“László Moholy-Nagy was arguably the most versatile artist of the 20th century.”
- Elizabeth Siegel, curator at the Art Institute of Chicago
Thank you to all our backers for helping us hit our goal! In the final few days of the campaign we’re hoping to hit a new STRETCH goal of $50,000.
Often referred to as the “genius of all media,” László Moholy-Nagy worked in painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, film, typography, product design and exhibition design. Our film team has unprecedented access to the artist's estate as well as the New Bauhaus and Institute of Design archives to make this film about a key Bauhaus figure and his influence on American art, design, and culture.
When the Nazis shut down the Bauhaus school of design in Germany, Moholy-Nagy and many of his fellow Bauhaus Masters emigrated to the United States and brought their movement with them. In Chicago, Moholy added one more item to his vast repertoire when he founded America’s most influential midcentury school of design, The New Bauhaus.
As filmmakers behind acclaimed documentaries like Unfinished Spaces, Shield and Spear and Levitated Mass, we’re excited to come together to tell a story of an artist who was ahead of his time and is increasingly relevant today.
With the recent major retrospectives at The Guggenheim Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, and LACMA, Moholy is now receiving recognition he never received in his lifetime.
Through unique access to Moholy’s surviving daughter, Hattula, and the extensive archives of the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, our film becomes an emotional journey through this visionary’s life with never-before-seen footage.
The New Bauhaus is slated to premiere in 2019 to coincide with the global celebration of the Bauhaus’ centennial anniversary.
Over the last two years, we have filmed with subjects in Chicago, Ann Arbor, New York and Los Angeles, and conducted thorough research at archives around the globe. As we’re about to move into editing, we invite you to join our community and help support our film.
Who We Are
We’re a team of filmmakers with a shared background in art, architecture and design. We love telling stories of creative people who have an impact on society. Director Alysa Nahmias holds a degree in architecture and won an Independent Spirit Award for her debut feature film, Unfinished Spaces. Producer Erin Wright is the Director of Artist Initiatives at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Producer and Cinematographer Petter Ringbom ran a thriving design firm before moving to filmmaking and starting the production company Opendox together with our executive producer, Marquise Stillwell.
"It is not the person ignorant of writing but the one ignorant of photography who will be the illiterate of the future."
Why Make This Film?
The New Bauhaus is a film about art, vision, and perseverance in a tumultuous time. Through the life, philosophy and artwork of László Moholy-Nagy, we explore the idea that it is the journey that defines who we are – not the outcome. This film examines the relevance of Moholy’s art and his vision in today’s world of ubiquitous technology.
2019 will mark the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus. What an opportune time to examine the lasting legacy of one of the school’s most renowned masters.
Our film uses Moholy-Nagy and the evolution of his school as a lens through which we can ask questions relevant to design and art today:
What is the role of design and culture in civic life? What is the relationship between technology and design? How does immigration fuel American culture? Can art and design change the world for the better?
The New Bauhaus Merchandise
New Bauhaus Pencil Set
Moholy Media Mix
The Light Phone
Jan Tichy Photograms
Private Viewing: Moholy Artwork at LACMA
Art Paul Illustrations
Barbara Crane Photograph
László Moholy-Nagy Photographs
Kenneth Josephson Photograph
What is the Bauhaus?
A legendary school, a global movement, a promoter of modernity, a destroyer of beauty. There are many views on this mythical German art school that existed for no more than 14 years bookended by two world wars.
The Bauhaus’ core objective was a radical concept: to reimagine the material world to reflect the unity of all the arts: design, architecture and fine art. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius developed a craft-based curriculum that would turn out artisans and designers capable of creating both useful and beautiful objects.
Despite its brief existence, the influence of the Bauhaus continues to the present day all over the world. One could argue that the closure of the school by the Nazis, and the scattering of former students and faculty, actually helped to spread the Bauhaus methodology and increase the influence. With Bauhaus members like Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Josef Albers, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Breuer, Herbert Bayer, Victor Vasarely and Moholy-Nagy practicing and teaching all across the globe, that’s easy to see.
Alysa Nahmias, Director & Producer
Alysa’s directorial debut, Unfinished Spaces, garnered an Independent Spirit Award, numerous festival prizes, and was selected for Sundance Film Forward. Her producing credits also include Unrest, Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, and Shield and Spear. Alysa is a Sundance Institute Catalyst fellow. Her work has been shown at Sundance, SxSW, the Venice Biennale, and MoMA.
Petter Ringbom, Producer & Cinematographer
Petter’s documentary The Russian Winter followed musician John Forté’s Russian odyssey after release from prison. His film Shield and Spear examined freedom of expression in South Africa. Petter’s films have screened at Tribeca, IDFA and Moscow International Film Festival. He is a principal at Opendox.
Erin Wright, Producer
Erin is a producer and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She has produced films on John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Barbara Kruger, Ed Ruscha, James Turrell and Peter Zumthor that have been shown at Sundance, SXSW, and DOC NYC.
Miranda Yousef, Editor
Miranda Yousef, A.C.E. is a feature documentary editor with credits on films that have played Sundance, Tribeca, PBS and HBO. Credits include Academy Award winner Morgan Neville’s Troubadours and Academy Award winner Jessica Yu’s film Misconception; Inequality for All.
Marquise Stillwell, Executive Producer
Marquise is the executive producer for Shield and Spear. He is the founder of Openbox, a design consultancy that provides talent and resources into innovative ventures. He serves on the board of the Lowline Underground Park.
Ashley Lukasik, Co-Producer
Ashley Lukasik launched her design career at the Institute of Design executing the vision of design guru and longtime Dean, Patrick Whitney. Ashley has produced multimedia content and experiential programs for corporate and civic leaders around the world to connect design pedagogy with emerging technology and culture. She leads partnerships for Openbox design studio.
Co-Executive Producer: Walter Nathan
Co-Producers: Grace Colby, Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown
We have enlisted an impressive group of advisors with expertise on the Bauhaus and Moholy-Nagy. They are: Barry Bergdoll (curator at MoMA), Ellen Lupton (senior curator at the Cooper Hewitt), Hal Foster (professor of art history at Princeton University), Thomas Dyja (author of The Third Coast), Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee (architects at Johnston Marklee), Elizabeth Siegel (curator at The Art Institute of Chicago), and Hattula Moholy-Nagy (daughter of László and Sybil).
Where We Are With the Project
Your support goes a long way in helping us tell this story. We have shot over 20 interviews and numerous hours of vérité footage as well as images of artworks and significant architectural and design landmarks relevant to our film’s story.
We are set to film additional interviews and sites for our story in Chicago in October 2018. We aim to release this film in mid to late 2019.
Your contributions on Kickstarter will go towards making the film and bringing it into the world. Please follow us on social media for updates on the film’s progress -- links to subscribe and share are below. Stay tuned for more updates!
We’re proud to have the support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Terra Foundation of American Art and the David Schwartz Foundation.
Risks and challenges
Every film project has risks involving production and distribution. We are experienced filmmakers with a proven track record. Our films have played at festivals and venues such as Sundance, Berlinale, HotDocs, Lincoln Center, and MoMA. We have distributed our films theatrically and on Netflix, PBS, HBO, iTunes, Amazon, and more. Depending on festival and distribution negotiations, it is possible that the timing of our release to our backers may vary, but we commit to keeping you informed along the way and doing everything we can to make sure we get the film and other perks to you as soon as possible.
We're determined to share Moholy’s story with you and we appreciate your support in helping us finish a high-quality film that will be enjoyed by viewers around the world for years to come.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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