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room set up by the AMUM staff

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, 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 Textiles Collection;
  • 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.


Bauhaus exhibition at the Art Museum at the University of Memphis

At the entrance to "Bauhaus Twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy" stood models of Bauhaus-inspired buildings created by University of Memphis Architecture students. These models were of buildings from the Weissenhoff Estate in Stuttgart, Germany. The buildings were a product of Mies van der Rohe, the last director of the Bauhaus.

Watkinson sits in a chair at the Bauhaus exhibition at AMUM
Gordon Watkinson sits in a Cantilever Chair designed in 1926 by Mart Stam. The chair is on loan from Thonet. The hanging lamp is one of the few by a woman who worked in the metal foundry at the Bauhaus. It was designed by Marianne Brandt and Hans Przyrembel and is on loan from Tecnolumen. 

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Last Updated: 4/8/14