Crate of Curios part 39

For yet another week we’ll continue the voyage into the phenomenon of Bauhaus. Having thus far dealt with the women of Bauhaus represented by Anni Albers and its connection to Greece, exemplified by Jan Despo (Ioannis Despotopoulos). Today we’ll have a look on the tragic side of Bauhaus, as not all of its teachers survived WW2. So let’s get to opening this week’s Crate without further ado.

  1. Friedl Dicker-Brandeis was born in Vienna in a working class family and lost her mother in an early age. Having studied graphic arts and joined the school of Johannes Itten in Vienna, Friedl and a number of other students followed Itten to Weimar after he moved there to teach in Bauhaus. Her interests tended to gravitate towards painting, color theory, theatre stage design, and art pedagogy that she started practising already whilst in Bauhaus. Her involvement with the Communist Party led her to move to Czechoslovakia later on, and despite having obtained a passport to Palestine, before the eve of WW2, she remained there, as her husband Pavel Brandeis was unable to get one. In 1942 both of them were sent to Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp. There Friedl Dicker-Brandeis spent the last 2 years of her life teaching art to hundreds of children using a modified Bauhaus system, designing theatre sets and painting as much as available supplies allowed. Two years later, she was sent to Auschwitz and gassed. After her death over 5,000 drawings of her students were found – most of which are now if the Jewish Museum in Prague.

2. Occasionally intimidated by the requests for ‘native speakers’ of a language in any capacity? Apparently you shouldn’t be. When it comes to communication, the non-native speakers actually have an advantage.

3. How well do you actually see color? Take this test to find out.

4. When it comes to relationships, there are in fact not two but three kinds of people – takers, givers and matchers. (by Ness Labs)

5. When you look at the supermarket shelves these days, it’s easy to get an impression that there are only about 5 kinds of apples in existence. However, there used to be hundreds.

6. And to finish off for this week, here’s Tom Gauld’s take on Princess Bookworm and Count Dracula.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!


If you want to receive the Crate to your mailbox, you can subscribe here at Substack.

Crate of Curios part 38

As promised in the previous Crate, I’ll continue to explore the personalities connected to the legendary school of Bauhaus as well as its legacy – and considering just how much in terms of artistic movements and developments has sprouted from there, I’m flush with material for weeks to come. This week I’ll direct the gaze closer to home and take a look at the direct link binding Greece and Bauhaus. So, let’s get to opening this week’s Crate without further ado.

  1. Bauhaus was an international establishment by design and the its founder Walter Gropius made a point of inviting teachers to join from all over Europe. Ioannis Despotopoulos (Jan Despo) back then still an architecture student, also moved to Weimar in order to join the establishment. There seems to be some doubt whether he was actually ever a registered student at Bauhaus, but it is certain that he was in contact with many of its prominent members during the two years he lived in Weimar. It is also without doubt that the spirit and ideas of Bauhaus influenced him deeply, as witnessed by his writing “The Organic City” («Η Οργανική Πόλις») and numerous other papers that to large extent have remained unpublished. It does not seem to be widely known that Jan Despo is the architect behind The Athens Conservatory that was in 1959 originally intended to be a part of the Cultural Center of Athens. Unfortunately, the Athens Conservatory was the only part of the complex that was ever built and even that stayed unfinished for years due to lack of funds. Despotopoulos’ original designs for the Conservatoire even included acoustic panels and other minute details of its interior design. His other works include Sotiria and Tripoli sanatoriums, Asvestichori hospital in Thessaloniki, the School Complex of Academia Platonos and others.

2. Need to come up with a revolutionary product? Now you can let this list of 10 types of innovation guide your brainstorming sessions.

3. Watermelon season is nearly here, so it’s just about time to learn how to pick the best and ripest one.

4. How does it feel to suddenly wake up a stranger in one’s homeland? Let this excerpt from Miha Mazzini’s ‘Erased’ guide your imagination.

5. How would ‘I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud’ sounds like as a limerick? Wonder no more.

6. And to finish off for this week, a little comic guide to your personal cat thermometer.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!


If you want to receive the Crate to your mailbox, you can subscribe here at Substack.

Crate of Curios part 37

As I was searching for articles for this week’s Crate in my bulging folder of bookmarks, I came across a few about women in Bauhaus and this reminded me that I had wanted to do something involving Bauhaus for a good while. It is by far my favourite “school” of art and their philosophy of incorporating art into everyday life is something that I very much agree with. So, in the coming weeks the Crate will among other things explore the people and heritage of that short-lived yet enormously influential institution. Let’s get to it right away.

  1. The quirk and genius of Bauhaus was in demolishing the idea of art education altogether and putting it together from scratch. So, where before had been fortifications and fences between crafts, ‘fine art’ and ‘commercial art’, suddenly there were none. Crafts got the possibility to take their proper place among other fields of art and there is no place that exemplifies it better than the weaving workshop of Bauhaus. In principle all workshops of Bauhaus were open for all applicants, but in reality women were discouraged from applying to ‘heavy craft areas like carpentry’ – and thus in 1922 Anni Albers – back then still Annelise Elsa Frieda Fleischmann – ended up in the weaving workshop instead of glass. However, after initially having considered weaving to be inherently for sissies, she slowly became fascinated by it and by systematically exploring the possibilities of the medium, opened it up for completely new uses and interpretations. As if her work wasn’t enough, her marriage to Josef Albers, one of the central figures of Bauhaus turned her one of the figureheads of the movement even long after the closure of the school.

2. There is something about islands and some of them have a particular IT-factor. Apparently the tiny island of Saint Martin has it in abundance, as despite its minuscule size of 87 square km, it is still divided between two nations – namely the French and the Dutch. This split that dates back to the Treaty of Concordia in 1648 has also provided the island with two very aptly named fortifications – namely Fort Amsterdam and Fort Louis.

3. Ever seen a remarkable colour on a picture and wondered to yourself what on Earth it might be called? There’s a way to find out – this nifty colour finder lets you search from the colour wheel or upload your own image.

4. In case you’re occasionally wondering about the roots of your perennial misery – we’ve got the answer. It’s the age – and apparently things will start looking up after you’ve passed your 47th birthday.

5. The image of postwar USA seems all rosy and sunny looking back from the distance of many decades. However, where there’s sun, there are shadows – and those shadows were reflected in film noir – the most class-conscious genre Hollywood has ever produced.

6. And to finish off for this week a cartoon from 1901 French satirical magazine Le Rire – The Simple and Quick Method of Recognizing the Nationality of Women by the Geometric Method.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!


If you want to receive the Crate to your mailbox, you can subscribe here at Substack.