Edition 1

Learning From

Paul Klee, Carpet, 1927, pen on paper on cardboard, © 2017 Christie’s Images Limited.

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 2018.

Josef Albers, Loggia Wall at RIT, 1967
© The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

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.

Poster exhibition of Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabâa, Mohamed Melehi, Théâtre National
Mohamed V, design: Mohamed Melehi, 1965, Toni Maraini, personal archive / courtesy by Toni Maraini.
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 of a North African kilim, the edition Learning From foregrounds an interest at the Bauhaus in the vernacular and the premodern as well as in the social value of craft. This interest, reflected in the collection of the Bauhaus library, included European folk art, the decorative arts of North Africa and the Near East as well as the ancient civilizations of the Americas.


While this is relating to an early twentieth-century “primitivist” discourse, at the Bauhaus, things such as African and Andean patterns and techniques were carefully studied by masters and students in order to innovate from within their own culture and to synthesize this knowledge into modern designs. In mid-twentieth-century North America, Bauhaus practices, evolved through contact with ancient as well as contemporary indigenous cultures, became the source for formal as well as technical developments, particularly in the field of weaving. In North Africa, as part of the process of decolonization, an engagement with local crafts took on a political meaning, including in establishing new art school curricula, away from the Beaux-Arts education still based on orientalism, figurative art, and the division of the applied (low) and fine (high) arts. And in Brazil, a generation of cultural practitioners, including artists, architects, and pedagogues partially oriented through a relation with the Bauhaus, experienced a pull towards the marginal as a way to produce a break from the hegemony of European modernism.


Learning From tracks this history of appropriation through a series of geographies and time periods. It asks who produces the craft object, who learns, and who profits from it. Here, craft becomes a symbolic and political medium, highlighting various positionalities, including the North African Berber, the Andean weaver and the women of the Fibre Art movement.

●Related Articles
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

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

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

"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

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

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

« Les Intégrations », Cabinet, Faraoui – De Mazières — Vers une Dématérialisation des Formes d’Art ?

Etudier les actions dans l’espace public revient à définir une historiographie de pratiques séminales contribuant à l’autonomisation du champ de l’histoire de l’art et de ses objets. A partir de 1966, le Cabinet d’architectes Abdeslam Faraoui et Patrice de Mazières met en œuvre le projet des Intégrations dont l’intermédialité entre l’art, l’urbanisme et l’architecture se distingue du corpus des actions organisées dans l’espace public. → more

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

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


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

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

●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

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

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

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

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

"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

●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
Of Art and Politics — Hannes Meyer and the Workshop of Popular Graphics EN
Lena Bergner: From the Bauhaus to Mexico EN
Teko Porã — On Art and Life EN
"Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture" by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy EN
The “Workshop for Popular Graphic Art” in Mexico: Bauhaus Travels to America EN
Don’t Breathe Normal: Read Souffles! — On Decolonizing Culture EN
« Les Intégrations », Cabinet, Faraoui – De Mazières — Vers une Dématérialisation des Formes d’Art ? 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 CHABAA FR
Research Project by Kader Attia EN
Common Threads — Approaches to Paul Klee’s Carpet of 1927 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
"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