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of art—painting, sculpture, handicrafts, and crafts—as inseparable components of a new architecture. the ultimate aim was the unified work of art, the great structure where there exists no distinction between monumental and decorative art.6

NotEs 1

Estelle Jussim, “the optical Fantasies of Barbara Kasten,” in Constructs, eds. Barbara Kasten and Estelle Jussim (Boston: New york graphic society Books, 1985), n.p.; lyle rexer, the Edge of vision: the rise of Abstraction in Photography (New york: Aperture, 2013), 150; Claire Bergeal, Bortolami gallery, New york, e-mail message to author, December 2, 2015.

Kasten is interested in pushing the boundaries of the various media she works with. Her interest in the cyanotype, for example, stems from the painterly potential of brushing the light-sensitive chemicals onto the paper.7 in her willingness to push the limits of any given medium, she embodies the Bauhaus spirit of creativity, experimentation, and rejection of dead conventions. like Moholy-Nagy, she experimented with photography in its simplest form, creating an image directly with light. Her photogram of the fiberglass mesh subverts the convention of documentary photography by creating a literal record that is completely abstract. the otherworldly blue of the cyanotype, along with the abstraction that Kasten achieved through the photogram process, reduces the documented object to pure shapes and color: blue irregular forms, curved and straight pale blue and white lines. Furthermore, Kasten combined sculpture, photography, and painting in the process of creating Photogenic Painting Untitled 75/31, embodying the Bauhaus aim of the unified work of art. she prepared the physical object (the fiberglass mesh) to be photographed, she painted on the light-sensitive chemicals on the paper, and finally she made the photogram. the work itself ultimately transforms the sculptural fiberglass mesh into a flat painting-like image of line, shape, and color.

2

geoffrey Batchen, “‘Photography’: An Art of the real,” in What is a Photograph?, ed. Carol squiers (New york: international Center of Photography, 2013), 46, 50, 51.

3

Jussim, “the optical Fantasies of Barbara Kasten.”

4

Frank Whitford, Bauhaus (New york: thames and Hudson, 1995), 29; Walter gropius, “Program of the staatliche Bauhaus in Weimar,” in the industrial Design reader, ed. Carma gorman (New york: Allworth Press, 2003), 98.

5

gillian Naylor, the Bauhaus reassessed: sources and Design theory (london: Herbert Press limited, 1993), 76–77.

6

gropius, “Program of the staatliche Bauhaus in Weimar,” 98.

7

Bergeal, e-mail message to author.

Fig. 37: American, City Hall, Worcester, about 1900, cyanotype on silk, Worcester Art Museum, gift of Pierrina Maria rohde, 1991.77 75

Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period  

Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period Edited by Nancy Kathryn Burns, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Kristina Wilson...

Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period  

Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period Edited by Nancy Kathryn Burns, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Kristina Wilson...

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