Happy Birthday Bauhaus
100 years old and still kicking: The Bauhaus, the legendary art and design academy that began in 1919 as a small arts and crafts school in Weimar, Germany, became the epitome of European Modernism (closed in 1933 by the Nazis, then revived as The New Bauhaus in Chicago), is the focus in Germany of a nation-wide centenary celebration.
In 1938 MoMA mounted the first of its kind exhibition “Bauhaus: 1919–1928,” an expansive survey of the influential German school of art and design.
As artnet news reports: “. . . through the work of architects and designers as well as artists including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, and Josef and Anni Albers. Bauhaus students studied new ways to work with materials and specialized in incorporating artistic concepts into a range of industrial media, crafts, and manufacturing. They believed in the synthesis of the arts and regarded the school as an experimental laboratory for the building of the future. Here, the Bauhaus credo was cemented: rather than a specific style, it represents an approach.”
Berlin and the Bauhaus
Money and politics forced the Bauhaus to uproot first to Dessau, where Hannes Meyer led the newly-opened architecture department and Walter Gropius realized his now world-famous university building. Then Berlin, in 1933, with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, just in time for the Nazi revolution.
“In addition to the dozens of shows, performances, and events planned to mark the centenary, all three Bauhaus cities are revamping their museums to mark the anniversary, with Weimar and Dessau celebrating new openings this year, followed by Berlin in 2022. Other rich programming across the country will explore not only the multifarious histories of the Bauhaus, but also the way the movement has informed how we live today, leaving its mark on everything from architecture to typography.”
Books and the Bauhaus
There are also various new books and exhibitions to underscore the landmark celebration. Two of my favorites are Lars Muller’s The Bauhaus Journal: Facsimile Edition and Abbott Miller and Ellen Lupton’s revised edition of The ABCs of ▲◼︎● [triangle square circle]: the Bauhaus and Design Theory.