Friday, April 20, 2012

Anti-Hitler but not Anti-Totalitarian!

Weekly Art Quotes:

"The Bauhaus was anti-Hitler but not anti-totalitarian (including the new techtronic totality)." (George Cohen on 1940s Chicago art scene, October 11, 1969, in Dubuffet and the Anticulture, exhibition Catalog, 1970.) 


Stormydepth said...

I always found the 1960s and 1970s attack on the Bauhaus to be ill-informed. The simplistic mindset of equating structure with tyranny is not a very sophisticated perspective. Bauhaus made sense in its own Zeitgeist. It is a product of the modern. In as far that everything modern (including science) is now seen as an oppressive legacy, the argument has devolved into a unanimous criticism of structure. In its day Bauhaus did much to advance architecture and like any other dominant idea created its own anti-thesis in a healthy dynamic.

Tameshk said...

Dearest StormyDepth,

Thanks for your comment! As you rightly mentioned there is no denial of Bauhaus's impact on all areas of art and its achievements especially in design and architectural structure. Bauhaus was indeed a necessity for our modern conditions. The citation above is out of a sensibility that was dominant towards the end of 50s and mid 60s on the death of painting. This sensibility was in connection with Minimalism. In this particular quote Bauhaus is not being criticized for being backwards with no impact on our lives and arts. In fact Cohen is trying to make the point that it had too much impact that it became a totalitarian voice in the art world. Again I agree with you that all these statements should be read within their historical context.