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Boston Globe: Artist digs into Bauhaus history at Harvard

June 19, 2019


June 19, 2019

PROVIDENCE — Elizabeth Corkery drills into art history for core samples. For “On the Wall: Elizabeth Corkery,” the first exhibition in Providence College Galleries’ yearlong “Beyond Bauhaus” celebration of the legendary German design school’s centennial, Corkery zeroes in on Harvard in the 1930s, but reaches further back.

If you’ve seen “The Bauhaus and Harvard” at Harvard Art Museums through July 28, you know the material Corkery digs into. In 1937, Joseph Hudnut, architect and dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, brought Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius to Harvard to chair the architecture department.

Modernists such as these two spurned the classical lines and ornamentation of the past. In some ways Hudnut attempted to erase what had come before him at Harvard. He did away with GSD’s Hall of Casts, plaster replicas of classical works, and in reproductions of images of the school’s Robinson Hall, he erased the flourishes of the building, designed in 1900 by McKim, Mead, & White.

In drawings, Corkery depicts that building with its proper adornment. She makes Bauhaus-style tapestries of its brickwork, honoring its original design.