Weird Scenes from Wild Times

While Central Europe took a seeming break from wartime in the 1920s and '30s, photography took a big leap forward in the region. Just as graphic design became very boldly experimental between the two World Wars in countries like Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Austria, so did photography take on a new modernist energy -- reflecting Europe's seismic social and political upheaval as the currents of war simmered and then boiled over.

While Central Europe took a seeming break from wartime in the 1920s and '30s, photography took a big leap forward in the region. Just as graphic design became very boldly experimental between the two World Wars in countries like Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Austria, so did photography take on a new modernist energy -- reflecting Europe's seismic social and political upheaval as the currents of war simmered and then boiled over. But the dazzling imagery of this place and time has rarely been gathered into one big exhibition until now: The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is showing Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945 through September 3. Drawn from several dozen American and international collections, this exhibition includes photography by such artists as László Moholy-Nagy and Hannah Höch, as well as lesser-known innovators like Karel Teige, Trude Fleischmann, and Karel Kašpařík (whose captivating photo, "Why?" is above left). Definately worth a look-see if you're in D.C. For more details, check out the NGA Website. -- Jack Crager