American Bauhaus creates a space for the history of Black Mountain College, which provided a new creative home for many World War II refugees in Europe from 1933 to 1957 and allowed the Bauhaus to live on in the United States. A unique place of freedom and creativity that became home to some of the most important artists of the 20th century!
In 1992, the Partner and Creative Director at studio1500 Erik Schmitt attended the reunion of Black Mountain College in San Francisco. The school is credited with shaping some of the greatest artists in American history: Willem de Kooning, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Franz Kline, and Robert Rauschenberg among them. Schmitt was invited because his two aunts and their family friend Ruth Asawa attended BMC. He took extensive notes that day and took photographs at the cocktail party after the event at Ruth Asawa’s home. Those quotes and photographs are the foundation of the book American Bauhaus.
Each quote has a page devoted to it. The quote is presented in its entirety along with the time it was uttered. A fragment of the quote is also reproduced at a large scale bleeding off the edge of the page and traveling onto the following spread. In essence, it is an evocation of the interplay of the conversation that took place on that day. The name of the book, American Bauhaus was inspired by a quote Erik Schmitt recorded on the day of the reunion by Peter Oberlander who remembered Joseph Albers saying “Black Mountain is a minimal version of the Bauhaus … Go there.”