• Walter Gropius: Exile to Occupation
    Karen Koehler
    Reaktion Books, 2019
    Karen Koehler

Walter Gropius; Joost Schmidt, Non-Ferrous Metals Exhibit for German People—German Labor exhibition, Berlin, 1934. Isometric Drawing, ink, wash, gouache, and collage elements on paper, 72.6 x 101.6 cm. Courtesy of Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Walter Gropius BRGA.74.2.

This study of the German-American architect Walter Gropius considers his designs and theoretical texts in dialogue with contemporaneous writers, philosophers, and artists, including Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, Theodor Adorno, Rudolf Arnheim, Herbert Read, Julian Huxley, Karl Jaspers, Hannah Arendt, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Josef Albers, and others. What emerges is a peripatetic figure who was deeply affected by the catastrophes of twentieth-century Germany: war, revolution, and war again—followed by postwar reconstruction and the tumultuous developments of the 1960s. In this troubled historical context, Gropius manipulated the history of the Bauhaus, the institution he founded and with which he continued to be identified for 50 years, despite decades of success as a transnational public figure. As we confront twenty-first century wars and refugee crises, this book addresses Gropius's shifting dreams for the socially engaged architect, and contributes to debates about the concept of home when things fall apart.

Karen Koehler is professor of art history at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She has published widely on dialogues between architecture, art, and critical theory, including coediting, with Jeffrey Saletnik, a special issue of Art in Translation, on "Translation and Architecture" (March 2018). Koehler served as curator and author of Bauhaus Modern, an exhibition at the Smith College Museum of Art (2008). Other publications include catalogue essays for the Prada Foundation in Milan and the Gallery of New South Wales, an essay on the Bauhaus and Gestalt in Josef Albers: Intersecting Colors for the Mead Art Museum, and a study of "Bauhaus Double Portraits" for the collection Bauhaus Bodies, (forthcoming, 2019). Recipient of recent grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon, and Kress Foundations, Koehler received a Senior Fellowship from Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, for her book on Walter Gropius, (forthcoming Reaktion Books; distributed in the US by the University of Chicago Press).