Engineer Agitator Constructor: The Artist Reinvented, 1918-1939
The Merrill C. Berman Collection
Jodi Hauptman, Adrian Sudhalter
“We regarded ourselves as engineers, we maintained that we were building things.” So recalled the German artist Hannah Höch, describing a radically new approach to artmaking in the interwar period that coincided with momentous shifts in industry, technology, and labor; watershed events such as World War I and the Russian Revolution; and the rise of fascism. Foregrounding innovators like Marianne Brandt, John Heartfield, Liubov Popova, and Aleksandr Rodchenko, Engineer, Agitator, Constructor examines the ambition to create new and dynamic art for a new world, an effort that still resonates today.
Engineer, Agitator, Constructor celebrates the recent transformative addition to MoMA’s holdings from the Merrill C. Berman Collection, one of the great collections of early-twentieth-century art and design. Essays by eminent scholars, conservators, artists, and poets consider the era’s revolutionary art forms, such as photomontage and the New Typography; the essential role of women in the avant-garde; and the networks linking these artists across geographic and ideological borders.