The Museum of Modern Art announced Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented, a major exhibition that will present the political engagement, fearless and groundbreaking visual experimentation, and utopian aspirations of artists in the early 20th century. On view in The Robert B. Menschel Galleries from May 10 through September 12, 2020, Engineer, Agitator, Constructor will showcase the activities of historical avant-gardes, including galvanizing works of Dada, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Futurism, and Russian Constructivism, and highlights such figures as Aleksandr Rodchenko, Lyubov Popova, John Heartfield, and Hannah Höch.
Drawn from the Museum’s outstanding holdings from this period, the exhibition will mark a recent acquisition of more than 300 works from the Merrill C. Berman Collection, one of the most significant collections of early 20th-century works on paper in private hands. Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented is organized by Jodi Hauptman, Senior Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA, and Adrian Sudhalter, Consulting Curator, with Jane Cavalier, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA.
The historic acquisition in 2018 from the legendary Merrill C. Berman Collection transformed MoMA’s holdings of early 20th-century avant-garde art from Soviet Russia; Weimar Germany; the newly constituted Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia; the Netherlands; and Italy, securing the Museum’s position as the unmatched repository of art of this period. Containing both individual masterworks and rare contextual material, the Berman Collection at MoMA offers standout strength and unparalleled depth in its area. With its capacity to fill gaps and diversify modernism’s narratives, this acquisition is particularly urgent at this moment of the Museum’s expansion, offering exciting opportunities to share new and compelling stories, including those that are explicitly political, of the early 20th century.Continue reading