Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bauhaus Project


2009 is the 90th anniversary of the Bauhaus—a German art school that existed between 1919 and 1933 in Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin, Germany. The Bauhaus’s students and teachers were such people as Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Georg Munch, Walter Gropius, and Gunta Stolzl (among many others). Although the Bauhaus ran for less than two decades, the influence of the design theory and ideas about art had far reaching effects. Many ideas begun at the Bauhaus continued at schools in the United States such as Black Mountain College after the German school closed in 1933.

I am currently engaged in a Bauhaus project which is the brain-child of a good weaving friend of mine, Cornelia Theimer Gardella (www.corneliatheimer.com). She is a native of Erfurt, Germany and she and her husband Kurt split their time between Germany and northern New Mexico. Conni wanted to do a project connecting the ideas begun at the Bauhaus in the early 20th century and its influence on contemporary tapestry artistry. She approached myself and James Koehler (www.geocities.com/jamesrkoehler/) to collaborate on a project that would explore the ideas from the Bauhaus and connect them to our current work in the southwestern United States. James, Conni, and myself are all contemporary tapestry weavers. Conni and I have been mentored by James Koehler for the past several years and I definitely feel grateful to be included in this project which will continue our mentoring relationship and further my knowledge not only of contemporary tapestry, but of some of the art forms’ roots in Bauhaus ideas.

We are planning a show of our work in Germany during the 90th Bauhaus celebration. All three of us will display works hopefully in a gallery in Erfurt--Conni’s home town. Our plans also include a workshop accompanied by lectures designed to connect the Bauhaus ideas with our current work in New Mexico (and Conni’s continuing work in both Germany and New Mexico). We are currently looking for a venue for the show in New Mexico when we return from Germany, probably in the fall of 2009. If we’re lucky we’ll be able to also make a connection at Convergence in 2010 (we’re hoping for Albuquerque!) and perhaps show the work and repeat the workshops a third time. Our next challenge is to secure venues and find some grants to support our travel and teaching.

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