The Syllabus

Utopia Matters: From Brotherhoods to Bauhaus

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Utopia Matters: From Brotherhoods to Bauhaus

Contributions by Vivien Greene, Russell Jacoby, and Victor Margolin
Published in 2010
128 pages with 98 color illustrations
Hardcover, 11 x 10 inches
English, German, and Italian editions

Utopian movements and artist groups in Europe and America have idealistically attempted to shape the world and inspire positive change throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning with the Primitifs in Paris, this exhibition and catalogue explore the work of the German Nazarenes, the English Pre-Raphaelites, English impresario William Morris and the international Arts and Crafts movement, the American Cornish art colony, French Neo-Impressionism, Dutch De Stijl, the German Bauhaus, and Russian Constructivism.

Utopia Matters explores the aspirations of artists working in mediums that range from painting, sculpture, and architecture to the decorative arts, book illustration, and journal production. The catalogue and exhibition facilitate comparisons among these groups, revealing how many of them sought ways to create ideal communities and transform their environments.

Vivien Greene’s text provides an overview of the utopian movements of the 19th century and is followed by Victor Margolin’s survey of those of the early 20th century. Russell Jacoby’s text meditates on the literary and philosophical construct of utopia and its theoretical underpinnings and implications. Illustrated with more than eighty full-color plates, this catalogue also contains definitions of the utopian movements and short bibliographies for further reading on each.

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