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The Bauhaus Idea and Bauhaus Politics

by Éva Forgács

"Drawing heavily on the large number of exceptionally strong monographs and published document collections, as well as Bauhaus archives, Forgacs retells the story with considerable verve, focusing on personalities and ideas, not on the objects or buildings produced... What is noteworthy is the centrality in Forgacs's tale of 'spirit of the age' as the driving force and determining factor in events. Defining 'the polarization of artistic individuality versus the increasing depersonalization of mass production' as one of the fundamental conflicts of our age, Forgacs argues frequently and flamboyantly that the spirit of the age-embodied in tides, waves, currents-shaped the outcome of conflicts." - The American Historical Review

"In this thought-provoking work, the author brings to bear the understanding of the postmodern era and an Eastern European perspective." - Choice

"Forgács tells her story well." - Art History

Forgacs examines the development of the Bauhaus school of architecture and applied design by focusing on the idea of the Bauhaus, rather than on its artefacts. What gave this idea its extraordinary powers of survival? Founded in 1919, with the architect Walter Gropius as its first director, the Bauhaus carried within it the seeds of conflict from the start. The duration of the Bauhaus coincides very nearly with that of the Weimar Republic; the Bauhaus idea - the notion that the artist should be involved in the technological innovations of mechanization and mass production - is a concept that was bound to arouse the most passionate feelings. It is these two strands - personal and political - that Forgacs so cleverly interweaves. The text has been extensively revised since its original publication in Hungarian, and an entirely new chapter has been added on the Bauhaus's Russian analogue, VkhUTEMAS, the Moscow academy of industrial art.

248 pages, 10 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-85866-012-7 paperback $26.95 / €25.95 / Ł24.99