Launched in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius in a Utopian vision following the devastation of WWI, this famous German design school finally closed under National Socialism in 1933. Overturning traditional hierarchies between art, craft and architecture, the inspiring programme of experiment and material investigation saw several incarnations as it shifted location and underwent changes in leadership. How successful was the celebrated spirit of collaboration: between individuals and between the priorities of art and industrial processes? And what has our contemporary world inherited from that pioneering project, beyond the foundation course and modular furniture? In this course, we look behind the iconic objects and the men and women who designed them to consider the creative tensions and lasting legacies of a hugely influential moment in art history.
The Bauhaus and its Legacy
What you will learn
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Identify characteristic features of Bauhaus teaching and production, comparing the contribution of key individuals and collaborative workshop practices.
- Understand the developing aims of the Bauhaus programme through distinct phases of transition from Utopian ideals to industrial production.
- Think critically about changing attitudes to the role of the artist in society and the effects of design on everyday life.
- Through case studies of iconic objects, discuss typical tensions between art and technology and their relevance to today’s design world.
- Question the gender gap in a school with a large proportion of women students.
- Consider the impact of political and economic pressures on a progressive community in challenging times.
Class format and activities
Sessions will be taught in an informal lecture/discussion format with PowerPoint presentations shared on screen. There will be a 15-minute break in the middle of the session. You are encouraged to engage in discussion based on specific examples related to the overall topic and Powerpoint slides will be shared in advance by email. Further resources and text extracts will be provided for the basis of discussion and private study.
No previous knowledge of art history or German culture is needed for this course, just a visual curiosity and a sense of enquiry for the ideas circulating around art and society in a significant place and historical era.
What you can do next
We offer a range of long and short courses in art history at Morley and cover a range of periods and subjects of interest. You may like to opt for a lecture-based programme online or in the college or one where you visit galleries and study the art and artefacts in situ (subject to Covid 19 restrictions). You can browse our full programme by searching "art history" on our website.