Palmer Museum Exhibition and Symposium Focus On 'Bauhaus Transfers: Albers/Rauschenberg'

  • UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania
  • /
  • September 02, 2019

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Josef Albers, Homage to the Square (It Seems), 1963, oil on panel, 39 7/8 x 40 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1968. © 2019 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On September 3, the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State will open an exhibition in celebration of the centenary of the Bauhaus, the influential school founded in Weimar, Germany, that unified fine arts, design, and architecture in its curriculum. The Palmer joins organizations worldwide in marking the 100-year anniversary with its opening of the exhibition Bauhaus Transfers: Albers/Rauschenberg and a variety of related programming throughout the fall season.

Artist Josef Albers (1888–1976), a student and then instructor at the Bauhaus, fled Nazi Germany for the United States after the school was forced to close in 1933. Albers took a post as head of Black Mountain College, a new art school in North Carolina, and became a formative educator for many artists. Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) first attended the school in 1948–49 and considered Albers “the most important teacher” he ever had. This exhibition pairs Albers’ painting Homage to the Square (It Seems), from 1963, and Rauschenberg’s print Booster, from 1967, to explore their relationship, the dissemination of Bauhaus ideas and pedagogy, and its legacy in America. Both works are on loan to the Palmer Museum of Art from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“We are delighted to present the works of Albers and Rauschenberg as part of a collections-sharing program formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and supported by Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art,” said Palmer Museum Director Erin M. Coe. “The Palmer is one of eight museums in the Commonwealth to participate in this new initiative that is part of a nation-wide effort to expand access to American art. It is an unprecedented new partnership model, unlike anything we’ve seen in the museum field.”

Robert Rauschenberg, Booster, 1967, color lithograph and screenprint, sheet: 6 feet x 35¾ inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the International Graphic Arts Society, Inc., in honor of Carl Zigrosser, 1967. © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The dialogue between the two works in the show is also presented in conjunction with the interdisciplinary symposium Bauhaus Transfers, organized by the Penn State Department of Architecture and Department of German Studies and held from September 19 to 21. An international roster of more than a dozen scholars—hailing from Austria, China, England, Germany, Mexico, Poland, as well as the United States—will examine the lasting importance of the histories, theories, and practices of the Bauhaus in a global context.

The centenary commemoration exhibition continues in the Palmer’s Hull Gallery print study drawers with a display of works by Bauhaus faculty and students, including Anni Albers, Max Bill, and Wassily Kandinsky.

Bauhaus Transfers is on view at the Palmer until December 15. It is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative.

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