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Heartfield, John

John Heartfield. Photography plus Dynamite


With designs for book jackets, magazines, and political pamphlets, John Heartfield (1891–1968) established himself as Berlin’s most innovative graphic designer of the Weimar period. While he was initially associated with the Dada movement, his affiliations with the communist party and the rise of Nazism eventually led him to change his approach, shifting his artistic output to spreading messages and fighting political opponents. Dissecting and reassembling press images with great verve and humor, Heartfield created photomontages that aimed to reveal the bitter truths of contemporary politics to a mass audience. Oscillating between innovative graphic design, agitation, and political propaganda, Heartfield was trully cutting-edge. This lavishly illustrated volume draws on the rich collection of Heartfield’s work found in of the Akademie der Künste’s archives, given to the museum by Heartfield himself. In this book we see the full scope of Heartfield’s artistic output, and we get insight into some lesser-known aspects of his oeuvre, such as his theater designs. In addition, a plethora of archival material illuminates Heartfield’s ideas, biography, and creative network, while statements on his work by contemporary artists and thinkers raise crucial questions about the function of political art and “fake news.” The resulting volume reveals the artist firmly embedded in his own time even as his work has particular resonance in our own.

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