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.
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.
Being a fanatic for facsimiles, the journal is, for me, the most anticipated by the master of facsimile publishing. The Journal addresses Bauhaus pedagogy and projects of students and masters. At the time primarily addressed to the members of the “circle of friends of the bauhaus,” the journal published by Walter Gropius and L. Moholy-Nagy makes tangible the voice of the avant-garde. The individual issues come with a booklet featuring an English translation of all texts and an essay which places the journal in its historical context.
Lars Muller is also publishing reprint editions of Bauhaus Bucher. Although published as reprints over the past decades, they are not easy to find. These annotated reprints of printed materials from that period pays tribute to “the insights and innovations of the 20th century.”
Originally published in conjunction with the exhibition “The ABC’s of ▲︎●: The Bauhaus and Design Theory from Preschool to Post-Modernism,” at The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, April 8 – May 11, 1991, when Lupton was its curator. This rare beauty is among the early joint works of its illustrious editors. It is also an extremely important primer for anyone who knows the legend but not the story of the Bauhaus and its methods. The book was republished in paper in 2000. The Princeton Architectural Press new hardcover version is a standard for any design history class.