4.365/4.366 Advanced Projects in Visual Arts: From Bauhaus to Our House

Ute Meta Bauer

This class explores the legacy of the German Bauhaus Movement and its relation to contemporary artistic practice and research, including how it intersects with the history of the arts at MIT. The 150th Anniversary this year of MIT is an apt moment to explore this rich history.

The Bauhaus Movement established a new pedagogy combining education in architecture, art and crafts, and spatial experiments, with new media such as photography and film. They were impelled by the idea that good design should be the province of everyone – not just the elite. The legacy of the Bauhaus Movement is also reflected in educational institutions in the U.S., such as Chicago’s New Bauhaus and Institute of Design, and the Black Mountain College in North Carolina, all established by Bauhaus faculty who fled Nazi Germany.

AT MIT, the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) also had its roots in the German Bauhaus Movement, The Hungarian artist György Kepes, a close collaborator of Bauhaus professor Moholy Nagy, founded the CAVS and applied the Bauhaus philosophy to his pedagogy at MIT. Kepes was also interested in the social role of the artist and argued for art on a civic scale. The German artist Otto Piene, a member of the Zero Group, succeeded Kepes as Director of the CAVS. During his tenure Piene focused on the collaboration between artists, scientists, and engineers, as exemplified by his “Sky Art” project.

We explore the CAVS Archive containing a record of 40 years of artistic investigation and transdisciplinary collaborations. We examine questions relative to the documentation of artistic practice and notions of display and dissemination.

The CAVS merged with the MIT Visual Arts Program in 2009 to create the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT). ACT continues in the tradition of its predecessors, and we will examine some of the research being conducted today by the ACT faculty and fellows.

Our investigations will be reflected in a course blog and in other material that will become part of ACT’s “Future Archive” project.

Recitation will be held Monday evenings from 7-9pm and will include the Art, Culture and Technology lecture series and other special screenings or discussions.


  • Prereq: Permission of instructor
    Lab Fee: 110
  • Notes: 4.365 subject level h / 4.366 u level subject, hass-e, hass arts
  • Schedule: T 9:30a-12:30p, with recitation M 7-9p E15-070
    Location: e15-283

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