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webpick of the week

The Moholy-Nagy Foundation

Art/Creative, Public Service

Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) defies categorization, having produced influential work in photography, film, typography, painting, sculpture, graphic design and stage design. Moholy-Nagy was a professor at the German Bauhaus school in the 1920s, and is known as much for his teaching and theoretical work as his art. “[The] reality of our century is technology: the invention, construction, and maintenance of machines,” Moholy-Nagy wrote in 1950. “To be a user of machines is to be of the spirit of this century.” It is only fitting, then, that Moholy-Nagy’s life and work be immortalized in an exceptional website. The site was created through the Moholy-Nagy Foundation and designed by the organization’s director Andreas Hug, who sought to capture the artist’s technological prescience and innovative spirit. “I wanted the site to exude a modern aesthetic that appeared to have evolved from the Bauhaus era,” Hug says; “a continuation of what might have been, had the period had modern design software available.” The other primary design concern was helping users navigate the vast amount of content without having to dig for what they wanted. User testing was a critical step in the process, and led to the decision to allow users to sort the content according to what is most relevant to them. The site features an interactive art database, a chronology of Moholy-Nagy’s life and work and a “photo album” that acts as a visual biography of the artist’s personal life. For the back end of the site, Hug worked with developer Shelly Baldwin, who used WordPress and MySQL along with a PHP back end and extensive Javascript. Custom code was combined with jQuery libraries to build interactive features such as the art database and user-driven sorting.