Dear Michael

I am in general agreement with your regarding Bauhaus (as well as its
later American appropriation). But would you say that there is also a
question of the ambiguity of its effect? That Bauhaus can be blurred,
albeit awkwardly, with fascist architecture and American
functional "egalitarianism" might indicate a shared discursive field
that is discomforting, no?

Just thought.


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Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 8:42:16 PM
Subject: Bauhaus fascist?

It seems odd to me to compare the Bauhaus' version of modernism (or
Soviet constructivism) with fascism/Nazism.  Yes, their industrial
design was functionalist, but in an explicitly Marxist way that
attempted to level, rather than reinforce, class distinctions.  They
also turned away from the classicism and Romanticism that were so dear
to Hitler et al.  Now, when we start thinking about the influence of
the Bauhaus on the design of American cities (and particularly housing
projects), the egalitarian ideal of housing for the masses becomes
something else entirely....


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Stephen Sheehi
Visiting Prof. of Arab Studies
Duke University

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