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György Kepes

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György Kepes

American, (1906–2001)
György Kepes was a Hungarian-born painter, designer, educator and art theorist. His father managed a farm estate before the family moved to Budapest, in 1914; Kepes’s childhood exposure to peasants’ poor working conditions later influenced the socially conscious themes in his artwork. From 1924 to 1928 he studied painting at Budapest’s Academy of Fine Arts and joined Lajos Kassák’s Munka (Work) circle of artist-activists, where he was introduced to Russian Constructivism. In 1930 he began working with László Moholy-Nagy in Berlin on commissions for opera stage designs, advertising, and graphic design. From 1935 to 1937 their collaboration continued in London, where Kepes met and married Juliet Appleby, a book designer. In 1937, at Moholy-Nagy’s invitation, the couple moved to Chicago, where Kepes directed the Light and Color Workshop at the New Bauhaus. At the New Bauhaus, and beginning in 1945 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he experimented widely with optics in photography, developed a curriculum to integrate science and art, and initiated large-scale public light installations. In 1967, at MIT, he founded the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, which he directed until his retirement in 1974.

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