Marcel Breuer and his Harem (Martha Erps, Katt Both and Ruth Hellos), 1927. Gelatin silver print Herzogenrath, Berlin On long-term loan to Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Bestand Museen © Estate Erich Consemüller

Exhibition: Bauhaus – Art as Life – at the Barbican

What a brilliant, fascinating, extensive and informative exhibition this is. It’s big (there hasn’t been a show like it in the UK for forty years, and you could spend hours taking it all in) – but never boring, and as well as telling the story of Bauhaus, the world’s most famous modern art and design school, founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919 and closing in Berlin in 1933 (and it is such a good story), it contains endless real treasures to look at: not just paintings, prints and photographs, building designs, ceramics, sculptures and furniture, but invitations, costumes, puppets, posters and many other things. Some are fascinating, others will make you laugh. Many are inspired. Several, of course – a Mies van der Rohe chair for example – you will know. A few are utterly surprising. All share and make real the Bauhaus quest to design not just buildings and furniture, a new typeface or a child’s toy, but a whole system and approach to modern living. The exuberance with which both the teachers and students did this is one of the joy’s of the exhibition, with wonderful photographs and documents illustrating their legendary parties (for the metal party in February 1929, revellers devised costumes made out of frying pans and entered the party by sliding down a metal chute), and their devotion to play as well as work. You learn a lot through this exhibition, with its well written captions, but it never feels worthy. Instead, you emerge from it feeling invigorated and inspired. We can’t recommend it enough. It is busy though, and tickets have to be booked for a timed slot (you can just show up and buy a ticket on the door, but you may have to wait to get in), but if you book now, before certain time slots sell out, you’ll still be able to choose exactly when you want go.

Bauhaus: Art as Life exhibition
Until 12 August 2012. 11am - 8pm, except Wednesdays: 11am -6pm. Open late every Thurs: 11am - 10pm
Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Standard: Online £10, and on the door £12. Concessions: Online £7 and on the door £8. Booking in advanced is advised.
020 7638 8891
— Daisy
24th May 2012