The Bauhaus: Vision and Reality
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLAH 4003
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
  • Design History, Theory & Criticism
  • Architectural History, Theory & Criticism
This course investigates the Bauhaus as a historical site of modernist experimentation, a cultural phenomenon, and as a concept that has undergone constant reexamination, adaptation, and critique since the school’s inception in 1919. No art school has been more absorbed into the public consciousness than the Bauhaus, yet the name connotes any generic white-cubed architecture or geometric painting—a “Bauhaus style” that had already been decried as empty formalism before the school was forced to close its doors in 1933. This historical paradox of ubiquity and misunderstanding is one of the many contradictions that this course considers. We will delve into specific topical issues of the artistic avant-garde, the newly conceived profession of industrial design, and contested questions in architectural thinking about functionalism and technology. These will include: the state of painting in the era of mechanical reproduction; the status of the artist /designer as author, collectivism, and industrial serial production; the notions of social engagement and retreat; gender; mass culture and mediation; and commercialism. Pathway: Art and Design History.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university undergraduate degree students. Pre-requisite(s): first-year university writing cousre and at least two prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture. One of these courses should be 3000-level


Open to Undergraduate students.