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From sleek glass and steel skyscrapers to the matte black minimalism of high-end stereo components to the familiar pictograms for men’s and ladies’ washrooms - in thousands, maybe millions of ways, the look and feel of life today traces back to a single design school in Germany that existed for only 14 years, from 1919 to 1933. In 2009, Germany celebrates the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus — literally translated "building school" - with events and special exhibitions in the three German cities where the school was founded and operated: Weimar, Dessau and Berlin.

Weimar, where the Bauhaus began, was an unlikely birthplace for such a modern esthetic, and remains an unlikely - but beautiful - place to learn about it. To Germans, Weimar is better known as the late 18th-century home of two of the country’s most important poets, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller. It was here, in 1919, that the architect Walter Gropius founded an academy to teach the most up-to-date ideas in painting and printmaking, pottery, industrial design, interior design, weaving and textiles, typography and graphic design. Ironically, despite the school’s name, architecture was not initially on the curriculum. Students wishing to learn building design were sent to work in Gropius’s private architecture office.

Nor is there much indication of the Bauhaus in the look of Weimar today. In fact, the city’s Bauhaus Museum, established in 1995, is not in a steel and glass pavilion but a pink stucco, two- storey building from the 18th century. Its permanent exhibition includes groundbreaking works by Gropius, color theorist Johannes Itten, painter Lyonel Feininger and designer Marcel Breuer, as well as various pieces from the Bauhaus workshops. The core of the myriad of events celebrating Bauhaus’ 90th anniversary in Weimar is the exhibition "The Birth of the Bauhaus", from April 1 to July 5, at the Bauhaus Museum and other venues around the town. It will present Weimar as the laboratory that germinated the ideas later fully developed in Dessau and Berlin, and which subsequently gained worldwide recognition.  www.thueringen-tourismus.de

In 1925, given the chance to have its own buildings, the Bauhaus moved to the slightly larger city of Dessau, near the Elbe river. The original Gropuis-designed school building, carefully renovated, survives there, along with a few of the "masters’ houses" - one of them now a museum honoring the Dessau composer Kurt Weill - and a number of other buildings around the town. The school and houses together have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Dessau, the focus for 2009 is on the years of the Dessau Bauhaus School: 1925 to 1932. Teacher and student works from every department and discipline—including carpentry and metalwork as well as architecture—will show the development and working methods of the "College of Design Bauhaus Dessau" and its emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and production.

In early 1928 Walter Gropius officially resigned as director of the Bauhaus and eventually moved to the Harvard Graduate School of Design and founded a major American architecture office, which designed amongst others the MetLife Building in New York. Two years later the directorship passed to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The school’s modernism was too much for Nazi taste and in 1932 the party moved to have the building demolished. The motion failed, but eight months later Mies shut down the school in Dessau and moved it, now as a private institution to Berlin. Within a year, however, that school was closed by the authorities and Mies was expelled from Germany. He emigrated to the US, where he became director of the Illinois Institute of Technology, leaving a lasting legacy in the U.S. with generations of students and his famous buildings, such as the Farnsworth Building, and the Seagram Building in New York.  www.germanoriginality.com

While the school’s time in Berlin may have been brief, the Bauhaus style has since thrived in that city as in very few other places. From July 22nd to October 4th next year, the exhibition "Modell Bauhaus," at the Martin Gropius Building in Berlin, will present the school’s design icons of the early 20th century in a joint project of Berlin’s Bauhaus Archive with the Bauhaus collections from Weimar and Dessau.  www.bauhaus.de
This exhibition also will be shown at Museum of Modern Art in New York, starting in October of 2009. 

Other major exhibitions in Germany celebrating the Bauhaus Year, besides the main events in Weimar and Berlin, will be held in several cities throughout 2009:

Bauhaus Exhibition in Frankfurt: Bauhaus 21st - An Ongoing Legacy (March 6th 2009), Deutsches Architekturmuseum  www.dam-online.de

Bauhaus Exhibition in Erfurt: "Controversy about the Bauhaus" (June 7th - August 2nd, 2009), Kunshalle Erfurt  www.weimar.de

Bauhaus Exhibition in Erfurt: "Franz Ehrlich" (August 1st - October 11th, 2009), Neues Museum  www.weimar.de

Bauhaus Exhibition in Jena: "Wassily Kandinsky" (September 6th - November 22nd, 2009), Stadtmuseum Jena  www.weimar.de

Bauhaus Exhibition in Apolda: "Feininger and the Bauhaus" (September 13th - December 20th, 2009), Kunsthaus Apolda Avantgarde  www.weimar.de

For additional information on the Bauhaus and other Bauhaus sites in Germany along with general travel information on Germany, please visit  www.cometogermany.com


A Full Schedule of Firsts Marks the Cultural Calendar

With cultural institutions dating back to 1856, The Principality of Monaco has a long heritage of appreciation of the arts. This winter season, Monaco once again delivers a distinguished and diverse calendar of enriching cultural opportunities crafted under the patronage of the H.S.H. Prince Albert II and H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover.  Combining regal sophistication with enchanting presentations, the winter seasons of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, Monte-Carlo Ballet and Monte-Carlo Opera House present a full schedule of milestone performances, including the Monegasque premier of choreographer Twyla Tharp’s “In the Upper Room;” the first performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “L’infedeltà delusa” by the European Academy of Music, and the first full winter season of the Philharmonic’s new artistic director Yakov Kreizberg.

“Year after year, the Principality’s cultural institutions present extraordinary performances matched only by Monaco’s fabled, fairytale setting,” said Maguy Maccario-Doyle, director, Monaco Government Tourist Office.  “Monaco is fortunate to have cultural institutions that are known the world over for their high artistic accomplishment and the heartfelt patronage of Monaco’s Princely family.”

Among the winter season’s most noteworthy performances are:

Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Reflets Hispaniques, December 7, 2008
  • Messiaen, December 10, 2008
  • Le “nouveau” Carnaval des Animaux, December 17, 2008
  • Classiques du Romantisme, February 1, 2009

Ticket prices vary, with rates starting from €8 for adults.  For more information or reservations, log on at www.opmc.mc or call (+377) 92 16 22 99.

Monte-Carlo Ballet “Walking Mad,” “Whiteout” and “Vers Un Pays Sage,” December 19 – 21, 2008“In the Upper Room,” “In The Middle….Somewhere Elevated” and “Altro Canto,

Part II,” December 26 – 29 and 31, 2008  "Serait-ce la mort” and “Vers Un Pays Sage,” January 2 – 4, 2009

Tickets start at €12 for adults, €8 for children.  For more information or reservations, log on at www.balletsdemontecarlo.mc or call (+377) 92 16 24 20.

Monte-Carlo Opera House

L’infedeltà Delusa, December 5, 7 and 9, 200 Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), January 23, 25, 27 and 29, 2009: Andrea Chénier, February 19, 22, 25 and 27, 2009

Ticket prices vary.  For more information or reservations, log on at www.opera.mc or call (+377) 92 16 22 99.

Under the presidency of H.R.H the Princess of Hanover, and with the continued support of H.S.H. Prince Albert II, the Princely Government, and new Artistic Director Yakov Kreizberg, the award-winning Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra holds a choice position in the musical world having been led by guest conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Eric Kleiber, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Zubin Mehta, Sir Georg Solti and Lorin Maazel.  In addition to the concert season, the Philharmonic Orchestra also regularly accompanies the Opera and the Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Under Kreizberg’s leadership, the Philharmonic Orchestra will continue to play a significant role in the creation of contemporary symphonic music.

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo was established in 1985 by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Hanover in accordance with the wishes of her mother, Princess Grace of Monaco.  Since then, it has become one of the premier ballet companies in the world, establishing its own dance center, L’Atelier, and further elevating Monaco’s international reputation as an important world center for culture and the arts.

Under the high patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II, the Monte-Carlo Opera is as well known as its Opera House, the late 19th century Salle Garnier designed by famed Charles Garnier, who also designed the Paris Opera House.  Inaugurated in 1879, the Monte-Carlo Opera House is internationally acclaimed, hosting great voices such as Patti, Tamagno, Melba, Caruso, Chaliapine, Garden, Schipa, Dalla Rizza, Gigli, Lubin, Muzio, Thill, and Pons.

For information about the Principality of Monaco, please contact the Monaco Government Tourist Office (MGTO) at 565 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10017; telephone (800) 753-9696 or (212) 286-3330; or e-mail info@VisitMonaco.com. Information and links are available via the Monaco Government Tourist Office web site at www.visitmonaco.com.


Alsdorf CollectionThe Alsdorf Galleries of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art and the Galleries of Indian and Islamic Art Open to Public on December 13, 2008

Dramatic New Space Designed by Renzo Piano Major Part of the Art Institute's Ambitious Renovation Project

The Art Institute of Chicago will reveal two new suites of galleries devoted to Asian art on December 13, 2008: the Alsdorf Galleries of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art (G140-G142), previously known as Gunsaulus Hall; and the Galleries of Indian and Islamic Art (G151-G152) on the north side of McKinlock Court. Both of these new spaces offer visitors more of the museum's renowned Asian art collection, and they feature the only space in the museum outside of the Modern Wing designed by Renzo Piano. This new home for South and Southeast Asian art cohesively includes more than 430 sculptures, artifacts, and paintings from the Art Institute's holdings--many of them from the Marilynn B. and James W. Alsdorf Collection of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art --that have in the past been displayed only in temporary or special exhibitions. These galleries create a new crossroads for the museum, bringing together a remarkable collection that spans centuries and creates a literal bridge from the arts of East Asia to the ancient art of Western civilization and the Modern Wing.

"The completion of the Alsdorf Galleries is vital to our presentation of Asian art, and it deepens our commitment to serving a global population. How fitting that Asian art will now fill the very center of the Art Institute, serving as a link between the existing museum and the Modern Wing," said James Cuno, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago. "We are thrilled that so many treasures from the Alsdorf Collection will finally be on permanent display, thanks to Marilynn Alsdorf's exceptional generosity."

"The Art Institute is home to one of the world's strongest holdings of Asian Art," said Alsdorf Associate Curator Madhuvanti Ghose. "Because of space limitations, however, visitors have rarely been able to see the full strength and depth of the collection. The Alsdorf Collection stands out as a true jewel among the museum's holdings, internationally recognized for its scope, beauty, and quality. I am thrilled be a part of this massive project of unveiling this collection and showcasing it for museum visitors."

reinstall2The Alsdorf Galleries represent the complete transformation of Gunsaulus Hall, previously a windowless walkway filled with the museum's collection of European arms and armor. Gunsaulus Hall was built over the railroad tracks that pass under the Art Institute in 1916. The original windows were bricked over in the 1930s because of the amount of soot and dirt created by the train lines. Now renovated by Renzo Piano, the Alsdorf Galleries are a light-filled space with views of Millennium Park and the Chicago skyline. Piano opened a 56-foot section of the original walls, increased the height of the ceiling, and added new, light wood flooring. The result is a clean and modern space that brings the existing building of the Art Institute into a dialogue with the Modern Wing. The Harding Arms and Armor collection, formerly occupying Gunsaulus Hall, will once again be on display in the museum when the renovations to the Art Institute's European painting and sculpture galleries are complete in 2010.

The new Asian art spaces extend from existing galleries that house the art of China, Japan, and Korea. A full connection to the new galleries is created by the axis between the famous large Buddha, in the entry space to the Asian galleries, and the 12th-Century stone Buddha from South India in the center of the Alsdorf Galleries. On this axis viewers will find exquisite objects of Himalayan art, many of which have not been seen on view since the 2003 exhibition Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure. The center of the Alsdorf Galleries feature works from one of the strongest sections of the museum's collection of South Asian art: classical and medieval Indian sculpture. Works in this area represent not only the diversity of Indian culture itself but also focus on religious subjects.                                 

The new Galleries of Indian and Islamic Art on the north end of McKinlock Court contain later works of Indian art representative of pre-1947 India and also its Imperial Mughal and royal past. Works from Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures of South Asia complete the redesigned space. These galleries will feature rotating exhibitions featuring works from such countries as Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, allowing the museum to present focused displays of work from these cultures and time periods.

This rejuvenated emphasis on the Asian art collection completes the second phase of the most ambitious renovation and reinstallation project in Art Institute history, coinciding with the construction of the Modern Wing. The Alsdorf Galleries and the Galleries of Indian and Islamic Art will be launched with an exclusive gala event on December 12, 2008, and they open to the public on December 13, 2008.

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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved