A contribution to the Art Museum at the University of Memphis staff, "Beyond the Cabbage
Rose: Textiles Go Modern" was a room made possible by local donations. The Bauhaus
weaving workshop, recommended to female students, trained many prominent textile artists
who would emigrate to the U.S. These women would spread the Bauhaus philosophy, expanding
the definition of textiles, affecting the quality and appearance and changing the
industry from "women's work" to a profession.
Telling a story through pictures was the theme of the seminar presented by Gordon
Watkinson during his trip to the Art Museum at the University of Memphis for the opening
of “Bauhaus Twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy—Photographs by Gordon Watkinson.”
“You can tell the story however you want. Find your own voice. Tell the story how
you’d like to tell it,” Watkinson said.
His Bauhaus story is shot from a visitor’s perspective. Watkinson said he avoided
using extreme angles because he wanted the exhibition to be seen as if the viewer
were present at the building.
“That’s the way I wanted to tell the story. It was important to orient the viewer
in a way they would see when they went to the building,” he said.
Watkinson conceived the project in conjunction with Foto+Synthesis, a company that organizes
traveling exhibitions. For the exhibition, he photographed 12 Bauhaus buildings selected
by Michael Siebenbrodt, director of the Bauhaus-Museum in Weimar, Germany. The buildings
are located abroad in locations such as Germany, Austria and Sweden.
The exhibition was part of a countrywide tour, which included stops at Auburn, the
Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, the University of Idaho and the Palm Springs
Art Museum in California. It previously toured various locations throughout Europe.
Recently named one of 2013’s top art exhibitsby Fredric Koeppel at gomemphis.com,
the AMUM exhibition included borrowed pieces from local collections. Thanks to these
contributions, the museum’s staff was able to create a textile room called “Beyond
the Cabbage Rose: Textiles Go Modern” as part of the exhibition.
Donated pieces included:
- Eclat Weave, Silver, designed in 1974 by Anni Albers, on loan from the Knoll Textiles Collection;
- Strata, Gravel, and Fission Chips, Cocoa, both designed by Ruth Adler Schnee in 1950
and courtesy of Knoll Textiles;
- Fibra, Persimmon and Red, designed by Eszter Haraszty in 1953 and on loan from the Knoll
- Florence Knoll Lounge Chairs were on loan from Myra Deyhle, Spaces Group.
The collection also included models built by eight Architecture students. Two models,
created by MArch students Megan Hoover and Robert Taylor Jr., were chosen to be part
of the remaining tour. Hoover’s model was of the Bauhaus School by Gropius and Taylor
constructed the Haus 1-4/Weissenhof Estate by Mies.
“Bauhaus Twenty-21” is a multidisciplinary project involving architecture, design
and photography. It explores contemporary living and architecture, focusing on the
relationship between the Bauhaus design philosophy and its relevance today.
“I wanted to talk about the influences and how work done in early 20th century can
still be relevant today,” Watkinson said. “Bauhaus is still taught in architecture
and design schools.”
Watkinson has been a commercial photographer for almost 20 years for a variety of
advertising, architecture, design and fashion clients. He has also directed commercials,
created industrial videos and helped develop visual strategies for targeted markets.