Queer Bauhaus Women, and Other Hidden Histories
The Bauhaus (1919–1933) is widely regarded as the twentieth century's most influential art, architecture, and design school, celebrated as the archetypal movement of rational modernism and famous for bringing functional and elegant design to the masses. In this talk, art historian Elizabeth Otto delves into the previously unexplored question of sexuality and gender fluidity at the Bauhaus by focusing on female Bauhäusler including Florence Henri, Margaret Camilla Leiteritz, and ringl + pit, who queered the school’s aesthetics in order to disrupt gender conventions, represent lesbian subjectivities, and picture same-sex desire. By looking broadly at what Jack Halberstam dubs a queer way of life—one that encompasses “subcultural practices, alternative methods of alliance, [and] forms of transgender embodiment,”—this talk disrupts the narrative of a normative Bauhaus to yield a richer history that only emerges when we look at a new range of Bauhaus works and artists, and reconsider the questions that we ask of them.
This lecture is organised in collaboration with VI PER Gallery Prague as part of the recent exhibition of the Centre for Documentary Architecture, The Matter of Data: Concrete Narratives across the Sykes-Picot Border 31.03.-21.05. 2022