Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bauhaus postcards

No, not the magnificent goth band fronted by Peter Murphy. The art school in Germany circa 1919-1933.

The signature style of this school (Bauhaus meaning "construction house" in German) ended up having significant, long-lasting influences not only on art but on graphic design, interior design, architecture, and typography. During my lunchtime surfing about the interwebs, I came across this gallery from Wired that featured numerous Bauhaus postcards.

These featured postcards are from 1923 when the Bauhaus was preparing for its first public exhibition. A combined 16 students and professors (including Vasily Kandinsky and Paul Klee) from the institution created these postcards to publicize (ah promotion, the bane of the artist since time immemorial) the event in hopes of expressing what was believed to be the new German aesthetic in art and industrialization. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (one of my favorite places in the world) acquired 20 of these beautiful pieces of black, red, yellow, and blue, sometimes showing geometric shapes and other times Cubist sensibilities (do you see the face? Damn, could I have any more parentheticals in this post?) Rough architectural sketches are thrown in for good measure.

“The medium was an important part of the message,” says Juliet Kinchin, curator of MoMA's architecture and design department. “Modern design at the Bauhaus was not about creating one-off monumental or exclusive creations.” Indeed, there was a shift towards the more commercial going on at the time of the 1923 exhibition. Bauhaus was moving from art to industry. Part of the minimalist approach to the cards was to deflect any sense of elitism.

What? Elitism in art and academics? Say it ain't so.

The full gallery is well worth checking out. I certainly spent longer than I should have just looking over the images and wishing I could get to MoMA but cursed by dearth of propinquity.

Speaking of more time than I should, time to go grade.

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