"To Think "Outside the Box


To Think "Outside the Box" Whitney Museum of American Art , New York Rivka Rass The "Albers and Moholy-Nagy" exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art ( until 21 Jan . 2007 ) presents a good opportunity to re-examine their philosophy of art education . Both were prominent teachers at the famous Bauhaus in Germany ( 1923-1928 ) until the Nazis closed it in 1933 , when they immigrated to the USA , transferring the Bauhaus ideas to the new land . As an educator , Laszlo Moholy-Nagy ( Hungary 1895 - Chicago 1946 ) declared that "everybody is talented" and focused on developing students' natural visual gifts instead of teaching them specialized skills . Under his influence , the fine art training at the Bauhaus was abolished in favor of "designing the whole man " . In the USA he established his own School of Design in Chicago . Carrying the Bauhaus unique concept of art education , with its idea of merging the fine and applied arts , Josef Albers ( Germany 1888 - USA 1976 ) and his wife , Anni , started teaching at Black Mountain College ( BMC ) in Asheville , North Carolina . From 1933 to 1949 they dominated the art education at the college , turning it into a bubbling center for experimentation and creativity . Under Albers , BMC strongly encouraged breaking down traditional boundaries and forms . It soon became a magnet for creative people in all fields of the arts , especially so during the intense courses of the summer months , which brought together many of the most talented visual artists , musicians , dancers , writers , thinkers , and educators of the time . More than a school , it was a national center for creativity and experimentation , a nexus for the design revolution , which literally changed the look of the 20 th century . The list of teachers and students includes the "Who ' s Who " of American art , among them : Robert Rauschenberg , Willem De Kooning , Robert Motherwell , Franz Kline , Kenneth Noland , Buckminster Fuller , Walter Gropius , Merce Cunningham , John Cage , David Tudor , to name but a few . In fact , Josef Albers , the most influential of the Bauhaus masters , revolutionized American art education in the 1930 s and 1940 s . Influenced by Dada , he taught that any material may be used in a work of art ; that taken out of context , these materials should be explored for their independent physical properties ; that what ' s important is the relationships among materials used in a work . He taught art as a process - not a product - and his stated goal was ' to open eyes ' : "Art is a revelation instead of information , " he declared , " expression instead of description , creation instead of imitation or repetition . Art is concerned with the HOW , not the WHAT .... The performance , how it is done , that is the content of art . " Ideas , taken today as granted , were first conceived at BMC . Painter Kenneth Noland , a student at BMC said that at BMC it was recognized that art could be anything and it could be made of anything , and that you could mix up the visual arts , theater , dance , music , design , anything you want , to make a multimedia or environmental art . Josef Albers , Park , c . 1924 , glass , wire , metal and paint in a wooden fra The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

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