In 2016 the Federal Cultural Foundation established the application-based Bauhaus Today Fund to emphasise the contemporary relevance of the Bauhaus one hundred years after its founding. Institutions in all artistic areas are invited to apply for funding to present their own unique view of the Bauhaus – be it in the form of participative, theoretical, visionary, critical, artistic or investigative projects. The intention is not to merely celebrate the iconic Bauhaus designers or their characteristic Bauhaus style, but to explore the contemporary relevance of the historic Bauhaus, its ideas and methods.
It is quite possible that the Bauhaus remains a paragon of modern design because it advocated exceedingly liberal-minded processes of education and production. “The New Man – The New City – The New World”: such utopian thinking influenced all fields of activity at the Bauhaus – from the tubular steel chair to the shoe last factory – with the aim of democratising design in practically every area of life. The Bauhaus’ desire to innovate is legendary. It preserved its momentum by means of a communication design which strived to dynamically surmount the boundaries between artistic disciplines. Artists in the fields of painting, graphic design, architecture, typography, theatre, media art, urban planning, product design, together with engineers and researchers in science and technology, regularly collaborated in one location, discussing, debating, and on occasion, jointly failing, only to take up a fresh approach. The Bauhaus was a workshop of the future, operated with the greatest degree of intellectual and methodical openness. It was a place where designers, like-minded collaborators and guests from around the world would quite naturally come and go.
Of the many topics the Bauhaus explored, hardly any have lost their relevance. In fact, the discourse today continues to be dominated by questions regarding how and in what kind of world we want to live, learn, work, share and shape our coexistence in the future. The aim is to address these questions from the perspective of a society, grappling with the challenges of migration, digitalisation, globalisation and rapidly dwindling natural resources.
The executive committee of the Federal Cultural Foundation awards funding based on recommendations provided by a jury of experts. The jury is comprised of the following members:
Regina Bittner is the deputy director and head of the academy of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation with expertise in architectural and urban research. She has served as curator for numerous exhibitions on modern architecture, urban and cultural history for the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and other institutions. Her activities focus on international architectural and urban research, modernity and migration, cultural history of modernity and heritage studies.
Florian Ebner, now the director of the Photographic Collection at the Museum Folkwang, has served as director of the Museum of Photography in Braunschweig and acting director of the Photographic Collection at the Berlinische Galerie. From 2000 to 2007 he taught Photography at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. Florian Ebner has curated numerous exhibitions on modern and contemporary photography. Most recently he was the artistic director of the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015.
Wilfried Kuehn is a freelance architect and co-founder of the architectural office Kühn Malvezzi in Berlin. Among its most prominent projects, Kühn Malvezzi designed the exhibition architecture of the Documenta XI, the extension of the Museum für Gegenwart Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, the lobby of the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and the architecture of the exhibitions “The Visions of Arnold Schönberg”, “Dream Factory Communism” and “I Like America” at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, “Matisse” at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf and “Cult Image” at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, among others.
Bettina Wagner-Bergelt is the deputy ballet director of the Bayerisches Staatsballett and freelance curator. She was a member of the artistic executive board at the Theater am Turm in Frankfurt am Main, deputy director of the Music, Theatre and Dance Department at the Cultural Affairs Office in Munich, and the curator for both the DANCE and NEW DANCE festival of Munich. She worked as co-curator for numerous exhibition projects including “Watercolours” by John Cage and the Forsythe project “Proliferation and Perfect Disorder”, presented at the Pinakothek der Moderne in 2006.