Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bauhaus: The Book

“Excuse me,” says the young designer to the clerk in my imaginary, vaguely Monty Pythonesque skit. “I’m looking for a book called Bauhaus.” The clerk replies "walk this way," and proceeds to show her an entire section where every book is titled “Bauhaus.”

The legendary design school is synonymous with creativity and innovativeness, and over the years there have been many lavish and scholarly books published about its history and influence. But where was the creativity when it came to titling these many tomes? True, there is the occasional under-line, over-line, or date range in tiny print. But basically, an enormous number of books fall into perfect lockstep and boldly feature the single–word title of “Bauhaus.”

On the other hand, there is something to be said for clarity in messaging. After all, shouldn’t form follow function?

Really, it's just an excuse to post a bunch of them. The selection here is by no means comprehensive, and many of these are alternate or later printings of earlier editions.

50 Jahre Bauhaus, 1968 catalog (Herbert Bayer cover)
for the exhibition in Stuttgart. The gray cover at the top
of this post, is a 1975 abridged version of the catalog.

Bauhaus, by Fiedler and Feierabend was originally
published in 1999 with the red cover. The cover
of the 2008 edition is white.

Bauhaus by Xavier Girard, Assouline, 2003.

The original edition, top, and the second printing of the
book compiled for MoMA's 1938 Bauhaus exhibition. It was
edited by Herbert Bayer, Walter Gropius and Ise Gropius.

Two books by Magdalena Droste from Taschen.(top, bottom)

Siebenbrodt & Schobe, Parkstone, 2009.

Gerd Fleischmann’s 1995 book incorporates Herbert Bayer’s
design for a 1928 cover of the Bauhaus Journal.

Hans Wingler’s Bauhaus “bible,” by MIT Press, 1969.
Hard cover edition
with slipcase, top, and the
soft cover

Even the catalog for the recent MoMA show included
“Workshops for Modernity” in the tiniest type possible.

A really great resource for Bauhaus books is the site Modernism 101. There is a blog associated with the site called Bauhaus Cowboy. It seems to have ended in the summer of 2009, but there are still many interesting posts there to peruse.

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