andrew Rafacz Gallery. He currently has a solo exhibition at Andrew Rafacz, Chicago. Bolen teaches at Marwen, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute Chicago.