●Edition 1: Learning From
Jun. 7–9 2018
Workshop und Symposium

New York

  • Goethe-Institut New York
  • 30 Irving Place New York, NY 10003, USA

Lena Bergner, Zeichnung eines Handwebrahmens, 1936–39
Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, © Erbengemeinschaft nach Lena Bergner.

Bauhaus-Emigrant*innen und ihre Schüler sammelten und studierten amerindische Objekte und Materialien auf Recherchereisen und in nordamerikanischen Museen, wodurch sich ihre eigenen künstlerischen Methoden veränderten. In einem dreitägigen Workshop beschäftigt sich eine Gruppe von Künstler*innen, Designer*innen, Kurator*innen und Kunsthistoriker*innen mit den Themen Aneignung, Repräsentation und dem ‘Lernen von’ anderen Kulturen.

Rose Slivka, "New Tapestry", in: Craft Horizons, March/April 1963, © American Craft Council.

Der Workshop widmet sich der Verwendung und dem Kontext dieser Objekte. Aus welchem ursprünglichen Umfeld stammen sie? Wie sahen die historischen Gegebenheiten indigener Völker zu dem Zeitpunkt aus als diese Objekte in Sammlungen aufgenommen wurden? Und wie steht diese Forschung heutzutage in Beziehung mit aktuellen Diskussionen zu indigenen Kulturen. Die Recherchegruppe, an der unter anderem indigene Forscher*innen teilhaben, wird die Geschichte dieser Objekte, deren Formensprache und Fertigungsweisen sowie ethische Fragen untersuchen.

Bei Besuchen in New Yorker Museumsarchiven und Studios (wie dem American Museum of Natural History, dem Metropolitan Museum und der Lenore Tawney Foundation) wird die Arbeitsgruppe mesoamerikanische Artefakte und Arbeiten der Künstler*innen und Designer*innen, die sich Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts von diesen Sammlungen inspirieren ließen, vor Ort erforschen und diskutieren. Im Anschluss an die Exkursion findet ein öffentliches Seminar am Goethe-Institut New York statt.

Das Symposium in New York wird kuratiert von Marion von Osten und Grant Watson in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Goethe-Institut New York und den Forscherinnen Elissa Auther (NYC) und Erin Alexa Freedman (NYC).

●Related Articles
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. 
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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

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

"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

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

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

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