On view at the MIT Museum March 28 – September 1, 2019
Part of the worldwide centennial celebration of the Bauhaus
The MIT Museum presents Arresting Fragments: Object Photography at the Bauhaus from March 28 - September 1, 2019 in celebration of the Bauhaus centennial, the most influential design school of the twentieth century (1919-1933) whose cultural impact remains resonant a century later. With 92 prints on view, the exhibition explores the close relationship of photography, graphic design and the book arts, all areas of significant focus and impact for its program. The exactitude and immediacy of this work was exemplary of the camera’s ability to record, as Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy said, “arresting fragments of the world.”
Many of the photographs were used to spread Bauhaus ideals through advertising, posters, and publications. Form, spatial and volumetric relationships, surfaces and textures, and structure are revealed, while emphasizing the modernity of items of everyday use, many of them designed at the Bauhaus. A selection of photography of furnishings and buildings is also included. Featured is work by Lucia Moholy, Marianne Brandt, Etel Mittag-Fodor, and Hannes Meyer. The exhibition was curated by Gary Van Zante of the MIT Museum in collaboration with the Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin and is comprised of digital reproductions of original prints in the Bauhaus-Archiv collections.
“The MIT Museum is pleased to join in the worldwide celebration of the Bauhaus with this exhibition featuring photography by Bauhaus artists who saw in the camera the potential to transform vision and provide new perspectives on the world,” says curator Gary Van Zante. “Bauhaus photography is often overlooked in the context of the school’s innovative designs and the products of its workshops. The Bauhaus photographers were working during an era that was the most innovative in the history of the medium since its invention. Their work is fascinating on its own terms and for how it reflects the discoveries and experimentation of the time.”
An innovation of the interwar years, object photography marked the beginnings of the modern marketing industry and the use of photographs to emphasize the usefulness and beauty of manufactured products. Bauhaus photographers produced a broad range of experimental and sometimes visionary work from portraiture to cameraless images, but it was object photography that most successfully created an enduring image of Bauhaus design and craftsmanship.
The Goethe Institut is coordinating a promotional effort around the Bauhaus centennial events in 2019 for all of New England, including the MIT Museum exhibition, The Bauhaus and Harvard at the Harvard Art Museums, and Radical Geometries at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Contributing Support for the MIT Museum exhibition is provided by the Kurtz Gallery Exhibitions Fund.
Join Curator of Architecture and Design, Gary Van Zante, on an exploration of the exhibition on May 2 and June 6 at 2 pm. Limited to 25 participants - teens and adults only. Reservations available 30 minutes before tour start on a first-come, first-served basis. Free with Museum admission.
About the MIT Museum
The MIT Museum presents engaging exhibitions, robust programs, and lively events. The Institute’s past achievements are celebrated through the Museum’s extensive and unique collection, while MIT’s current research, innovation, and design provide a catalyst for exhibition themes and stories. The Museum offers a wide range of programs that appeal to audiences ranging from middle-school students to adults, including the annual Cambridge Science Festival. For more information, visit mitmuseum.mit.edu.
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Leah Talatinian, Arts at MIT