Shortly after being expelled from the Bauhaus, Hannes Meyer wrote to El Lissitzky: “Today, more than ever, I am convinced that currently there is nothing at all for us to do in Western Europe. The specters have divided themselves, and even Paul Klee says that he should go in a ‘western’ and I in an ‘eastern’ direction.” Like many other Bauhaus stories, Meyer’s expulsion has a mythic status. This lecture reconsiders Meyer’s tenure at the Bauhaus and his subsequent move to Moscow as a construction specialist on the First Five Year Plan. The Soviet years are interesting not only for the architect’s work but also because his discourse and politics underwent significant changes during this period. Crucial also is the fact that Meyer was able to bring some of his Bauhaus students with him to Moscow; they became known as The Red Bauhaus Brigade. The lecture will consider why they followed Meyer east, the nature of their Soviet work, whether there was a larger Bauhaus or other foreign architectural scene on the ground, and, finally, what happened to Meyer and the brigade after their departure from the Soviet Union.
Daniel Talesnik is a trained architect with a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture from Columbia University who specializes in modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism, with a particular focus on architectural pedagogy and relationships between architecture and political ideologies. He is a Curator at the Architekturmuseum of the Technische Universität München at the Pinakothek der Moderne, where he curated Access for All: São Paulo’s Architectural Infrastructures (2019).