Evolving out of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Bauhaus school was founded in 1919 by German architect Walter Gropius, developing principles that shaped the foundation of modern architecture and design. Bauhaus instructors emphasized the creation of classical forms without extraneous ornamentation. Embracing technology, their philosophy stressed the search for solutions to contemporary design problems in urban planning, housing and utilitarian mass-production that would create a “total” work of art in which all disciplines of fine art and design were brought together. Although the name Bauhaus (German for “house for building”) is well known internationally, few people are fully aware of the complexity of its history and the diversity of its architectural legacy.
A multidisciplinary project that encompasses architecture, design and photography, Bauhaus twenty-21examines the enduring achievements of the Staatliches Bauhaus, from the origins of the school in Weimar to its closing in Berlin in 1933. The exhibition features the work of contemporary artist Gordon Watkinson, who documented 12 of the most significant examples of Bauhaus architecture in more than 100 photographs.
Watkinson’s images are accompanied by a rich selection of digitized, historic blueprints and sketches that illustrate the buildings’ innovative design characteristics and construction techniques. Presented alongside each of the Bauhaus selections are comparative projects by renowned contemporary architects, which make clear the ongoing legacy of Bauhaus principles in 21st-century international practice.
Honoring the fact that architectural design is best understood experientially, and not simply through the eyes, Bauhaus twenty-21 also includes room-like settings of Bauhaus-design furniture and objects, inviting visitors to interact physically with distinctive environments expressed by these seminal early 20th-century designs.
Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy is organized by Foto+Synthesis and developed with curatorial assistance by Michael Siebenbrodt, director of the Bauhaus-Museum in Weimar, Germany. Gordon Watkinson is a New York-based fine arts and commercial photographer. An illustrated, hardcover catalogue with essays by Watkinson, Siebenbrodt and prominent architects accompanies the exhibition.