With the exhibition ‘Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy’ I wanted to facilitate a critical visual exploration of the Bauhaus heritage in the context of contemporary living, architecture and design. I also wanted to initiate a dialogue between the timeless modernism of Bauhaus architecture and the visions of contemporary practitioners, as well as offer a different perspective on Bauhaus design philosophy as it relates to architecture and its relevance in today’s society – from the use of prefabricated housing techniques to create affordable housing, to early ideas in what is today sustainable and green architecture.
The exhibition has been traveling throughout Europe since its opening at the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt in 2009, commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus School. It was shown in 8 venues and there are 3 more to come, finishing up the European tour in 2013/2014.
The exhibition will come to the United States in January of 2013. With this crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter my objective is to raise the funds I need to produce a duplicate set of the exhibition for its upcoming 3-year long US tour.
BH2021: Haus der Gegenwart, Munich DE
In 1999 while doing research in Germany for another project I had an opportunity to visit a number of buildings created by Bauhaus masters and students. I knew the furniture and was vaguely familiar with the architecture, however I soon realized how little I knew about the motivation behind the early designs of the Bauhaus pioneers.
What I saw was a revelation - early ideas in passive solar, radiant heat as well as prefabricated housing. What really blew me away was the Törten Estate in Dessau where Walter Gropius, using on-site prefabrication as well as assembly line techniques and scheduling used by Henry Ford for the production of the Ford’s Model T, could build six affordable houses a week. Imagine that being used in Haiti or New Orleans? I saw first hand that this was not something for the history books, but a legacy that was alive and well today.
I then worked with two curatorial advisors: Michael Siebenbrodt, Director of the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, to select 12 of the most iconic projects from the historical Bauhaus, and Dr. Falk Jaeger, a noted architecture professor and critic from Berlin, to select 12 contemporary projects by up-and-coming as well as internationally renown architects, that best exemplified the legacy of the 12 historical selections: Allmann Sattler Wappner Architects, Rolf Disch, Fink+Jocher, Galli & Rudolf Architects, Ingvartsen Architects, Petzinka Pink Architects, Graham Phillips, RCR Aranda Pigem Vilalta Architects, Sauerbruch Hutton, Werner Sobek, Hanno Vogl-Fernheim, and Gert Wingårdh.
The exhibition opened in Frankfurt just in time to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus on April 1st. Since then it has been shown in Krakow, Nice, Munich, Stockholm, Ljubljana, Bratislava, Brussels and soon in Eindhoven, Holland followed by Tampere in Finland and a yet to be named venue in Russia.
BH2021: Bauhaus School, Dessau DE
Beyond the exhibition I work with students to broaden their understanding of various topics included in the exhibition.
Telling a Story: Photography & Architecture is a two day-workshop for middle, high school and college students. Participants learn how to use a series of photographs to illustrate a personal vision, while developing an awareness of the local built environment as well as the architectural heritage of their surroundings.
Anatomy of a Photo Project is a one day-seminar for university photography & art students, or/and general audience. Participants learn how to develop a photographic project, from conception through planning for its realization in book or/and exhibition form.
BH2021: Bauhaus Sign, Dessau, DE
'The most original exhibition and publication on the topic of the Bauhaus came 2009 from New York photographer Gordon Watkinson: [...] a project at the intersection between conceptual art and architecture theory, that one can only recommend.' Michael Koetzle, PHOTO International (Germany)
'A true revelation' Sylvie Beal, Nice Matin (France)
'It is not raw functionalism that inspire the photographs of Gordon Watkinson. Using light and shadow, the photographer represents the beauty of the geometrical forms, thus underlining the abstract roots of the aesthetic we know from the work of both Kandinsky and Mondrian.' Maja Mozga-Gorecka, Rzeczpospolita (Poland)
'In recent months a number of exhibitions have shown that the Bauhaus was not a doctrine but a cradle for different ideas and concepts. Just how vibrant and fundamental these concepts still are for contemporary architectural projects can be seen in a magnificent solo exhibition by New York based photographer Gordon Watkinson. [...] Watkinson has skillfully chosen aesthetically timeless motifs that portray the living environments of the past as a model for a way of life today.' Sandra Hofmeister, Baumeister (Germany)
BH2021 Wassily Chairs
The exhibition will go on tour in the US/North America beginning in January 2013:
Jule Collins Museum of Fine Arts / Auburn University, Auburn, AL (January 24 - May 5, 2013)
Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR (May 23 - September 1, 2013)
Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN (September 19, 2013 - January 5, 2014) / Signature Event for the 60th Anniversary of AIA Memphis and the 10th Anniversary of AIA Memphis 'Architecture Month' in September
Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville, OK (January 23 - May 4, 2014) 'The Price Tower is Frank Lloyd Wright’s only realized skyscraper.'
Prichard Art Gallery / University of Idaho, Moscow, ID (September 18, 2014 - January 4, 2015)
Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA (January 22 - May 3, 2015) / Part of the Palm Springs Modernism Week Program in February 2015
and hopefully a few more to come...
BH2021: Bauhaus School Dormitory, Dessau DE
The Kickstarter Campaign
The sponsors for the exhibition in Europe are primarily based in, you guessed it, Europe, consequently they will not continue to support the exhibition when it comes to the US/North America. I need your support in order to produce a new set of the exhibition for the US/North American portion of the tour. The exhibition contains 77 prints ranging in size from 26” x 34” (61 x 91.4 cm) to 42” x 58” (106.6 x 147.3 cm), 24 sets of plans, as well as 17 re-editions of Bauhaus design (chairs, coffee tables and lamps). As you might imagine, the $5000 stated goal is just the base amount of money needed to help with the production of a new set of the exhibition. With that in mind any support that you can give will be greatly appreciated.
Publication: Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy
If nothing else please spread the word - good design really can change lives!
Thank you very much for your support! I hope to see you soon at one of the openings in the near future.
BH2021: Limited Edition Poster (Edition of 100)