Culture, High and Low

It isn’t as though you exactly need a reason to visit the Getty Center. But for those in search of one, we can recommend a gem of an exhibition: the display of works by the famous Russian Jewish artist El Lissitzky (1890-1941).

Lissitzky was a major figure in the explosion of Russian art in the 1920s and 1930s. He was involved with Malevich and the Russian suprematists; he was inventive in the use of graphics and typography (including Hebrew letters and symbols); and he became a leader in applying art and architectural principles to book design and lithography. Some of his geometric abstractions are a delight to behold.

What gives this show a particular poignancy is that it moves between the playful, inventive abstractions and a series of Jewish book illustrations. The work calls to mind Chagall in its representations of Jewish folk culture.

The show was organized by Nancy Perloff, curator of manuscripts and archives of the Getty Research Institute and Eva Forgacs, an art historian at Art Center, who worked as a special consultant.

Take Note: The exhibit is housed in the Getty Research Institute galleries, directly across from the art museum. The show runs through Feb. 21, 1999. &’009;&’009;— Staff Report