bauhaus
imaginista
Edition 2

Learning From

Paul Klee, Carpet, 1927, Hans-Willem Snoeck, Brooklyn, New York, Photo © Edward Watkins.

Book cover of Ernst Fuhrmann: Tlinkit und Haida, Folkwang Verlag GmbH, Hagen 1922.
Raoul D’Harcourt: Textiles of Ancient Peru and their Techniques, University of Washington Press, Seattle 1962.

Arthur Baessler collection, Shirt, Tiahuanaco (=Tiwanaku), 0–700 (?), Peru 
© Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, photo: Claudia Obrocki.
Anni Alber, Black–White–Gray, 1927, © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019.

Josef Albers, Loggia Wall at RIT, 1967
The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundatio / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019.

Rose Slivka, "New Tapestry", in: Craft Horizons, March/April 1963
Lena Bergner, Draft of a hand loom, ca. 1936–39, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
© American Craft Council / Heirs to Lena Bergner.

Eduard Gaffron Collection, Khipu, Inca 1450–1550, Huacho, Peru
© Photo: Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, photo: Claudia Obrocki.

Anne Wilson, "Net Fence" detail, 1975, Cotton and jute cord, raffia, bamboo supports, 96 x 45 x 20 inches overall.
Courtesy of the artist.

Lenore Tawney, Mask, ca. 1967, Linen, pre-Columbian beads, shell, horsehair
Photos: George Erml; Courtesy: Lenore G. Tawney Foundation.

Marguerite Wildenhain, Double Face pot, 1960–70, Luther College, Decorah, photo: Grant Watson, © Luther College.

Kader Attia, Signs of Reappropriation as Repair, 2017, Single projection of 80 slides, Courtesy of the artist.

from: Maghreb Art Magazine, No. 3, 1965, © Mohamed Melehi.

Poster exhibition of Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabâa, Mohamed Melehi, Théâtre National
Mohamed V, design: Mohamed Melehi, 1965, Toni Maraini Collection, © Mohamed Melehi.
Painted ceiling of Mohamed Melehi, Hotel Les Roses du Dades, Kelaa M'Gouna, 1968–69
Architects: cabinet Faraoui et de Mazières, archives: Faraoui et de Mazières.

Door from the Musée Tiskiwin, Collection of Bert Flint, photo: Maud Houssais.

●Edition Concept

Departing from Paul Klee’s drawing Teppich (Carpet) from 1927 the exhibition chapter Learning From addresses the study and appropriation of cultural production from outside the modernist mainstream, principally from non-Western sources, but also European folk traditions, the work of outsider artists, and children. Engagement with premodern artifacts and practices was a constant feature of the work of teachers and students at the Bauhaus and continued to inform their approach after the school’s closure in 1933.

In the United States in the middle of the twentieth century, the exploration of local craft practices and pre-Columbian cultures in North, Central, and South America helped to develop the formal language of abstraction as well as new procedures in weaving and the fiber arts based on precolonial forms and techniques. In questioning the division between the high and low arts, the Bauhaus had contested the classicism of the European art academies. However, the study of non-Western art and cultural practice, often used to deconstruct this binary, failed to take into account the colonial, sometimes violent and illegitimate appropriation of cultural goods, as well as the social, economic, and political disruption which European colonialism had left in its wake in North and South America, Africa, and Asia.

The incorporation of popular, indigenous, and Afro Brazilian cultures into the lexicon of Brazilian modernism, while acting as a counter-model to European modernism and the Bauhaus, occurred simultaneously with the continued impact of colonial violence on the indigenous population. In post-revolutionary Mexico and postcolonial Morocco, the program of translating precolonial cultural production into the language of modernity acquired a socio-political dimension as the recourse to local art practices, by the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP, workshop for popular graphics) in Mexico and the École des Beaux Arts in Casablanca demonstrate.

Learning From shows how Bauhaus modernism was indebted to transcultural encounters, and reveals the synthesis of premodern and modern art as cultural appropriation, as well as in the context of decolonization and cultural self-determination.

●Related Articles
●Article
The World in the Province from the Province to the World — Bauhaus Ceramics in an International Context

In this article Hans-Peter Jakobson presents the various influences, both national and international, and direct and indirect, influencing the views on ceramics taught in the Ceramic Workshop of the State Bauhaus Weimar Dornburg. Based on the life paths, inspirations and influences of the few ceramists who emerged from the Bauhaus workshop in Dornburg, he traces possible worldwide developments in ceramics to the present day. → more

●Article
In the Footsteps of the Bauhaus — Its Reception and Impact on Brazilian Modernity

Through the strong German-speaking minority and its active work in the creation and mediation of culture in the spirit of modernity, the application of Bauhaus formal language, especially in the first phase of Brazilian modernity, has played a considerable role. It was only with the equation of German culture with National Socialism and the ensuing intolerance of German protagonists that these architectural and cultural activities were severely disrupted. In Brazil during this period, a style of modernism based on the principles of Le Corbusier finally gained acceptance. The impulses of the Bauhaus, however, which were not perceived for many years, were also reinterpreted and further developed within Brazil, although they remained occulted in comparison to the public reception of Corbusier. → more

●Article
Walking on a Möbius Strip — The Inside/Outside of Art in Brazil

This text investigates how the topological figure of the Möbius strip, famously propagated by Bauhaus proponent Max Bill, was used in Brazil within dissident artistic practices of the 1960s and 1970s as a tool for reflection on the subject, alterity and public space. The Möbius strip is revisited in this essay as a conduit for thinking critically about possible subversions of Eurocentric forms, as well as various appropriations of traditional popular culture by modern and contemporary art in Brazil. → more

●Article
The Latent Forces of Popular Culture — Lina Bo Bardi’s Museum of Popular Art and the School of Industrial Design and Crafts in Bahia, Brazil

This text deals with the experience of the Museum of Popular Art (MAP) and the School of Industrial Design and Handicraft, designed by the Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, in Salvador (capital of the state of Bahia), Brazil. Such a “school-museum” is based on the capture and transformation of latent forces that exist in Brazilian popular culture. → more

●Article
Times of Rudeness — Design at an Impasse

In 1980, Lina Bo Bardi began working on a book concerning her time in the northeastern part of Brazil. With the help of Isa Grinspum Ferraz, she captioned the illustrations, revised her contributions to the book and drafted the layout and contents. The latter also included texts by her collaborators who, in a truly collective effort, had tried to envision the project of a true Brazil—an unfettered and free country with no remnant remaining of the colonial inferiority complex which had plagued the country earlier in its history. Bo Bardi discontinued her work in 1981. In 1994, the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi published this project as Times of Rudeness: Design at an Impasse. → more

●Article
Vernacular Architecture and the Uses of the Past

In sending out the manuscript of Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture to a publisher, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy added a note on the “Genesis of the manuscript,” which is quite revealing about the intellectual trajectory that gave rise to it. She positioned herself as first and foremost a traveling observer, learning from direct contact with artefacts and buildings, curious about their histories and willing to interpret material evidence and local narratives. → more

●Article
The Golden Potlatch — Study in Mimesis and Capitalist Desire

No matter how distanced we are from our collective origins in systems of mutual reciprocity and exchange, these activities remain “full of rituals and rights.” It was precisely this conception of systems of exchange as intrinsically connected to magical power, ritual, and ceremony that four prominent Seattle businessmen seized upon when they invented the Golden Potlatch, a city-wide festival that rather artfully combined the just-passed prosperity of the Klondike Gold Rush with the mutual reciprocity that is the basis of “potlatch” ceremonies customary in certain Native North American societies, particularly in the northwest of the American continent. 
 → more

●Article
Learning from NYC

The symposium Learning From in New York explored what it means to take cultural artifacts and inscribe them within a new context, whether by nineteenth century ethnographic museums, avant-garde artist, in teaching collections, or contemporary art projects. Prior to the symposium, a group of artists, designers, curators and art historians toured museums archives and studios around New York, examining and discussing a variety of materials, ranging from Mesoamerican artefacts to the work of the mid-century artists who found inspiration in these collections.  → more

●Article
Of Art and Politics — Hannes Meyer and the Workshop of Popular Graphics

The Mexico of President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was a fertile ground for the development of ideological questions, especially those originating from the left. The expropriation of oil fields, mining and large estates in 1938, the refuge granted Spanish republicans and members of the International Brigades in 1939, and the accord of mutual support between the government and syndicalist organizations all favored the formation of artistic and cultural groups willing to take part in the consolidation of revolutionary ideals which, until that point, had made little progress. Among these organizations was the Taller de Gráfica Popular, the Workshop of Popular Graphics. → more

●Article
The “Workshop for Popular Graphic Art” in Mexico — Bauhaus Travels to America

The global developments that led in 1942 to the appointment of Hannes Meyer, second Bauhaus director, as head of the workshop for popular graphic art, Taller de Gráfica Popular (henceforth referred to as the TGP), made it a focal point for migrating Europeans in flight from fascism. This essay aims to shed light on how the TGP was influenced by Europeans granted asylum by Mexico before and during World War Two, and, conversely, to explore the degree to which these exiled visual artists, writers, and architects’ ideas came to be influenced by their contact with artists active in the TGP. → more

●Article
“Every Moment Is a Moment of Learning“ — Lenore Tawney. New Bauhaus and Amerindian Impulses

“I felt as if I had made a step and maybe a new form. These evolved from a study of Peruvian techniques, out of twining and twisting. Out of that came my new way of working, of dividing and separating the piece.” Lenore Tawney’s “Woven Forms” are not purpose-built in a (Western) crafts sense; they move beyond traditional European rules of weaving and attempt to approach an indigenous attitude towards craft and technique. This essay shows how Tawney charted her own unique path in fiber art by linking Amerindian impulses with Taoist concepts of space and Bauhaus ideas. → more

●Interview
Questions about Lenore Tawney — An Interview with Kathleen Nugent Mangan, Executive Director of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation

The search for the spiritual characterized Tawney’s long life, and was reflected in both the iconography and materials she used in her work. She was a regular diarist and her journals provide valuable insight into this deeply personal search. bauhaus imaginista researcher Erin Freedman interviews Executive Director of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, Kathleen Nugent Mangan, about Tawney's approach and work. → more

●Article
Lena Bergner — From the Bauhaus to Mexico

The story of Lena Bergner is relevant to the history of architecture and design on account of her career passing through different ideological and cultural contexts. Here we will discuss her life and work, focusing on her training in the Bauhaus, her time in the USSR and her time in Mexico, where, along with her husband the architect Hannes Meyer, over a ten-year period she undertook cultural projects of great importance. → more

●Article
Teko Porã — On Art and Life

Cristine Takuá is an indigenous philosopher, educator, and artisan who lives in the village of Rio Silveira, state of São Paulo, Brazil. She was invited to present a contemporary perspective on questions and tensions raised by interactions between the indigenous communities and the mainstream art system, as well as to address Brazil’s specific social and political context. → more

●Article
Working From Where We Are — Anni Albers’ and Alex Reed’s Jewelry Collection

Not by nature acquisitive and certainly not art collectors, Josef and Anni Albers began in 1936 to collect Mexican figurines and other artifacts unearthed from that land’s memory. They described the country, which they first visited in 1935, as “the promised land of abstract art.” Returning to Black Mountain College Anni Albers and Alexander Reed began experimenting with everyday articles to create a strange and beautiful collection of objects of personal adornment inspired by their visit to Mexico. → more

●Video
“Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture” by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy

Sibyl Moholy-Nagy understood herself as a traveling observer. In her book Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture Moholy-Nagy sought buildings that survived time because they had developed naturally out of the North American reality. In doing so she did not define one style, method or area but rather showed how builders found creative solutions to specific problems of site, climate, materials and skills.  → more

●Article
Don’t Breathe Normal: Read Souffles! — On Decolonizing Culture

The need for a synthesis of the arts and, with this, a change of pedagogical principles, was not only present at the beginning of the twentieth century (forces that prompted the Bauhaus’s foundation), but after WWII as well, during the “Short Century” of decolonization. . This second modern movement and its relation to modernism and the vernacular, the hand made, and the everyday was vividly expressed through texts and art works published in the Moroccan quarterly magazine Souffles, published beginning in the mid-1960s by a group of writers and artists in Rabat, Casablanca and Paris. → more

●Article
Les Intégrations: Faraoui and Mazières. 1966–1982 — From the Time of Art to the Time of Life

Les Intégrations exemplified a specific conceptual motif, one that acted not within a single field but rather implied a relationship of interdependence between different media (visual arts and architecture) and techniques (those of graphic arts and architecture). They thus allowed for the emergence of disciplines that were not static in formation but evolving in relation to one another. The intermedial relationship they created between art and architecture raises the question of what lies "between" these disciplines: how do they communicate with each other? What are the elements of language common to this "spirit of the times," to the particular atmosphere of the late 1960s? → more

●Article
École des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca (1964–1970) — Fonctions de l’Image et Facteurs Temporels

Utopie culturelle vécue, posture éthique et préfiguration de la modernité artistique et culturelle marocaine, l’École des Beaux-arts de Casablanca est, de 1964 à 1970, le lieu de cristallisations d’aspirations sociales et artistiques portées par un groupe d’artistes et enseignants responsables d’une restructuration des bases pédagogiques. → more

●Article
The Bauhaus and Morocco

In the years when Western nations were committed in new projects of partnership, with what was then called the “Third World”, young artists and students from the Maghreb had grown up in the passionate climate of the struggle for independence, were talented, open to modernity, and eager to connect with twentieth-century international art movements, which were different in production and spirit from colonial ideology and culture. → more

●Article
Memories

I was sixteen years old when I undertook my first journey into finding a professional vocation, first in Asilah, then in Fez followed by Tétouan. 1952. Tangiers was, to me, an open book, a window on the world. The freedom of seeing, of discovering and of feeling, of weaving the narratives of my dreams. → more

●Article
Chabâa’s Concept of the “3 As”

“Architecture is one expression of the fine arts” (Mohamed Chabâa, in: Alam Attarbia, No. 1, p. 36, 2001.)

 

Mohamed Chabâa’s consciousness of his national heritage and his interest in architecture both emerged at a young age. His concept of the “3 A’s”—art, architecture and the arts and crafts—grew out of his discovery both of the Italian Renaissance and the Bauhaus School during a period of study in Rome in the early 1960s. From then on, bringing together the “3 A’s” would become a central interest, a concept Chabâa would apply in various ways and fiercely defend throughout his long and varied career. → more

●Exhibition Slideshow
Archives du Cabinet Faraoui et de Mazières

Entre 1968 et 1978, le cabinet d’architectes Faraoui et De Mazières commande à des artistes des œuvres conçues spécifiquement pour leurs projets architecturaux autour du concept des «Intégrations». Usines, hôpitaux, universités, centres de vacances, banques et hôtels vont ainsi bénéficier de ce syncrétisme entre l’art et l’architecture.  → more

●Artist Text
Research Project by Kader Attia

Looking into the history of objects, into their original practical and social function as well as into the circumstances of their transition to European and other countries of Western civilization, the artist Kader Attia aims at conveying the full identity of the objects and to follow the traces of their disappearance that still can be discovered today and call for repair. → more

●Correspondent Report, Rabat
On Distance, Objects and the Body — Thoughts after the Workshop with Kader Attia and Marion von Osten

On the 24th and 25th of March 2018, we met in Rabat to participate in the first event of the bauhaus imaginista project. We were attending a workshop with the French-Algerian artist Kader Attia, surrounded by an exhibition of archival materials from artists and students from the École des Beaux Arts in Casablanca and including the Maghreb Art magazine on the walls of Le Cube — independent art space that hosted Attia's show in Rabat. → more

●Article
Common Threads — Approaches to Paul Klee’s Carpet of 1927

Paul Klee’s Carpet, 1927, creates a conundrum for scholars as it does not neatly fit the existing theoretical models concerning how European artists engage with non-Western art and culture, while at the same time opening up exciting new avenues for inquiry. → more

●Conversation
bauhaus imaginista: Learning From
 — Erin Freedman and Sebastian De Line in Conversation

This is the transcript of a conversation between art historian Erin Freedman and the trans artist and scholar Sebastian De Line that took place during the bauhaus imaginista: Learning From symposium at the Goethe-Institut in New York in June 2018. → more

●Article
Anni Albers and Ancient American Textiles

At the time Anni Albers wrote On Weaving in 1965, few discussions of Andean textiles “as art” had appeared in weaving textbooks, but there were numerous publications, many of which were German books published between 1880 and 1929, that documented and described their visual and technical properties. Albers almost single-handedly introduced weaving students to this ancient textile art through her writing and her artistic work.  → more

●Article
Andean Weaving and the Appropriation of the Ancient Past in Modern Fiber Art

Ancient and indigenous textile cultures of the Americas played a critical role in the development of the work of fiber artists who came of age in the U.S. in the late 1950s and 1960s. Anyone who has studied fiber art of this period, myself included, knows this well. They openly professed an admiration for traditions ranging from Navaho weaving, to the use of the backstrap loom in Mexico and Central America, to the ancient weaving techniques of Peru. → more

●Video
kNOT a QUIPU — An Interview with Cecilia Vicuña

In this recorded interview, Vicuña describes how after she first learned about quipu, she immediately integrated the system into her life. Quipu, the Spanish transliteration of the word for “knot” in Cusco Quechua, is a system of colored, spun and plied or waxed threads or strings made from cotton or camelid fiber. They were used by the Inca people for a variety of administrative purposes, mainly record-keeping, and also for other ends that have now been lost to history.  → more

●On-site report
Weaving Reflections — On Museology and the Rematriation of Indigenous Beings from Ethnological Collections

One primary question leading up to the bauhaus imaginista workshop and symposium had concerned the extent to which Bauhaus artists had been culturally informed by and subsequently appropriated Indigenous art. This essay examines ethnographic and natural history museology and how Indigenous cultures are perceived, translated and exhibited through Westernized perspectives that are informed by a philosophical subject-object divide. → more

●Exhibition Slide Show
Des-Habitat

Des-Habitat interrogates the ways in which indigenous arts and crafts appeared within discourses and imaginaries of modernity through the lens of Habitat, the arts and design magazine created by architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1950. Instead of the content shown in the images of indigenous objects, the project interrogates the context from which they emerged as signifiers of modernity in Habitat, examining how Habitat itself, by virtue of its language and visual design, functioned as framing device that concealed that context and its inherent colonial structure. → more

●Research Archive
Tapestry Rugs in an Ancient Peruvian Design
Mary Meigs Atwater

from: Shuttle-Craft Bulletin, March 1941.

EN Size: 782 KB
Work with Material
Anni Albers

from: Black Mountain College Bulletin, No. 5, 1938.

EN Size: 2 MB
Source:Reproduced with permission of North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
Essai d'Inventaire des Styles dans les Arts Populaires du Maroc
Bert Flint

Publié dans: Maghreb Art, 1966.
Courtesy of Mohammed Melehi and Toni Maraini.

FR Size: 38 MB
Témoignage sur un Artiste Occidental. Herbert Bayer
Toni Maraini

Publié dans: Integral, No. 12–13, 1978.
Courtesy of Toni Maraini.

FR Size: 2 MB
Fiches et questionnaire avec Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabaa, Mohamed Melehi
Abdellatif Laâbi

Publié dans: Souffles, No. 7–8, 1967.

Courtesy of Abdellatif Laâbi.

FR Size: 26 MB
Oral History Interview with Sheila Hicks
Monique Lévi-Strauss, Sheila Hicks

Oral history interview, 2004 February 3 and March 11.

EN Size: 82 KB
●All Articles
Filter by Language:
  • EN
  • DE
  • FR
The World in the Province from the Province to the World — Bauhaus Ceramics in an International Context EN
Die Welt in der Provinz von der Provinz in die Welt — Bauhauskeramik im internationalen Kontext DE
In the Footsteps of the Bauhaus — Its Reception and Impact on Brazilian Modernity EN
Auf den Spuren des Bauhauses — Rezeption und Wirkung in Brasilien DE
Walking on a Möbius Strip — The Inside/Outside of Art in Brazil EN
The Latent Forces of Popular Culture — Lina Bo Bardi’s Museum of Popular Art and the School of Industrial Design and Crafts in Bahia, Brazil EN
Times of Rudeness — Design at an Impasse EN
Vernacular Architecture and the Uses of the Past EN
The Golden Potlatch — Study in Mimesis and Capitalist Desire EN
Learning from NYC EN
Of Art and Politics — Hannes Meyer and the Workshop of Popular Graphics EN
The “Workshop for Popular Graphic Art” in Mexico — Bauhaus Travels to America EN
“Every Moment Is a Moment of Learning“ — Lenore Tawney. New Bauhaus and Amerindian Impulses EN
"Every Moment Is a Moment of Learning" — Lenore Tawney. New Bauhaus und Amerindische Impulse DE
Questions about Lenore Tawney — An Interview with Kathleen Nugent Mangan, Executive Director of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation EN
Lena Bergner — From the Bauhaus to Mexico EN
Teko Porã — On Art and Life EN
Working From Where We Are — Anni Albers’ and Alex Reed’s Jewelry Collection EN
“Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture” by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy EN
Don’t Breathe Normal: Read Souffles! — On Decolonizing Culture EN
Les Intégrations: Faraoui and Mazières. 1966–1982 — From the Time of Art to the Time of Life EN
Les Intégrations: Faraoui et de Mazières. 1966–1982 — Du Temps de l’Art au Temps de la Vie FR
École des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca (1964–1970) — Fonctions de l’Image et Facteurs Temporels FR
The Bauhaus and Morocco EN
Memories EN
Mémoires FR
Erinnerungen DE
Chabâa’s Concept of the “3 As” EN
Le Concept des « 3 A » chez Chabâa FR
Archives du Cabinet Faraoui et de Mazières FR
Research Project by Kader Attia EN
On Distance, Objects and the Body — Thoughts after the Workshop with Kader Attia and Marion von Osten EN
Common Threads — Approaches to Paul Klee’s Carpet of 1927 EN
bauhaus imaginista: Learning From
 — Erin Freedman and Sebastian De Line in Conversation EN
Anni Albers and Ancient American Textiles EN
Andean Weaving and the Appropriation of the Ancient Past in Modern Fiber Art EN
kNOT a QUIPU — An Interview with Cecilia Vicuña EN
Weaving Reflections — On Museology and the Rematriation of Indigenous Beings from Ethnological Collections EN
Des-Habitat EN