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PRINT November 2019

books

GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE

Marianne Brandt, Untitled (Airplane, Soldiers and Military Cemetery), ca. 1930, collage on cardboard, 25 5⁄8 × 19 3⁄4". © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics, by Elizabeth Otto. MIT Press, 2019. 296 pages.

THE TANTALIZING TITLE of Elizabeth Otto’s new book brings to mind the maverick scholar Mel Gordon’s Voluptuous Panic (2000) and Horizontal Collaboration (2015), pictorial studies of the sexual countercultures of Weimar Germany and occupied Paris, respectively. Published on the one hundredth anniversary of the school’s founding, Otto’s book isn’t as wiggy as those precursors, but it does humanize what she calls the “paradigmatic movement of rational modernism” and what art historian Éva Forgács described as an attempt to place the “rationality of straight lines and pure geometric forms” on equal footing with the “liberal lifestyle” of the “modern middle classes.”

Rationality? Among other accomplishments, Haunted Bauhaus gives credence to the

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