Overview of publications for the exhibition Moving Away: The Internationalist Architect

Overview by Maryana Karysheva

For the exhibition Moving Away: The Internationalist Architect currently on show at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Garage Research have prepared an
an overview of publications on the Bauhaus school, its ideas and their development available at Garage Library.

Magdalena Droste. Bauhaus. 1919–1933

Taschen, 2016

Despite its short life (from 1919 to 1933), Bauhaus has greatly influenced the history of art, design, and architecture. The unique character of the school founded by Walter Gropius and inspired by the ideas of Deutsches Werkbund and the Arts and Crafts movement, was based on the belief in the unity of art, crafts, and technology, and a practice-based approach that meant students learnt to work with various materials before focusing on theory.

Prof. Magdalena Droste is a researcher at the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin—the largest collection of documents on the school’s history—and her major study combines a chronologically organised investigation into its three periods with a detailed description of its studios and the biographies of its teachers including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, and Josef Albers. Illustrated with photographs of Bauhaus life, buildings designed by its teachers and students, as well as historical documents and students’ paintings, drawings and designs, the book includes chapters on female students (The Weimar Constitution granted women equal rights to study along with men not long before the school opened its doors), the school’s internal conflicts, and its confrontation with the authorities, allowing for a full immersion into the spirit of the time.

Frank Whitford. Bauhaus

Thames & Hudson, 2012

The book was first published in 1984 in the World of Art series by Thames & Hudson. Deploring the absence of a study that would offer a comprehensive analysis of the school’s history, the work of its teachers and students and their goals and achievements, Frank Whitford sets out to fill this gap. What he offers is a careful and meticulous investigation into the way Bauhaus was formed, and the way it developed despite financial difficulties and often complicated relationships between its teachers—as well as an opportunity to see the school through the eyes of its students, whose reminiscences are ample throughout the publication.

With an ambition to present more than a chronological narrative, Whitford focuses on details and episodes that convey a sense of how artists, designers, and architects of the new world lived and worked between the two world wars. Pointing out the sad and ironic fact that Bauhaus partially owed its international acclaim to the Nazi repressions which forced many students to flee from Germany, he reminds the reader of the role of those who escaped from the country in making Bauhaus a cult school and a movement.

Walter Gropius. Krug totalnoy arkhitektury [The Scope of Total Architecture, in Russian]

Ad Marginem Press, 2017 (Garage’s publishing program with Ad Marginem Press)

One of the key architects and architectural theorists of the twentieth century, who formulated the principles of democratic architecture and democratic education, Walter Gropius first published his manifesto-collection in 1955. The book brings together articles written in different years (the earliest dating back to 1924) and shows that, although he developed and expanded his ideas throughout his career, Gropius remained faithful to the basic principles he formulated early on in his life. A firm believer in the union of art, craft, and technology, he saw both the advantages and the dangers of industrial production and insisted that "the key for a successful rebuilding of our environment will be the architect's determination to let the human element be the dominant factor."

In Education of Architects and Designers the founder and first director of Bauhaus develops the methodology of arts and architectural education starting from the kindergarten. Insisting on the importance of practice throughout the education, Gropius made it the key principle of Bauhaus education during his directorship.

Starting from 1973, Walter Gropius lived and worked in the USA, and the later essays in the collection explore American architecture and in particular the drawbacks and advantages of multi-story buildings. Like the rest of the texts in this collection, they reveal the authors systemic vision and the importance he attached to the creation of a positive social climate.

Sharon Rotbard. Bely gorod, Chyorny gorod. Arkhitektura I voyna v Tel-Avive I Yaffe [White City, Black City. Architecture and War in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, in Russian]

Ad Marginem Press, 2017 (Garage’s publishing program with Ad Marginem Press)

More than a school, Bauhaus has come to be associated with a particular international style in architecture and design, that has spread far beyond Europe, including to Middle East, even before the school itself officially closed in 1933.

The first Bauhaus buildings in Israel—or to be precise, in what used to be Palestine—emerged as early as in the 1920s and were designed by former Bauhaus students like Erich Mendelsohn, Richard Kauffmann, and Dov Karmi among others. The "white city", or Tel Aviv, which still boasts many buildings UNESCO listed as world heritage sights in 2003, has been the object of many architectural publications. In this book published by Garage in collaboration with Ad Marginem Press, Sharon Rotbard looks into some of the myths of the "white city" and explores its relationships with its two neighboring cities that eventually merged into one.

Rotbard traces the legend of the "white city" to the exhibition of the same name, which took place in 1994 and was curated by architecture historian Michael Levin. He follows the development of Tel Aviv constructivism until UNESCO’s decision and proceeds to discuss the history of relations between the ancient multinational and multicultural city of Jaffa and Tel Aviv that emerged in 1909 as the first Jewish city to have been built in the region in 2,000 years. Despite his purely scientific methodology, Rotbard’s narrative is extremely critical in tone and strongly informed by postcolonial theory. Rich historical material, ample references, and photographic illustrations will make the book interesting even to those readers who disagree with its tone.

Éva Forgács. The Bauhaus Idea and Bauhaus Politics

Central European University Press, 1995

The Bauhaus school lived through several transformations brought on by the arrival of new teachers and the change of directors. Believing that at a certain point it became a stage for collisions of personal and group ambitions, conflicts of values and beliefs, Hungarian scholar Éva Forgács focuses on the metamorphoses of the school’s politics and ideas.

How did the ideas that were fundamental for the school in its early years—innovative teaching, comprehensive education programs, and respect for the students’ individual choices turn into contempt? How did the program for the construction of a new world get replaced with attempts to adapt to the world that was already there? How did the school develop and what were the key factors that determined the way it changed?

One chapter of the book is devoted to a comparison between Bauhaus and the Soviet VKhUTEMAS, which developed in parallel to each other but had few contacts until the former director of Bauhaus Hannes Meyer went to work in the USSR. Comparing the two schools, whose development might seem quite similar, Forgács not only points out their shared and fundamental belief in art’s ability to build a new socially and human-oriented world, but also draws our attention to the unbridgeable gap between the politicians’ attitudes to new art on the one hand and the needs of societies where it developed on the other.