The Bauhaus at 100 and Harvard and Elsewhere
“The Bauhaus and Harvard”
In honor of the 100 anniversary of the founding of the famous school of art, design and architecture The Bauhaus, New England, and particularly sites around Boston, is celebrating with special exhibits. The largest one is at Harvard University at the Fogg Museum with 200 objects on display.
It was a century ago in Weimar, Germany when two schools were merged, the city’s schools of fine and applied arts, and the Bauhaus was born. With inspiration from the Arts and Crafts Movements and the earlier medieval crafts guilds, the Bauhaus’ vision was to unify all the arts.
The Bauhaus, founded by Walter Gropiius, moved within Germany a few times in its history but not until it was closed down in 1933 by the National Socialists (Nazi Party) and many of its members fled around the world and mostly to the United States did the movement flourish. Gropius became the Dean of the School of Architecture at Harvard in 1937. The Busch-Reisinger Museum, now part of the Fogg, has the largest Bauhaus collection outside Germany.
The exhibit at Harvard also includes a gallery with one of its members Hans Arp’s “Constellations II” that once graced a dining room at the University. Among the many items on display are Gropius’ plans for a campus at Black Mountain College, North Carolina are on display but for lack of funds these were not realized.
Black Mountain College, founded in 1933, is the famous school based on John Dewey’s theories of education stressing the study of art as part of the liberal arts education. It became and incubation campus for an extraordinary group of artists and designers, composers, choreographers, writers including Josef and Anni Albers, Charles Olson, Ruth Asawa, Walter Gropius, Ray Johnson, Robert Motherwell, Dorothea Rockburne, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Franz Kline, Willem and Elaine de Kooning and Allen Ginsberg. Even our own local world-wide celebrity Ruth Asawa studied there.
The Goethe Institute has organized a full calendar of activities in New England, from Providence Rhode Island to Brunswick, Maine, that continues long into the next year. Gropius’ own house in Lincoln MA along with a display at the library there is part of the celebration. Starting September 11, 2019 at the Fogg, a special exhibit with discussions will focus on the Bauhaus architectural experiments in Tel Aviv’s White City. Activities include working tours, concerts, seminars and all kinds of scholarship that show the extent of the the Bauhaus movement.
The exhibit at Harvard is a good starting place to understand the scope of the movement. Information from the Goethe Institut of Boston will help to explain all the activities. The Fogg exhibit extends through July 28 but the celebration continues close by at museums at M.I.T., Goethe Institut Boston, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard museums.org or goethe.de/boston.