So Undead: Ten Things You Might Not Know About 100-Year-Old Bauhaus

Score Sketch to a Mechanical Eccentricity (detail), no date. Collection of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Gift of Regi Weile. 
  1. Though the word Bauhaus is German for “building house” and the name became associated with sleek-lined modern architecture, the original school in Germany (est. 1919) didn’t even have an architecture department.
  2. Citing Communist activity and dangerous intellectualism, the Nazi regime shut down Bauhaus in 1933 — the same year progressive Black Mountain College opened in Western North Carolina. 
  3. Back in Germany, in 1925, Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius chose abstract painter and furniture designer Josef Albers to steer the movement in the direction of craft, during the school’s stint in Dessau. When Black Mountain College opened, Albers became the first head of the new institution’s art department.
  4. Josef’s wife, Anni Albers, a Bauhaus innovator who elevated traditional textiles to the status of fine art, taught weaving at Black Mountain College. She was the first fiber artist given a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
  5. A recent 7,000-word article about the Bauhaus Centennial in New York Times Magazine included one sentence about Black Mountain College.
  6. Though the concept of Bauhaus can seem abstract, the movement’s intent was to make architecture and design as functional and accessible as possible.  
  7. Just so, the Bauhaus concept has been distilled into countless everyday objects, high and low, including art pottery, kitchen accessories, and contemporary metal desk chairs with slippery black vinyl (first found in mid-century offices, now ubiquitous).
  8. Bauhaus is the name of a pioneering goth-rock band from England. The refrain of their seminal nine-minute dirge goes: “Bela Lugosi’s dead … undead, undead, undead.”
  9. Writer Tom Wolfe, who died last year, was never photographed wearing anything other than an aristocratic white suit. Curiously, he lambasted the Bauhaus movement as elitist in his 1981 book of art criticism.
  10. Tom Wolfe, b. 1930 in Richmond, Virginia, was never the same person as novelist Thomas Wolfe, b. 1900 in downtown Asheville.
BAUHAUS 100: A Celebration of the Bauhaus Centennial, hosted by Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (120 College St., Asheville), through Saturday, Aug. 31, with related programming, including a “PERSPECTIVES Lunchtime Conversation” with Bauhaus scholar Eva Bares (UNCA) on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 12-1pm.

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