The Whole World a Bauhaus

February 23 - April 20, 2019

This internationally traveling exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, a legendary German school that revolutionized the parameters of art, the crafts, and technology. While it existed for only 14 short years (1919-1933), its influence shaped modern thinking and artistic approaches to industrialization. Bauhaus instructors included some of the most famous Modern artists and architects including Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef and Anni Albers, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, Lily Reich, and more. Many of the influential figures and others involved at the Bauhaus left Germany and spread the school's lessons internationally. The exhibition The Whole World a Bauhaus, titled after a quote by student and teacher Fritz Kuhr, includes art and design pieces by select instructors and students as well as photographs and documents that convey the spirit of the Bauhaus. One hundred years after its founding, the modern ideals of the school spread the globe and are still integrated in today's interdisciplinary approaches to the arts. 

The Whole World a Bauhaus is divided into eight different chapters, each focusing on an aspect of work and life at the Bauhaus during its operation: Art, Crafts, and Technology; Floating; Community; Encounters; The Total Work of Art; New Man; Radical Pedagogy; and Experiment. These sections highlight the work students did in their revolutionary workshops with industrial materials and processes, the school’s major impact on the international avant-garde, and how the students and instructors sought to rethink their world.

The Elmhurst Art Museum is the only U.S. venue of the touring exhibition The Whole World a Bauhaus curated by Boris Friedewald.

Press Highlights:
Chicago Tribune - The Bauhaus at 100: Deep dive into German design school that sought to remake world, from cradle to great buildings
WBEZ - "International Exhibit of Bauhaus School of Design Comes to Elmhurst" 
Chicago Sun-Times - "Bauhaus centennial exhibit shines art movement's light on world, Chicago" 
Newcity -  "One Hundred Years of Bauhaus: How a Short-lived German Art School Influenced International Design and Shaped Chicago"
The Arts Section - "Bauhaus 100 + Living in a Museum"
Third Coast Review - "The Whole World a Bauhaus Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Iconic German and Chicago Design School"
Previews and Top Ten lists:
Newcity - Design Top 5 (#1 The Whole World a Bauhaus)
Chicago Tribune - “What's on for Chicago's museums in early 2019: Legos, fashion and wildlife photos” 
Chicago Tribune  - "Coming in Chicago Architecture in 2019" 
Daily Herald - 2019 Entertainment Preview
Crain’s Chicago Business - What's hot at local museums this winter

This exhibition is part of the Year of German-American Friendship initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).


Related Programs

Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 1:30pm

Discussion and Oral Histories of the McCormick House

Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House has been part of Elmhurst’s history since it was built in 1952. Do you have specific memories of the McCormick House, its residents, or its move from Prospect Ave? Join us as we record memories of this historically significant building, including conversations with former McCormick House residents. Please email if you would like to participate.

Co-organized with the Elmhurst History Museum

Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 1:00pm

Family Day Workshop

We invite you and  your family to participate in hands-on art activities inspired by the Bauhaus and our current exhibition.

Free with museum admission or current membership

Sunday, April 7, 2019 - 1:30pm

Lecture: “Bauhaus Translated : Transcultural Encounters with the Avant-garde school”

Dr. Regina Bittner will give a talk on the global impact of the Bauhaus. She is the Head of the Academy of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and responsible for the conception and teaching of the postgraduate programs for design, Bauhaus and architectural research. 

Bittner has curated numerous exhibitions on the Bauhaus and the cultural history of modernism. Her work focuses on: international architecture and urban research, modernity and migration, cultural history of modernity and heritage studies. The results of her research and teaching are published in numerous publications. She studied cultural sciences and art history at the University of Leipzig and holds a doctorate from the Institute of European Ethnology of the Humboldt University Berlin.

This program is part of the Year of German-American Friendship initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Co-organized with Northwestern University and Elmhurst College

Free with museum admission or current membership

Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 10:00am

Teen Design Competition

Drop off: 10 AM - 12 PM

Reception: 3:30 PM

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, we invite area teens to submit their own architecture and design proposals that respond to the theme of "Home". Whether the structure itself or the objects inside, the concept of home is one that holds a unique and powerful significance. This juried competition will be on view at the museum, and will celebrate creative design of today’s young creatives. Designed objects in any 3D medium are welcome, the use of today’s industrial materials and technologies is encouraged.  Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three design projects. 

To register for the competition, please sign up here

For more information please email

Sponsored by the OPUS Foundation

Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 6:00pm

Soiree 2019: Bauhaus 100

Join us for Soirée 2019: Bauhaus 100, celebrating the anniversary of the legendary German school and the exhibition The Whole World a Bauhaus. The fundraiser, presented by EAM’s Sustaining Fellows, will include cocktails, a multi-course dinner, entertainment, and live and silent auctions filled with artworks by established and emerging artists as well as a fabulous selection of vacations and experiences.

The evening will continue the museum's anniversary celebrations of the legendary German school with a special unveiling of Parallel Perspectives, a light and color installation in the McCormick House by the artist duo Luftwerk. The evening will also include work by the museum's Teen Art Council based on Oskar Schlemmer's geometric ballet costumes.

Proceeds will be used to help the Elmhurst Art Museum enrich people’s lives by deepening their knowledge of art, architecture and design, increasing their understanding of the relevance of visual art in our society and sparking the development of individual creativity.

Tickets and Tables on Sale Now

Patron Table $5,000
Patron Table buyers will receive recognition on Soiree print materials, projector screens, a 1/2 page ad in the program, and the museum's donor wall. They will also be invited to a preview of the new McCormick House installation by Luftwerk. Each table includes 10 seats to entertain your guests or business associates.

Collector Table buyers will invited to a preview of the new McCormick House installation by Luftwerk, and recognized in the Soiree program and other print materials. Each table included 10 seats to entertain your guests or business associates. 

Register now to buy a $100 Golden Ticket raffle for a chance to win $3,000. Tickets not available online. Call (630) 834-0202 to inquire.