Today in an editorial at The New York Times (NYT) the former chief curator of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, Barry Bergdoll, talks about some of the complexity and mystery that continues to shroud the Bauhaus – the earliest and most notable modern art school, which operated in Germany between 1919 and 1933. Bergdoll is a professor of art history at Columbia University, and was 10 years ago was one of the key people who supported my campaign to preserve Atlanta’s largest public library from being demolished.
The Atlanta-Fulton Central Public Library is of historic importance for numerous reasons, including that it was the last building designed by Marcel Breuer, who was early in his life a student at the Bauhaus, thereafter becoming an instructor, and thereafter a Harvard professor and one of the most renowned architects of the 20th century.
In 2009, Berdoll and I were interviewed by Metropolis Magazine, which also included interviews with Isabelle Hyman, and John Szabo, who was then director of Atlanta’s public library system, and is now director of Los Angeles’ public library system.
In his article NYT piece, Bergdoll makes some good points about that are frequently misunderstood, pointing out that the misunderstanding comes from the school’s rapid evolution and remaking over a short period of time. In some respects he’s preaching to the choir, which historians are often guilty of, myself included.
Curiously, also today Google celebrates the life of Ruth Asawa with a Google Doodle. Asawa was not a part of the Bauhaus, but she was the favorite student of Josef Albers, who taught at the Bauhaus, and later moved to the US where he taught for many years at Black Mountain College before teaching at Yale. And it was at Black Mountain College where he met Asawa.