Philip Ursprung, “Bauhaus Bashing: Looking Back and Looking Ahead”

Theodore Lux Feininger, "Bauhaus stage: Members of the Stage Workshop on the Roof of the Bauhaus, Dessau, c. 1926-1927."

For the 100th birthday of Bauhaus, the German State supports two new museums, several exhibitions and many celebrations. The current celebrations repress the fact that the Bauhaus in the late 20th century was criticized for its formalism and dogmatic design education. And while a handful of buildings in Dessau and Weimar are listed, the modernist heritage in general is neglected. Which are the lessons about the role of history for our present time?


Philip Ursprung is Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. From 2017 to July 2019 he was Dean of the Department of Architecture and is currently the Department’s Director of Research. He leads the project “Tourism and Urbanisation” at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. Born in Baltimore, MD, he studied in Geneva, Vienna and Berlin and taught at Hochschule der Künste Berlin, Columbia University New York, the University of Zurich and the Barcelona Institute of Architecture. As a visiting curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal he curated Herzog & de Meuron: Archeology of the Mind and edited the catalogue Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History (CCA Montréal, 2002). His most recent books are Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2013) and Representation of Labor / Performative Historiography (Santiago de Chile, Arq Ediciones, 2018). A collection of the writings by Gordon Matta-Clark, edited with Gwendolyn Owens, is forthcoming with University of California Press.

This program is supported by the Breger Fund.


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