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August 2002, Week 5


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
William Lafferty <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 28 Aug 2002 18:49:57 -0400
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
TEXT/PLAIN (49 lines)
On Tue, 27 Aug 2002, Ron Leming wrote:

> I think one could say there was definitely a fascist aesthetic, though
> I'm not sure if it was viluntary. I believe it was called Bahaus because
> most of the poster artists of the time came from that school, but I
> could be mistaken.

        I believe you are.  The Gestapo closed the Bauhaus's Berlin campus
(where it had moved from Dessau where it had been accused of harboring
Bolsheviks and "racially impure" students) on 11 April 1933.  The history
of the Bauhaus was permeated until Mies took over in 1930 by a vaguely
utopian vision and most definitely a Modernist aesthetic commitment, both
anathema to the Nazis, all initially fueled by the leftist rumblings
within Weimar, where it existed before coming to Dessau.  I recommend
Elaine Hochman's two books, *Bauhaus:  Crucible of Modernism* and,
especially, for the political deprivations it suffered at the hands of the
Nazis, *Architects of Fortune,* discussing Mies van der Rohe's attempt to
make the institution survive under increasing Nazi disapproval.  I don't
doubt that, perhaps, former Bauhaus students may have been absorbed, for
whatever reason, into the Nazi art culture, but the entire program of
Bauhaus was fundamentally in opposition to that culture.  One need only
look at Gropius's or Mies's architectural work juxtaposed against the
fascist architecture of Germany to see the divergence.  Indeed, Gropius's
*Pour une nouvelle architecture* seems today arguing the antithesis of
Nazi art and architecture, from a "nationalist" style to, literally as
dubbed by its champions, an "international" style.

                         William Lafferty, PhD
                          Associate Professor

Department of Theatre Arts                      [log in to unmask]
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