Elizabeth Otto: Queer Bauhaus Women and Other Hidden Histories (online)

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The Bauhaus (1919–1933) is widely regarded as the twentieth century's most influential art, architecture, and design school, celebrated as the archetypal movement of rational modernism and famous for bringing functional and elegant design to the masses. In this talk, art historian Elizabeth Otto delves into the previously unexplored question of sexuality and gender fluidity at the Bauhaus by focusing on female Bauhäusler including Florence Henri, Margaret Camilla Leiteritz, and ringl + pit, who queered the school’s aesthetics in order to disrupt gender conventions, represent lesbian subjectivities, and picture same-sex desire. By looking broadly at what Jack Halberstam dubs a queer way of life—one that encompasses “subcultural practices, alternative methods of alliance, [and] forms of transgender embodiment,”—this talk disrupts the narrative of a normative Bauhaus to yield a richer history that only emerges when we look at a new range of Bauhaus works and artists, and reconsider the questions that we ask of them.

Elizabeth Otto is an art and cultural historian whose research centers on early twentieth-century visual and media culture, with a focus on Europe. An expert in modern art, Dada, surrealism, cubism and gender, Otto has investigated topics including the history of new media, film, gender and photography, and media culture. She co-edited “The New Woman International: Photographic Representations, from the 1870s through the 1960s” (2011, with Vanessa Rocco) and “Passages of Exile” (2017, with Burcu Dogramaci), which takes a closer look at routes of exodus as spaces of artistic, filmic and literary resonance from the twentieth century to the present. Otto has also published extensively on the Bauhaus, widely considered 20th-century Europe’s most influential art institution. Her books on this topic include “Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics,” which challenges conventional understandings of the Bauhaus, “Bauhaus Women: A Global Perspective” (2019, with Patrick Rössler), and “Bauhaus Bodies: Gender, Sexuality, and Body Culture in Modernism’s Legendary Art School” (2019, with Patrick Rössler). She is Associate Professor of Art History at the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences.

This lecture is organized in collaboration with Royal College of Art, School of Architecture as part of the recent exhibition of the Centre for Documentary Architecture, The Matter of Data: Concrete Narratives across the Sykes-Picot Border.

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/elizabeth-otto-queer-bauhaus-women-and-other-hidden-histories-tickets-339369221477?aff=ebdssbdestsearch&keep_tld=1


Vítkova 2, Prague 8
Czech Republic
WED-FRI 13-19, SAT 14-18