Symposium—Re-Forming Modernism Craft, Design, and Architecture at the Bauhaus
2:00pm – 11:00pm
Bard Graduate Center, 38 West 86th Street, Lecture Hall, New York, NY 10024Register
Bard Graduate Center
The centenary of the Bauhaus School’s founding in 1919 has been marked by a wide range of international events and publications. Much attention has been paid to the artists who taught at the school during its fourteen-year tenure in Germany. But the Bauhaus itself—in many ways greater than the sum of its individual teachers and students—was not simply an attempt to redefine artistic practice, but was both rooted in and responding to European design reform movements instigated in the nineteenth century. As Walter Gropius stated in the first Bauhaus manifesto: “Let us then create a new guild of craftsmen without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between the craftsman and artist!”
This symposium engages with the history and legacy of the Bauhaus as a school of craft and design within the context of design reform during the modern period. How did the products designed at the Bauhaus relate to patterns of taste and consumption in Germany, and how did they perform in the marketplace? What vision of the built environment (what Gropius called “the great Gesamtkunstwerk”) did the Bauhäusler seek to fulfill—or to challenge? The Bauhaus was an extraordinary institution with far-reaching influence. Yet at the heart of its mission was the desire to engage with popular taste in architecture and design. We will consider the extent of its success.