Guggenheim
Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College | Annie Albers |
Past exhibition

This exhibition offers a focused survey of the work of Anni Albers (b. 1899, Berlin; d. 1994, Orange, CT, USA), an artist distinguished by the originality of her practice, pictorial and textile, and by her profound knowledge of the materials and techniques of weaving—a craft that is nearly as old as humanity. Paying special attention to the connections between different periods and series, and emphasizing recurrent motifs and ideas in contrast with experimental creations, Anni Albers: Touching Vision aims to reflect the strength of an artist whose thinking, humane and essential, had a direct influence on her time as well as on future generations of artists.

Organized in collaboration with The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, this exhibition underscores Albers’s pioneering contribution to the modern rebirth of Fiber Art. The artist drew her inspiration from both pre-Columbian cultures and the modern industry, but she far transcended the notions of craftsmanship and gender-specific labor. Alongside her innovations in the treatment of weaves, and her constant quest for textile motifs and functions, Albers managed to offset the dominant role of painting by means of weaving and engraving, both practices having been relegated to the condition of ‘minor genres’ despite their deep significance in human history. In her pursuit for a true contact with the object, Albers also contributed to the redefinition of a work of art as reproducible design, thus offering the public greater access to art works. Anni Albers: Touching Vision is a tribute to the tactile and emotive gaze of this artist, and to her search for conceptual purity and clarity in the execution.

Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College, 1937.
The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany CT
Photograph by Helen M. Post
©The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2017

Did you know that...?

Anni Albers. Art as Exploration

The Didaktika project helps visitors to explore certain key ideas of the exhibitions through educational spaces, special activities and, this online section which presents the outstanding educational approach and strong artistic convictions of Anni Albers (Berlin, 1899 – Orange, Connecticut, USA, 1994). 
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The Bauhaus school, Germany. The first encounter with textiles

Anni Albers étudie auprès de l’École d’Arts Appliqués de Hambourg (Kunstgewerbeschule) en 1920, mais déçue par cet enseignement traditionnel, elle se tourne vers une formation plus expérimentale. Séduite par un dépliant de la Bauhaus, un nouveau centre allemand de design et arts appliqués situé à Weimar, elle décide d’y demander une place en 1922.
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Black Mountain College, USA. Community Learning

After the rise to power of the Nazi party in 1933, the Bauhaus was forced to close, as the authorities considered the school a nest of communists and liberals and a source of what they termed ‘degenerate art’. Both Anni and her husband, Josef Albers, a teacher at the Bauhaus, were invited that same year by Philip Johnson, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, to teach at Black Mountain College (North Carolina, USA).
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Discovering textiles. Wall Hangings

Anni Albers’ creative process was one of constant exploration, and it was marked by a series of discoveries. At the Bauhaus she entered the world of textiles, while years later, in the United States, she was to discover the potential of prints.   Albers enrolled in 1922 in the textile workshop of the Bauhaus. At that time, as the artist herself explained, “weaving was not developed very much as a specific discipline but rather as a loosely used tool.” 
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Experimenting with new techniques and materials. Textures

In 1929 Albers was commissioned by architect Hannes Meyer, then the director of the Bauhaus, to design a wall covering for the new auditorium of the Allgemeinen Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbundes Schule in Bernau (Germany) using a synthetic material similar to cellophane. This fabric had two sides serving two different purposes, since one was soundabsorbing and the other light-reflecting. At this period, Albers’s work was gaining a reputation and her pieces were gradually starting to be shown in Berlin, her native city.
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Exploring prints

In 1963, while Iiving in New Haven, Connecticut (USA), Anni took her first steps in the field of printmaking. It did not take the artist long to discover that this technique offered her a faster or, as she put it herself, a freer means of expression:  
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