German artist Oskar Schlemmer may be popularly known for his paintings, but at the Bauhaus he was the Master of Forum at their theater program—and he produced some unforgettable costumes and performances. Look no further than this modern rendition of his Triadic Ballet (Triadisches Ballett). Now, a performance inspired by Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet is coming to the Mana Contemporary space in Jersey City, New Jersey nightly from November 19 to November 22. The performance—dubbed Virtually There—has been curated by Roya Sachs and Mafalda Millies, both Performa Visionaries (Performa is a non-profit arts organization and proceeds from the show will go toward its ongoing efforts to support live performances). The costumes of Virtually There were crafted by the Campana brothers, two Brazilian designers renowned for their ability to re-use and recycle materials in their works. Those interested can find tickets here; the website says shuttles are available to and from Mana Contemporary.
Posts tagged with "Bauhaus":
Bauhaus, a new digital resource devoted to the influential school of art and design, gives users access to more than 32,000 objects from across the 14 years that the Bauhaus existed. The collection includes textiles, photographs, class notes, paintings, and ephemera by the likes of Josef and Ani Albers, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, and others. The objects were originally gathered by Bauhaus founder and Harvard professor Walter Gropius to help demonstrate the influence the school had on American design. The digital collection will lead to a major exhibition in 2019, which is the centennial anniversary of the Bauhaus. “The Busch-Reisinger Museum’s Bauhaus-related holdings make up nearly three-fourths of its total collection,” said Lynette Roth, Daimler curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum at the Harvard Art Museums in a press release. There are currently five sections to the collection: “Holdings,” which groups the artifacts by media, discipline, theme, designer, etc., “The Bauhaus and Harvard,” an essay that explains the relationship between the two schools, an annotated map of Boston that marks the institutions and architectural points of interest related to Gropius and the Bauhaus, a chronology of the school’s activities, and a bibliography of archives, exhibitions, and other resources. “We wanted to create a central place to organize the Harvard Art Museums’ Bauhaus materials to help students, scholars, and the public find their way through the collections and discover new artists and objects,” said Robert Wiesenberger, the 2014–16 Stefan Engelhorn curatorial fellow in the Busch-Reisinger Museum at the Harvard Art Museums in a press release. “In short,” Wiesenberger added, “to make good on the founding promise of this being a study collection.”
Israel has one of the largest concentrations of modernist architecture in the world. Much was built before the state of Israel even came into existence, during the British Mandate period, from 1923-1948, when political upheaval in Europe brought a new generation of modernist-trained architects to cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem. This extraordinary collection of architecture is the subject of the Israel Museum’s current exhibition, Social Construction: Modern Architecture in British Mandate Palestine. The show, inspired by the research of architects Ada Karmi-Melamede and Dan Price, and curated by Israel Museum Chief of Exhibition Design Oren Sagiv, uses an impressive collection of photos, drawings, and other resources, to analyze the built forms created by famed Bauhaus disciples like Eric Mendelsohn and Richard Kaufmann as well as by those trained in the newly emerging modernist language throughout the world. What they created, the show demonstrates, was something altogether original. It wasn't meant to distance itself from existing forms, as modernism so often did in Europe, but to create a completely new urban context and social order. The buildings, points out Israel Museum Director James S. Snyder, create both an innovative separation of spaces for interior life, and geometrically-rich exteriors that take on a distinctly Israeli character. “All of those things had to do with enlivening the exterior so it enlivened the public realm,” said Snyder. “The life of the façade became a continuation of the street life,” added Sagiv. “A new aesthetic language was crystallized, about a country that was starting from scratch.” Examples of the lively tectonic characteristics that the show examines include double walls, penetrating entrances, vertical stairwells, articulated balconies, and recessed horizontal fenestration. All played a role in knitting together this new urban fabric, both in the private and public realms. In Tel Aviv, which has the country’s greatest concentration of Mandate-era modernism, their scale had what Snyder calls a “modest grandeur,” reflecting the emerging democratic values of the country. These buildings were designed to fit into the concept of a carefully-spaced, intricately-planted garden city. It's an awe-inspiring collection that hits home the substantial importance of the region in the growth of modernism, both as an architectural style, a city making movement, and a philosophy of living. Social Construction: Modern Architecture in British Mandate Palestine is on view at the The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, through December 31. AN visited the exhibition with Vibe Israel.
Beginning on July 1, the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) will host Randy Shull/Wide Open: Architecture and Design at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, an exhibition that marks the completed renovation and expansion of the BMCM+AC, located in Asheville, North Carolina. Phase One of the project, led by artist and designer Randy Shull and J. Richard Gruber, PhD, Director of the newly launched Architecture + Design Institute (A+D@BMCM+AC), spanned from 2014 to 2015. The museum re-opened on January 30, 2015, following a renovation of its original site, at 56 Broadway Street, along with an addition. The addition created retail space, a gallery, and a BMC library and study center. The conversion of a property across from the museum, 67 Broadway Street, comprises Phase Two, which began last year. This 2,400-square-foot space will host exhibitions, performances, and public programs as well as house offices and storage space for BMC work when it opens on July 1, 2016. The exhibition celebrates “the enduring legacy of Black Mountain College (BMC, 1933-57) through the lens of its architecture and design program and the influential innovators who taught there,” notably: Josef Albers, a Bauhaus master who transformed the institution as a teacher; his wife and artist, Anni; and Buckminster Fuller. Shull’s custom-made furniture and exhibition displays were inspired by Albers and some of its components are permanently integrated into the space: graphic panels, hand-built furniture, and a customized pegboard display system. Also featured are photographs of Shull's work that as it relates to BMC. Asheville-based Susan Rhew Design collaborated with Gruber and Shull to develop a clear identity for the museum, Randy Shull/Wide Open, and other related materials. Dr. Gruber praised Shall's work, stating: “The new gallery space Randy created is eloquently synced with the original site across the street, the educational and artistic mission of BMCM+AC, and the spirit of innovation and experimentation that was a BMC hallmark. Like the Bauhaus masters who taught at BMC, he has blurred the lines between art, architecture, design, and traditional notions of craft." The exhibition will be open until September 3.
As far as Western modern art pedigrees go, it's hard to beat László Moholy-Nagy: born in Hungary 1895, Moholy-Nagy spent his early years in Budapest studying Impressionism, Cubism, and Futurism. He then traveled to Berlin where he encountered Dada and Constructivism. He was at the Bauhaus from 1923 to 28, in Amsterdam for De Stijl during the 30s, then finally London and Chicago where he founded Institute of Design (later part of IIT). He dabbled in every medium imaginable: painting, film, sculpture, typography, graphic design, theatrical set design, and architecture. But what's most remarkable about Moholy-Nagy—and what shines through in the exhibit Moholy-Nagy: Future Present—is how consistently he explores the same themes across the breadth of his lifetime. Moholy-Nagy was clearly enthralled with light, transparency, planes, and depth—in the words of curator Karole P. B. Vail, who spoke at the exhibit's press preview, he was constantly trying to "materialize light" and "use light to dematerialize matter." As the exhibition moves up the Guggenheim's spiral, chronologically displaying his work, you can see him play with light in countless ways across multiple mediums, starting with painting and concluding with plexiglass (a material invented 1934, three years before he arrived in the US). Over 300 works, some from rarely-seen private collections, are on view. Despite their number, the works never feel densely packed. The Guggenheim spiral also has a natural affinity to Moholy-Nagy: one of his drawing/photomontages depicts a spiraling space not dissimilar from the Guggenheim itself. Moholy-Nagy was fascinated with photography, not least because photography's chemical process turns light into a physical image. Photography also plays with the idea of reproducibility and authenticity. Like putting a urinal into an art gallery, Dadaists love to play with conventions and challenge shared definitions of what constitutes art. That desire manifests throughout Moholy-Nagy's work. In what he called "photoplastics," he would collage photographs, draw over them, then photograph the ensemble anew—where does one photograph begin, the other end? Some of these pieces are genuinely absurd, and I even laughed out-loud at their Monty Python-levels of irrationality. In another famous work on display, Moholy-Nagy designed a set of porcelain enamel-on-steel paintings whose rectangles of color were governed by a series of formulas. This meant the painting could be printed in an industrial sign shop at different sizes without distortion—infinitely reproducible, consumable, and scalable. Works like that, along with his photographic experimentation, evoke a similar question we face today: from the Venice Biennale to Palmyra, we're still grappling with about ability to recreate artifacts. While that debate usually pertains to something lost or decayed, Moholy-Nagy flips the question on its head by starting with something intended to be infinitely duplicated. The exhibition features one project that exists an architectural scale: the recreation of Room of the Present (Raum der Gegenwart), conceived by Moholy-Nagy in 1930 as a space to show modern artworks across all mediums—film, photography, typography, sculpture, architecture, and more. Made with gleaming steel and glass, and filled by the curators with period-appropriate avant-garde works, it does feel like a time capsule from the past. It's no coincidence that the room is made from industrial materials: Moholy-Nagy was an avid experimenter. Gropius brought him to the Bauhaus precisely because his focus on modern materials coincided with the school's move toward creating and licensing designs to industry. From metallic paint to early plastics, it's stimulating to watch Moholy-Nagy play with new materials as they appear over the decades. The exhibition text concludes "Moholy-Nagy was always in pursuit of the “whole man,” seeking out new materials and methods in the steadfast belief that what mattered most were intellectual awareness and the necessity for the assimilation of art, technology, and education." As Vail remarked, he was a "truly utopian artist" who thought technology could improve society, though he was a true humanist as well. As Moholy-Nagy himself said, there was a “specific need of our time for a vision in motion.” As technology—smartphones, 3D printing, virtual reality, self-driving cars—rapidly changes our lives, and tech companies sell us on their utopian, people-friendly vision, we should ask: What exactly does a techno-humanist-utopia look like? The exhibit offers bracing insight into Moholy-Nagy lifetime of art-making, but leaves us to contemplate what Moholy-Nagy's vision for a utopian society looked like. Moholy-Nagy: Future Present will be at the Guggenheim from May 27 to September 7 before traveling to LACMA and the Art Institute of Chicago. Karole P. B. Vail, Curator, is the Guggenheim’s organizing curator for the exhibition, with the assistance of Ylinka Barotto, Curatorial Assistant, and Danielle Toubrinet, Exhibition Assistant.
China’s culture of copying is well-documented, but the recent sale of Berlin-based art dealer and collector Torsten Bröhan’s large collection of 19th- and 20th- century design objects to the city of Hangzhou, China raised eyebrows. The “Bauhaus Collection” deal was allegedly made for tens of millions of dollars and contains over 7,000 pieces of design from the modernist period. Scholars have questioned the use of Bauhaus, but argue that the Chinese understand Bauhaus as the whole of modernism, not just the products of the seminal school. The curious case is compounded by a lawsuit that charges that Bröhan never gave business consultant Stephan Balzer his 10 percent cut of the purchase price.
In August in Dessau, Germany, a jury in the design competition for the construction of the Bauhaus Museum awarded two first prizes. By a majority vote, the joint winners are from New York and Barcelona with third and fourth place teams hailing from Zürich and Toronto. The design to be constructed from the shortlist of two is yet to be selected. According to the Bauhaus, the competition has shown that the museum typology is in a transitional phase. “The vertical is over—a new theme is flexibility," Chris Dercon, Director of the Tate Modern in London and one of the material prize jurors, said in a statement. "However, the new development has no clear direction. The two first prizewinners are very diverse. It will be a chance to start the discussion in the international public and with experts. To be the beginning of the New, Dessau and the Bauhaus are ideal places. This is exciting.” The winners were: Architects: Young & Ayata Michael Young, Kutan Ayata New York Landscape architect: Misako Murata New York Architects: Gonzalez Hinz Zabala Roberto González Peñalver, José Zabala Rojí, Anne Katharina Hinz Barcelona, Spain Landscape architect: Roser Vives de Delás Barcelona, Spain Third Place: Architects: Berrel Berrel Kräutler AG Maurice Berrel Zurich, Switzerland Landscape architect: ASP Landschaftsarchitekten AG Florian Seibold Zurich, Switzerland Fourth Place: Architects: Ja Architecture Studio Nima Javidi Toronto, Canada Landscape architects: JA Architecture Studio Behnaz Assadi Toronto, Canada Both joint winners will receive $36,800 in prize money while the third and fourth place teams will take home $20,100 and $12,300 respectively. The Bauhaus staid that it felt reinforced by its decision to have the competition open for international entries as Claudia Perren, Director and CEO of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and building contractor, stated that it is a "first-class competition.” The idea was also conceived to "offer young offices and international architects a real chance" which has no doubt been taken—the competition received over 800 entries.
A 900-foot tower is coming to Manhattan’s high-end Sutton Place and it looks like Norman Foster is the architect behind the geometric tower punctuated by inset terraces and gardens. New York Press reported that the commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield created a sales brochure for the project which it described as an “ultra-luxury, as of right, ground up, opportunity which will reach over 900 feet tall and feature unparalleled 360 degree views of Midtown, Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, Central Park and the East River.” While no permits for the project have been filed, the publication reported that the Bauhaus Group has assembled the necessary air rights for the 95-unit tower. While Foster’s named has not been officially attached to the new drawing, in March Curbed reported that Bauhaus had hired Lord Foster for a major tower in the area. This should all become clearer in the near future as Bauhaus is expected to release more information on the project.
The days of China as a staging ground for progressive, even experimental, architecture may be numbered. High-profile projects by Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, et al, while the delight of design aficionados around the world, haven't impressed Chinese President Xi Jinping—at least in a positive way. At a symposium on the arts held in Beijing at the end of last year, he made statements to the effect that "weird" buildings—an adjective that has not yet been codified—would not be welcome in the future. Government intrusion into architectural aesthetics is not, of course, without ugly precedent. Joseph Stalin—who was called "the father and friend of all Soviet architects" at the All-Union Congress in 1946—essentially conscripted architects to work for the state, forcing them to close their practices to deliver structures like the Seven Sisters, fortress-like buildings topped with Gothic-ish towers. (Un-fun fact: The project manager for these buildings was a KGB honcho, and the construction crews were composed of POWs and political prisoners.) Mies van der Rohe, in an act of cunning integrity, convinced the Third Reich of the importance of keeping the Bauhaus open, only to close the school himself in a statement of artistic principle. We wonder who among the contemporary architectural community might take such a stand—should the need arise—with regard to China.
For those in the A/E/C practices, there is little doubt about the greatest gift of all: time. While AN can't source that elusive asset for you, we have assembled a collection of material goods that are designed to make life a little more elegant, efficient, and even fun. Happy holidays to all! Elements Collection J. Hill's Standard A fresh take on Irish cut crystal, this barware is marked by cuts and textures of varying depth, creating a graphic language. Designed by Scholten & Baijings. Ossidiana Alessi Fabricated out of cast aluminum, this old-school, new-style espresso makers comes in three sizes. Designed by Mario Trimarchi. Bauhaus Chess Set Chess House No prancing steeds or earnest foot soldiers here: Wood cubes, spheres, and cylinders comprose this 1923 chess set. Designed by Josef Hartwig. Glass House Snow Globe The Glass House You'll never have to battle the traffic on I-95 or shovel the snow at this finely crafted miniature masterwork. Flo Bedside/Desk Light Lumina Italia Rotate the head of this minimalist light fixture to focus the LED beam where it's wanted. In varnish-coated aluminum and steel, the fixture is also available in clamp, wall, floor, and grommet styles. Designed by Foster + Partners. FollowMe Lamp Marset Cordless and rechargable via USB, this oak-handled lamp shines a diffuse light through its polycarbonate shade. Designed by Inma Bermudez. Prismatic Scarves notNeutral From the product-design branch of Los Angeles-based architects Rios Clementi Hale Studios, these thirty-inch-square silk scarves are based on color studies for a competition project. Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography Yale University Press Featuring more than 250 plates, this book by Philadelphia Museum of Art curators Peter Barberie and Amanda N. Bock chronicles the career of the seminal photographer. Louise Fili, Perfetto Pencils Princeton Architectural Press Graphic designer Louise Fili celebrates Italian typography with these two-tone pencils; related items include notecards and a book. Qlocktwo W Watch Biegert & Funk In this reactionary design to a digital world, a grid of 110 letters illuminates the time in text form. And it's multi-lingual: The watch communicates in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Arabic. Brut Nature 2006 Louis Roederer Of his design for the packaging for this vintage, Philippe Starck says, "The contents are so potent I decided to design a bottle that was stripped of any superfluous embellishment." Shape of Sound Artifice Books Architect Victoria Meyers examines the dynamic relationship between architectural forms and materials and acoustics in this amply illustrated book. Snøhetta Limited Edition, XO Contemporary Cognac Braastad Adding Scandinavian cool to a classic French product, the graphic design team at Snøhetta uses subtle metallic colors and hand-lettering to reinvigorate the image of the stodgy spirit. Archaeologist Chopstick Rests Spin Ceramics Impeccably details and finished, these glazed clay pieces are both naturalistic and abstract in form. Eight pieces to a set; designed by Na An.
Built in 1970 by prolific Cape Cod–based architect Charles Zehnder, the Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired Kugel Gips house spent nearly a decade unoccupied and in disrepair while under ownership of the National Park Service (NPS). Abandoned and rotting, the compact Modernist home was nearly lost to the idyllic peninsula’s salty winds, and worse yet, the wrecking ball, until Wellfleet, Massachusetts–based architect Peter McMahon and the Cape Cod Modernist Trust (CCMT) stepped in. As part of their mission to preserve and document the Cape’s rich Modernist heritage—a legacy of 80 homes by local and European-born architects like Marcel Breuer, Serge Chermayeff and Nathaniel Saltonstall—McMahon and a group of around 35 volunteers have faithfully restored the house, opening it up to visitors, vacationers, scholars, and artists. Following the outbreak of World War II and their subsequent migration to New England, seminal Bauhaus figures like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer were drawn to Cape Cod by its pristine natural environment, cheap, undeveloped land, and the open minds of the local artistic and architectural community. On parcels costing as little as $1,000, architects constructed simple, experimental summer cottages with budget materials and intimate connections to their natural surroundings. “The designs were very intentional,” CCMT founder McMahon told the Boston Globe in 2009. “There’s a lifestyle implied by these buildings, one that recognizes the importance of nature, creativity, and sustainability, one that says you don’t need a lot to be happy” Featuring a large cantilevered roof, exposed concrete, wood shingles, two decks and gracious windows overlooking a nearby kettle pond, the 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom house is the first restoration undertaken by the CCMT. Commissioned by Peter and Judy Kugel, both Boston academics, the house was built within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore and in 1998 was acquired through eminent domain by the NPS for $80,000 before falling into disrepair. Thanks to a generous $100,000 contribution from the town of Wellfleet and the pro bono services of Manhattan based Fox Diehl Architects, along with the sweat of McMahon and his volunteers, the home now looks as good as it did 43 years ago. Seven such Modernist homes are owned by the NPS, five of which were in poor condition and scheduled for demolition before the Massachusetts Historical Commission deemed them significant specimens of postwar Modern residential architecture. The CCMT has since acquired long term leases on the five properties and plans to make them available for educational programs, summer rentals, and scholar and artist residencies. Over the summer, the CCMT completed renovations of the Jack Hall-designed Hatch cottage, and in October the organization raised over $60,000 via Kickstarter for the restoration of the Weidlinger house, designed Hungarian Modernist Paul Weidlinger. According to the CCMT, Gropius, Breuer, and Le Corbusier all weighed in on Weidlinger's design, with Corbusier reportedly commenting "don't pave the driveway." But it is not the publicly owned properties that are in real danger. Times have changed and land prices have escalated since Breuer built his pair of houses on the Cape for $5,000 each. For many would-be residents, the modest scale and off-the-shelf materials of these mid-century relics are not worth saving when a beachside McMansion would fit nicely in their place.
Miss out on your Bauhaus opportunity because you were not an artistic youth in 1920s and 1930s Germany? Now, architecture and design enthusiasts can revive their desired pasts as students at Walter Gropius’ iconic design school, at least in sleeping accommodations. The Bauhaus School of Design in Dessau, Germany has converted one of its studio buildings into a boutique hotel with dormitory-style rooms for overnight rental. Visitors can spend the night in spaces that once housed some of the biggest names in modern architecture, when they were still just students. From 1923 to 1935, the Bauhaus studio building contained 28 rooms for architecture students studying at the school. Now, hotel clients can choose from 20 different spaces, each furnished with the steel tube furniture of architect, designer, and former Bauhaus instructor Marcel Breuer in recreation of the original dormitory accommodations. Select rooms have been designed to reflect some of the Bauhaus’ most famous alumni. Beginning in late October, these specialty rooms can be rented out, according to the visitor’s architectural preference. Among these dorms, the New York Times’ T Magazine says, is a room in the style of Josef Albers that contains replicas of the furniture he created for himself while at the design school and another, representing architect Franz Ehrlich, decorated with furniture he designed for the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s. The Bauhaus Studio Building offers single accommodations from €35 and doubles from €55. But, be warned, like in the Bauhaus’ student dorm days, bathrooms and showers are communal and accessed from the hallway.