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M+M: John R. Blakinger: Undreaming the Bauhaus

John R. Blakinger, University of Oxford

October 22, 2019 · 5:00 pm-7:00 pm · N107 School of Architecture

M+M Program in Media and Modernity

What happened to the Bauhaus dream during the Cold War? This talk considers the legacy of Bauhaus modernism through the work of artist, designer, and visual theorist Gyorgy Kepes (1906-2001), who taught at MIT from 1945 until 1974. Kepes was a relentless advocate of interdisciplinary exchange, or what he called “interthinking” and “interseeing.” He collaborated with a surprising constellation of colleagues, including scientific experts involved in war research with applications in Vietnam. Drawing from his new monograph on Kepes, John Blakinger explores the progressive potential of Kepes’s projects but also Kepes’s reactionary entanglement in the military-industrial-aesthetic complex. In attempting to “undream” the Bauhaus into existence once more, Kepes faced profound resistance. He inspired a dramatic backlash. This talk demonstrates the continued relevance of Kepes’s interdisciplinary experiments, and the backlash against them, in a contemporary age again dominated by science and technology.

Respondent: Irene V. Small (Art and Archaeology)

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