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‘Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity’ at MoMA

09-bauhaus-alphabet-aI just ran through the exhibit ‘Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity’ at MoMA.  Unfortunately all I could manage was a quick visit.  One of the perils of visiting MoMA during a weekday, even at lunch, is the possibility of it being overrun with masses of super-sugared sixth graders on a class trip.  With a generous helping of European tourists thrown into the mix too of course.  But regardless of being distracted by uninterested museum-goers, I was very impressed with my initial viewing of the show. 

Having been introduced to the Bauhaus as an architecture student in college, I knew two things about the school.  First, that they were at the forefront of the development of modernism.  And second, they threw some kooky parties.  Under the direction of architects Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Bauhaus brought together the disciplines of art, graphic design, industrial design, architecture and interior design in a new spirit of collaboration and creative interplay.  On display in the exhibit are paintings, textile designs, timelessly modern tubular steel chairs by, among others, Marcel Breuer and Mies, beautiful typography and graphic design, sculpture and architecture.  A prime example being Gropius’s design for the Bauhaus school building in Dessau.  Completed in 1926, the building was one of the earliest manifestations of what would grow to be called the International Style

The exhibit shows not only how prolific the students, and the instructors, were but also how influential their collective work was and continues to be.  How often does that happen that a group of students help to push the boundaries of design and creativity forward?  The marauding gangs of easily distracted sixth-graders should take note.  The exhibit is a must-see.  And I will definitely go back to study the pieces and their history more carefully.  But maybe I’ll wait until class has been dismissed for the day.