Bernard Jazzar wants people to expand, and maybe rethink, their notions of what is traditionally considered a product of the Bauhaus German art school.
“Bauhaus was not a movement; it was not a style, it was always changing,” said Jazzar, who recently curated the exhibition “A Total Work of Art: Bauhaus-Bayer-Aspen” in the Resnick Gallery of the Aspen Institute’s Doerr-Hosier Center.
As part of Aspen’s centennial anniversary of the Bauhaus art school, Jazzar will lead a walkthrough and lecture of his exhibition from 4 to 5 p.m. today. The event is free and open to the public.
“Somehow today when people say Bauhaus, they think of something modern, minimal or stripped down, but it isn’t just that. It’s many other things. There was some spiritualism to it, there was some rationalism,” Jazzar said.
“The Bauhaus is more an ideology than a style, and it kept shifting. In a period of 14 years, there was a huge variety of styles,” he added.
He points to the Aspen Institute campus as an example of this, as well as Herbert Bayer’s development as a “total artist.”
Jazzar’s lecture is divided into three sections, beginning with a general history of the Bauhaus and looking at Bayer’s involvement as first a student and then a teacher from 1921 to 1928. The presentation will then explore Bayer’s evolution to work across many disciplines, including painting, sculpture, photography, typography, graphic design, advertising and exhibition design.
Bayer applied these skills at the peak of his career when he designed the institute’s campus from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s.
“It was a very deliberate layout,” Jazzar said of the campus. “And people don’t realize it is by design — Bayer took so many steps to make it that way.”
A wealth of knowledge on all things Bayer, Jazzar curated a Herbert Bayer exhibition to inaugurate the Resnick Gallery in 2007. He also curated “Geometry of an Illusionist: The Anthology Paintings of Herbert Bayer, 1976-1983” in 2009, as well as “Herbert Bayer: Mountains and Convolutions, 1944-1953” in 2018.
He said the installation of his latest exhibition is unusual — but Bauhaus by design.
“It might feel overwhelming because there is so much in there, therefore my advice is to see it one step at a time,” Jazzar said. “The show is not a one-time visit.”