PRINT December 2014

Hal Foster

AT A MOMENT when almost everything is collage and montage—with cut-and-paste the most basic operation on computers and image appropriation and object juxtaposition the most common procedures in art—it is a pleasure to reencounter the modernist origins of these devices. This is to be reminded of the subversive force they once had, especially in expert hands such as those of Hannah Höch (1889–1978), who wielded a kitchen knife with an acuity, at once aesthetic and political, like that of no other artist of her time (save perhaps John Heartfield) or since (except maybe Barbara Kruger). A stellar survey of her work was staged by Daniel F. Herrmann and Dawn Ades at the Whitechapel Gallery in London this past winter.

Importantly for Höch, photomontage was rooted in everyday forms such as jokey military postcards and tourist souvenirs (showing, for example, the head of an infantryman

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