Haunted Modern Art: Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics at Germany's Bauhaus Art School
The Bauhaus (1919–1933) is widely regarded as the twentieth century's most influential art and design school, famous for bringing functional design to the mainstream. In this talk, Otto delves into previously unexplored questions of sexuality and gender fluidity at the Bauhaus by focusing on the school's members who queered the school’s aesthetics in order to disrupt gender conventions, represent gay and lesbian subjectivities, and picture same-sex desire, moves not without risk during the Weimar Republic, a regime that criminalized homosexuality. Otto also examines its members’ embrace of radical politics on both the left and the right—for Communist revolution, and, later, into the service of the Nazis. This talk disrupts the narrative of a normative Bauhaus to yield a more diverse and paradoxical history that emerges when the school is considered through artists and works whose presence haunts its historiography and through the empirical ground of the archive. It rereads this Haus as haunted by examining its repressed and uncanny elements and by reclaiming trauma, desire, and political convictions that have been largely written out the school’s history as vital to understanding it.
Modern Art and Architecture
Otto, Elizabeth, "Haunted Modern Art: Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics at Germany's Bauhaus Art School" (2022). Barber Lecture Series. 4.