New York

Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Dances

Ethnic Folk Arts Center, sponsored by The Kitchen

This revival has been, justly, highly praised, both as a tour de force of research and as a demonstration of the continuing relevance of the master innovative artists of Modernism. At the same time it is a demonstration of the continued difficulties of accepting at face value the claims made for their works by Modern artists. In Schlemmer’s case the dances do not create “the transcendental on the basis of the rational” he was attempting but rather read as an articulation of what in the ’30s in Germany was called the “J-type personality.” In the postwar period the identification has become the “authoritarian personality,” but previously the traits of this personality were regarded positively: rigidity as strength, intolerance as the unembarrassed result of living according to principle, and inflexibility as the proper alternative to eccentricity. Under the Modernist guise of exploring the

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