Life in modernism times three

In the spotlight | German Federal Cultural Foundation

Stan Hema

[Translate to English:] Headline

On the occasion of 100 years bauhaus, three first-class institutions joined forces in the Hessian metropolis to commemorate “New Frankfurt”, modernism’s legendary city project with coordinated special exhibitions: the Museum Angewandte Kunst, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and the Historisches Museum Frankfurt. In their entirety the three exhibitions reveal the holistic approach of the New Frankfurt to cover all areas of life in a metropolis and to rethink them, ranging from the widely known housing programme, to fashion, product and communication design as well as health and economic issues.

The Museum Angewandte Kunst will break the ground with its show “Frankfurt Modernism 1919-1933” that will open on 19th January. It illustrates how the “New Frankfurt” was embedded in a forced industrialisation and the development of communal areas with the purpose of transforming the traditional Frankfurt into a modern urban society. Those responsible for the visionary upswing were political and cultural leaders such as the major Ludwig Landmann, his head of urban planning, as well as Fritz Wichert, director of the Städelschule [Academy of Fine Arts in Frankfurt am Main] and co-publisher of the neues frankfurt.

The contribution of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum with the title: “the New Human,  New Housing” is explicitly devoted to the estates and selected buildings of modernism, as suggested by the subtitle “The architecture of the New Frankfurt 1925-1933”. It will open on 23rd March and focuses on the shared vision of May and Landmann, which never exhausted itself in construction measures, but aspired to a comprehensive cultural renewal. Their impulses led to the development of standards that are still valid today, such as fitted kitchens, functional furnishing and the integrated planning of cities and green spaces.

At the Historisches Museum Frankfurt the focus of events is on societal aspects of housing development. The interest in the relevance of modern concepts even today becomes apparent in the exhibition’s title: “How do people live? In the Ernst-May-Siedlungen [estates] with the city lab” For one year planners, scientists, artists and those living at the estates today engaged the topics “living in yesterday’s utopia” and socially just living in a “New Frankfurt of the future”. The results of the field and vision research in the city lab will be on view at the Historische Museum Frankfurt as of 16th May.

All three exhibitions are sponsored by funds of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes [German Federal Cultural Foundation], the State of Hessia and the city of Frankfurt. The project was coordinated by the “Forum Neues Frankfurt”, which was specially created for this purpose and is run by the ernst-may-gesellschaft e.v.

Apart from the Bauhaus Association 2019, but also sponsored by the KSB, is the exhibition “Reflex Bauhaus” in the Neue Sammlung München opening on 1st February. In this show, historic objects – amongst them textiles by Anni Albers and Gunta Stölzl, graphics by Herbert Bayer and Lászlo Moholy-Nagy, metal works by Wilhelm Wagenfeld and toys by Alma Siedhoff-Buscher – are juxtaposed with contemporary perceptions, a.o., by the architect Anupama Kundoo and the composer Junya Oikawa.

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