Josef Albers (1888-1976) has long been admired for his progressive vision as an artist who blurred distinctions between fine and applied art, but rarely has his work as a teacher been examined in detail. The German-born artist was a remarkable classroom performer whose colorful language, wit, and dramatic flair held his students spellbound and turned his lessons into high adventure. Whether at the Bauhaus in prewar Germany, Black Mountain College in rural North Carolina during the 1930s and 1940s, or at Yale in the 1950s, Albers was driven by one thing--the desire to open his students' eyes to a different way of perceiving art and, ultimately, life.
JOSEF ALBERS: TO OPEN EYES by Frederick A. Horowitz and Brenda Danilowitz, is the first book to focus on how the legendary artist Josef Albers influenced generations of artists, architects, and designers, including Robert Mangold, Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Bertrand Goldberg, and Tom Geismar, through his work and legacy as an educator. Marking the 30th anniversary of Albers's death, the book examines his life and teaching methods, and reveals his philosophies on art, life, and the nature of perception based on first-hand accounts of more than 175 students and colleagues spanning more than 40 years. The book will coincide with a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art which will run from November 2, 2006- January 21, 2007.
JOSEF ALBERS: TO OPEN EYES takes the reader through Albers's life in teaching. He began his career in 1923, when Walter Gropius invited him to join the faculty of the Bauhaus in Germany, where he quickly replaced the school's standard course curriculum with his own innovative methods. After moving to the United States in 1933, he and his wife Anni became founding members and teachers at the experimental start-up Black Mountain College. In 1950, he was appointed to head Yale's newly restructured Department of Design and remained there until he retired in 1958.
Although he is widely perceived as a strong-minded theoretician, as this book reveals, Albers opposed rigid dogma and encouraged his students to develop lively and original solutions to his many and varied design exercises. On their first day in his classroom, Albers's students were informed that his goal was to educate their eyes and that he was going to teach them how to think and to see--an agenda belied by the somewhat prosaic course names "Basic Drawing" and "Basic Design" and "Color."
With energy and flair, Danilowitz and Horowitz have charted Albers's world-changing role as a teacher. Through their archival research of original correspondence, documents, student course notes, and student work produced in his courses, and their interviews of former students, colleagues, and associates of Albers, they reveal the way that Albers's ideas on education and his complex personality have made an indelible imprint in the lives and work of artists all over the world. This book provides not only a compelling study of a key figure of 20th century art, but also ponders what constitutes art and how it is made and taught....Continua