Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a lecture by Professor Bibiana Obler on her book Intimate Collaborations, which examines the work and lives of Expressionist artists.

NYU's Deutsches Haus

On Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m., Deutsches Haus at NYU presents a lecture by Professor Bibiana Obler on her book Intimate Collaborations, which examines the work and lives of Expressionist artists Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter and Dadaists Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber, illuminating the roles of gender and the applied arts in abstraction’s early days. The lecture will be followed by a conversation between Bibiana Obler and Ara Merjian, which will be moderated by Alys George. (Deutsches Haus is located at 42 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y. – tel.: 212.998.8660).

Intimate Collaborations (2014) offers a compelling examination of the work and lives of Expressionist artists Kandinsky and Münter and Dadaists Arp and Taeuber. Both couples, like Expressionism and Dada more generally, strived to transcend the fragmented individualism promoted by capitalism. Through abstraction and by unsettling the boundaries between the decorative and fine arts, they negotiated tensions between the philosophical and commercial aspects of their production. Both pairs were feminist—the women ambitious and the men supportive of their work—but theirs was a feminism that embraced differences between the sexes. This innovative look at the personal relationships of two influential artist couples shows how everyday life—mundane concerns along with spiritual and intellectual endeavors—informed the development of abstraction.

Professor Obler is Associate Professor of Art History at George Washington University, Washington, DC. She is currently working on a second book project, The Anti-Craft Tradition, which analyzes the relation of art and craft in the late 20th century through a series of case studies: Al Loving’s fabric constructions, Rebecca Horn’s bodily extensions, Lynda Benglis’s ceramics, and El Anatsui’s work in wood. Obler’s writing has been featured in Art Bulletin, Artforum,, The Journal of Modern Craft, and Sculpture Journal, and her research has been supported by a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, a James Renwick Fellowship in American Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and a Faculty Fellowship at GW, among others.

Ara H. Merjian is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at New York University, where he is an affiliate of the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History. He is the author of Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City, published by Yale University Press, April 2014, and teaches the Italian and French avant-gardes, the modernist legacies of Nietzschean philosophy, European film theory, and the cultural politics of fascism and anti-fascism.

Alys George is Assistant Professor in the Department of German at New York University, where she has taught nineteenth- through twenty-first-century German-language literature, culture, and film at NYU since 2011.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. If you would like to attend this event, please send us an email to Space at Deutsches Haus is limited; please arrive ten minutes prior to the event.

Intimate Collaborations: A Conversation between Bibiana Obler and Ara Merjian is a DAAD-sponsored event.


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Robert Polner
Robert Polner
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