Celebrating the Bauhaus across Campus

February 28, 2019
Melissa Venator, the Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Fellow in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, leads a tour of the Bauhaus and Harvard exhibition.

Inspired by The Bauhaus and Harvard exhibition and want to learn more about the influential German school of art and design? You’re in luck. Throughout 2019, you’ll find plenty of Bauhaus-related exhibitions, installations, and programs—not only at the Harvard Art Museums but across campus. Here are some highlights.

  • of In the Lightbox Gallery, Judith Raum: Raveled Fabrics presents two films that address the Bauhaus weaving workshop and textiles.
  • of The Houghton Library’s exhibition The Bauhaus at Home and Abroad: Selections from the papers of Walter Gropius, Lyonel Feininger, and Andor Weininger focuses on the careers of three seminal Bauhaus figures.
  • of Creating Community: Harvard Law School and the Bauhaus, in the Harvard Law School’s Langdell Hall, explores the impact of the Bauhaus on student life at the law school.

View: Installations and Exhibitions

Here at the Harvard Art Museums, if you haven’t already, be sure to see our two exhibitions The Bauhaus and Harvard and Hans Arp’s Constellations II, both open through July 28. And an installation by contemporary German artist Judith Raum is on view in the Lightbox Gallery. Judith Raum: Raveled Fabrics presents two films about the Bauhaus weaving workshop and textiles: Taking Turns at the Same Loom (2017), investigating the collective production of Bauhaus fabrics, and Discussion of Material (2017), about Bauhaus teacher and weaver Otti Berger, whose life was tragically cut short in World War II at Auschwitz.

At Houghton Library, The Bauhaus at Home and Abroad: Selections from the papers of Walter Gropius, Lyonel Feininger, and Andor Weininger is on view through May 24. The exhibition explores the careers of three seminal Bauhaus figures: Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus and later a Harvard professor; Feininger, a Bauhaus faculty member and artist; and Weininger, a Bauhaus student and promoter. The music of the Bauhaus Jazz Band streams through speakers in the compact exhibition space.

Stop by the Harvard Law School to see Creating Community: Harvard Law School and the Bauhaus, on view through July 31. The exhibition highlights the history of the Gropius-designed Harvard Graduate Center, comprised of Harkness Commons (now the Caspersen Student Center) and dormitories. Archival photographs, publications, and other ephemera illuminate these campus landmarks.

Across the river in Allston, visit The Bauhaus Studio, a two-part exhibition highlighting the legacy of the Bauhaus through artistic responses by Harvard students. At the Harvard Ed Portal, Primary Materials presents single-material investigations that reactivate exercises pioneered within the Bauhaus’s famed preliminary course (Vorkurs). At the ArtLab, Secondary Sources features artwork developed through archival research and material exploration of Bauhaus pedagogy and practice. A reception for these exhibitions will be held on May 4, as part of the ARTS FIRST Festival.

  • of Gallery tours led by curators, fellows, and other experts provide a closer look at various aspects of the museums’ Bauhaus and Harvard exhibition.
  • of Walking tours bring visitors to Bauhaus-related landmarks at the Harvard Graduate Center (now part of the Harvard Law School campus). Inside the Caspersen Center, Josef Albers’s brick relief America (1950) remains in situ.
  • of Students dine in front of Joan Miró and Josep Llorens Artigas’s tile mural from 1960 in the Caspersen Center. Outside the window, Richard Lippold’s metal sculpture World Tree (1950) is just visible.
  • of Lippold’s World Tree remains a focal point at Harvard Law School.

Participate: Tours, Workshops, and a Seminar

At the Harvard Art Museums, curators, curatorial fellows, and other experts offer focused tours of the Bauhaus and Harvard and Hans Arp’s Constellations II exhibitions. Gallery talks illuminate specific objects or concepts, including Moholy-Nagy’s Light Prop for an Electric Stage (March 19, July 9), Arp’s Constellations II (March 13), and Richard Lippold’s World Tree (April 30). General exhibition tours are also scheduled on some Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (check the calendar for specific dates). Across campus, on the morning and afternoon of April 26, and May 11, Charlotte Leib, curatorial intern at the Harvard Art Museums and student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, leads walking tours of the Harvard Graduate Center.

Our Materials Lab Workshops allow participants to experiment with techniques and materials used by Bauhaus artists. On March 5, Fritz Horstman, an Albers Foundation educator, leads participants in some of Josef Albers’s experiential explorations of color, such as how to “make one color become two.” Horstman returns on April 2 to lead a workshop detailing the textile-making techniques of Anni Albers. (These popular programs are already sold out; check back for future workshops, offered in conjunction with most new exhibitions.)

An Art Study Center Seminar on April 19 examines experimental, documentary, and object photography from the Bauhaus. The seminar is led by Laura Muir, curator of the Bauhaus and Harvard exhibition, and Gary Van Zante, curator of the MIT Museum’s exhibition Arresting Fragments: Object Photography at the Bauhaus (see more about Arresting Fragments below).

A still image from László Moholy-Nagy’s Lightplay: Black-White-Gray (1930). The film will be screened in the museums’ Menschel Hall, as the third part of the series Film by Design: Bauhaus and the Moving Image.

Attend: Film Screenings and a Symposium

The Harvard Art Museums’ three-part film series—Film by Design: Bauhaus and the Moving Image— provides a glimpse into the use of the medium by Bauhaus practitioners. Part 1 presents films shown at the Bauhaus Week in Weimar in 1923; part 2 shows works that were screened at the inauguration of the Bauhaus Dessau in 1926; and part 3 focuses on films that reflect the design of the 1929 Metal Party, such as circles, disks, and lightplays.

Gropius Memory Palace (2017) offers a contemporary take on Bauhaus material, inviting viewers to participate in a guided meditation incorporating the Gropius-designed Fagus Factory in Alfeld, Germany. The screening in Menschel Hall will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Ben Thorp Brown and curator Laura Muir.

The Harvard Film Archive is offering complementary programs that highlight the role of female Bauhaus filmmakers (March 11) as well as a survey of film experiments at the New Bauhaus in Chicago and beyond (April 22). Visit the Harvard Film Archive’s calendar for more information.

A daylong symposium on March 29 at the Harvard Art Museums will focus on Bauhaus-related objects, photographs, textiles, and more. Open to the public, Bauhaus 100: Object Lessons from a Historic Collection brings together leading and emerging scholars to share research. Scholarship resulting from this event will be published in 2020.

On April 24, the Graduate School of Design hosts Space: Movement and the Technological Body: A Tribute to the Bauhaus, a night of screenings and performances, including movement-based works by students developed in collaboration with a course taught by Krzysztof Wodiczko and Ani Liu. Choreography and dance scholar Debra McCall will give a brief introductory presentation.

RAMP IT UP: Bauhaus for the 21st Century, on the afternoon of May 5, is a site-specific performance by current Harvard students, combining drag, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Held on the Prescott Street lawn between the Harvard Art Museums and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, RAMP IT UP is an imaginative evocation of the 1929 Metal Party, the most famous of the Bauhaus’s themed celebrations. The performance is presented as part of ARTS FIRST 2019.

Beyond Harvard

A number of museums in the Boston area are presenting Bauhaus-related exhibitions and programming this spring. The MIT Museum’s Arresting Fragments: Object Photography at the Bauhaus (March 28–September 1) features digital prints from the collections of the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, highlighting the relationship between photography, graphic design, and book arts. At the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, two exhibitions delve into the Bauhaus through dozens of photographs and other works on paper: Radical Geometries: Bauhaus Prints, 1919–33 and Postwar Visions: European Photography, 1945–60 (both through June 23). The MFA is also screening Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus throughout March, and offering a five-week course about the Bauhaus Movement. The Gropius House, in nearby Lincoln, is marking the centennial with a number of events; one is the Bauhaus 100 Metallisches Fest, a metal-themed evening party, on May 18.

For more about Bauhaus-related events happening throughout New England, visit the Goethe Institut’s listings.