This summer Hilde Heynen’s long awaited book on Sibyl Moholy-Nagy was published, both in English (with Bloomsbury – https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/sibyl-moholy-nagy-9781350094116/ ) and in German (with Sandstein – https://verlag.sandstein.de/detailview?no=98-463 ). The English version is expensive, but the German one very affordable.
A major voice in the architectural culture of the fifties and sixties, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy was uniquely engaged with modernism and modernity. As the wife and collaborator of László Moholy-Nagy, she was expected to provide him with the material that was crucial for his modernist mission, whilst trying to carve out her own subjectivity as a writer. As an architectural critic she was one of the early voices articulating doubts about the path modernist architecture was taking, demystifying the myths of the masters, Mies, Le Corbusier and Gropius, and questioning their heroic, masculinist approach.
This book analyzes the significance of the life and work of Moholy-Nagy and explores the paradoxical aspects of the relationship between modernism and feminism. Published as part of the Bloomsbury Studies in Modern Architecture series, which brings to light the work of significant yet overlooked figures in modernism, it is both an examination of her work and legacy, and also a study on the roles of gender and of the changing nature of modernism in its trajectory from Europe to America.
Drawing on personal papers, diaries, letters and lecture notes, as well as personal interviews with relatives, colleagues and students, this study brings to light the significance of the life and work of a remarkable woman.