The documentary “The New Bauhaus” celebrates the legacy of versatile interdisciplinary artist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, perhaps best known for his photographs and stills, and the legacy of the school he founded in Chicago. The film, directed by Alysa Nahmias, shows that while Moholy-Nagy’s body of work may seem diffuse because it spanned mediums, it deserves to be considered one of the great artists of the 20th century – also important than Picasso or Magritte, says Elizabeth Siegel, curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The film argues that Moholy-Nagy was more concerned with the approach than the product; he taught his students biology, for example, seeking to give them new ways of seeing the world. He did not separate artistic activities from commercial interests or economic realities. The film explains how he turned metal rationing during WWII into an opportunity to rethink products. As it is told here, his influence and the work of his students are found in advertising, credits of James Bond films and in the form of a Dove soap.
The film features informative commentary from academics and in particular from Moholy-Nagy’s daughter, Hattula. Former student Beatrice Takeuchi says she found exposure to Moholy-Nagy too formalized – that he was messing around at his best. In a sense, she could refer to this movie, which shares the artist’s biography in a conventional way. But it is a good alphabet book, well illustrated.
The new Bauhaus
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 29 minutes. Rent or buy from Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.