bauhaus
imaginista
●Edition 1: Learning From
Jun. 7–9 2018
Workshop and Symposium

bauhaus imaginista: Learning From, New York

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

Lena Bergner, Draft of a hand loom, 1936–39
Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, © Heirs to Lena Bergner.

A three-day workshop and public seminar explored questions of appropriation, representation and ‘learning from’ in the work of Bauhaus emigres and their students who studied and collected a wide range of objects and materials indigenous to the Americas.

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

This workshop considered the use and context of these objects in their original setting, the historical circumstance of indigenous people at the time these collections were being made, and how this research relates to a discussion of indigenous culture today?

A group of artists, designers, curators and art historians including indigenous scholars examined this history in relation to form and technique as well as ethics. This working group made site visits to museums archives and studios in New York, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum and the Lenore Tawney Foundation, to examine and discuss materials ranging from Mesoamerican artefacts to the work of the mid-century artists and designers who found inspiration in these collections. This study tour was followed by a public seminar at the New York Goethe-Institute.

bauhaus imaginista is realized by the Bauhaus Cooperation Berlin Dessau Weimar, the Goethe-Institut and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW).

The symposium in New York is curated by Marion von Osten and Grant Watson in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut New York and the researchers Elissa Auther(NYC) and Erin Alexa Freedman (NYC).

●Event documentation
●Symposium Programme
bauhaus imaginista: Learning From, New York

This symposium, part of bauhaus imaginista, an international research project to mark the school’s centenary, will ask what it means to take cultural materials and inscribe them within a new context, whether this is done by the 19th-century ethnographic museum, the avant-garde artist, the mid-century teaching collection or in contemporary art. → more

●Slide Show
Photo documentation of the symposium in New York
●Documentation
Video documentation of the symposium in New York

See and listen to the participants of the bauhaus imaginista: Learning From symposium in New York speak in these videos: Marion von Osten, Grant Watson, Erin Freedman, Sebastian de Line, Virginia Gardner Troy, Cecilia Vicuña and Elissa Auther. → more

●Symposium Talk
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

●Video
Disappeared Quipu — Performance by Cecilia Vicuña for bauhaus imaginista
●Location
Location of the public seminar in New York

The bauhaus imaginista: Learning From public seminar was hosted by Goethe-Institut New York, USA. → more

●Related Articles
●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
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

●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

●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