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Hungarian Art: Confrontation and Revival in the Modern Movement

Hungarian Art: Confrontation and Revival in the Modern Movement

By Éva Forgács

Insightful essays and rarely-seen images tracing, from birth to maturation, several generations of Hungarian modernism, from the avant-garde to neo-avant-garde. This wide-ranging collection by Éva Forgács, a leading scholar of Modernism, corrects long-standing misconceptions about Hungarian art while examining the social milieu and work of dozens of important Hungarian artists, including László Moholy-Nagy and Lajos Kassák. This book paints a fascinating image of twentieth-century Budapest as a microcosm of the social and political turmoil raging across twentieth-century Europe.

Éva Forgács is a brilliant guide to the history of modern and contemporary art in Hungary. These essays—whether appraising the achievements of Modern Movement heroes like László Moholy-Nagy or excavating the overlooked practices of neo-avant-garde artists of the 1970s and 1980s—combine deep understanding of modern art with a critical perspective on the many myths which have been attached to it. Hungarian modernism now seems far more vivid.
—David Crowley, Royal College of Art

The leading English-speaking expert on Hungarian art from the avant-garde of the pre-World War I years to the present, Forgács is as astute in confronting Hungarian politics and the nation’s cultural development as she is at elucidating the nature of the artworks themselves. A dazzling intellectual performance.
– Marjorie Perloff, author of Wittgenstein’s Ladder and The Vienna Paradox

Éva Forgács has a remarkable ability to condense her cosmopolitan breadth of scholarship into admirably coherent, easily comprehensible writing...We come away with the feeling that our time has been well spent indeed. Her publications exemplify art history at its best.
—Hattula Moholy-Nagy

Forgács' essays are shafts of light illuminating a complex terrain which is not only located at the center of Europe but, given the seismic political shifts that have occurred there, central to the history that defined the 20th century.
—J. Hoberman, author of The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism

A pioneering intellectual survey of Hungarian art in the long twentieth century. Populated by extraordinary figures such as Béla Balázs, whose dream of a great new Hungarian culture amounted to the founding of a new “religion of art,” this authoritative book repositions cultural giants such as László Moholy-Nagy, Lajos Kassák, and György Lukács within a series of fascinating interpersonal, philosophical and political fields. Forgács also entices readers to engage with a host of less well known artists and forgotten initiatives: the European School; the transcendentalist revivers of Malevich; the exponents of the postmodern ‘new sensibility’ of the 1980s; the post-socialist post-constructivists of the 1990s. She challenges canons and attacks key questions head on, provocatively exploring, among other things, whether or not “democracy grows under pressure.” The culmination of decades of sustained research, this erudite publication is an immensely precious resource and a vital contribution to the further exploration of the rich intertextual fabric of European art as a whole.
– Klara Kemp-Welch, Courtauld Institute of Art

320 pages
DoppelHouse Press, 2017
6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
ISBN  9780997003413

$32.95 $32.95